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With calligraphy and grace, First Lady woos students

Peng, accompanying her husband Chinese President Xi Jinping on his three-day visit to India, interacted with students who are learning Mandarin.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: September 19, 2014 8:36:21 am
China's first lady Peng Liyuan during a visit to the Tagore International School in New Delhi on Thursday. (Source: PTI) China’s first lady Peng Liyuan during a visit to the Tagore International School in New Delhi on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

Ayushi, Swasti and Niyati expected a fashionably dressed and glamorous guest while nervously waiting in their dance costumes to receive Peng Liyuan, China’s First Lady. But when she entered, Peng surprised everyone.

If Michelle Obama danced her way into the hearts of children she met in India during her 2010 visit, Peng, dressed in a simple white top and green skirt, won the admiration of students of Tagore International School in Vasant Vihar with her grace, smile and simplicity. “She was at ease with everyone. We thought we would encounter a lady in a dazzling dress. After all, we knew that she used to be a pop star,” Ayushi said.

While the girls were impressed by her charm, Charanit and Kunak were excited about the fact that the First Lady kissed them on their cheeks. Radhika, another Class VI student, blushed as she said: “She told me I am a beautiful girl.”

At the school, Peng, accompanying her husband Chinese President Xi Jinping on his three-day visit to India, interacted with students who are learning Mandarin.

A singer who holds a Master’s degree in traditional ethnic music, Peng also watched the cultural performance by students and watched a live-conference session between students here and their counterparts in Jinyuan Senior High School, Shanghai.

The presentation was part of the distance learning programme of the school. Twice every week, teachers here give Kathak and yoga lessons to children there. The Chinese teachers reciprocate with lessons in calligraphy and Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art.

The First Lady, who started learning calligraphy at the age of five from her father, showed her skills to the children. She wrote: “It is important for all of us to keep learning and work hard to achieve the goal we have set in life.”

The dancers in the school presented Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem, Where the mind is without fear, in Kathak, Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam. “We welcomed her in Mandarin, sang a song and recited a poem. She was quite impressed by our pronunciation,” Prajwal Prakash, a student, said.

“She shook hands with all of us, hugged some and kissed two boys on the cheeks,” Aryam, a student, said.

The session, which lasted for over an hour, left teachers and principal Madhulika Sen proud and happy. “We are going to continue our work and efforts to strengthen ties between the two countries with more vigour,” Sen said.

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