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‘I am a 70 year old man, how can I be a security threat?’

While the President enjoyed his quiet time in Kolkata, some were happy to see the president arrive, others complained about the traffic restrictions and the elaborate security arrangements.

 'I am a 70-year-old man, how can I be a security threat,' asked a septuagenarian, arguing with a policeman after barricades were put up outside Mukherjee's house prohibiting even pedestrian movement.

President Pranab Mukherjee, on a four-day visit to West Bengal, spent some quiet hours Sunday morning at his residence at upscale Dhakuria in south Kolkata.

As his convoy came to a halt in Dhakuria at 10 am, a smiling Mukherjee came out of his car and waved to camerapersons who had been waiting for long to capture the moment when Mukherjee - the first president from the state - entered his residence of over two decades. Neighbours and bystanders had gathered around Lake Road where Mukherjee's flat 'Vatayan' [window] stands in the congested locality. The president was received by his son Abhijit, a Congress legislator in the state assembly. Mukherjee's wife Subhra was also present for the family lunch.

Mukherjee, who shuns non-vegetarian food three months before the start of Durga Puja till its end, had a traditional Bengali vegetarian platter with his favourite 'aloo and begun bhaja' [fried potato and eggplant slices].

While he was boarding his car, 80-year-old Mahontesh Chowdhury, who lives nearby, shouted in his feeble voice 'Poltu' [Mukherjee's nickname] but the president flanked by his guards, could neither hear nor see the man.

'As a Bengali, I feel very proud that a fellow Bengali is today the president of the country. I know him since my childhood. He had to face many challenges before his eventual success,' said Chowdhury, who like Mukherjee, hails from Birbhum district.   
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