Be it doing artwork or walking outdoors or on a treadmill, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee has several habits that keep her stay fit and what’s more, she is going strong as she turned 63 on Friday (Jan 5).
Here are 10 little-known facts about Mamata Banerjee and her lifestyle:
1. The West Bengal chief minister wears only ‘Dhaniakhali’ sarees. These are special cotton sarees weaved at Dhaniakhali block in Hooghly district. Though available in several colours, Mamata Banerjee sticks to white ones with thin, mono-coloured, threadwork borders.
2. You will never find the TMC chief in any fancy footwear other than flip-flops (rubber slippers). Be in Parliament or on flight, Mamata Banerjee will always be seen in her trademark flip-flops, which are white with mainly blue or white straps.
3. Didi (as Mamata Banerjee is fondly called) is a great walker.
Her colleagues often complain that they are unable to keep pace with her fast and long walks during rallies. She even walks 5-6 km on the treadmill every day.
She is often seen taking long walks on the Assembly lawns. Her party colleagues say she can walk 10 km at a stretch.
4. The Trinamool Congress supremo is an avid painter who can complete her artwork in a couple of hours.
Mostly woman-centric, Mamata Banerjee often auctions her paintings and the money thus earned goes to her part fund for welfare activities.
5. The West Bengal CM is a spontaneous singer and a fan of Rabindra Sangeet (songs of world bard Rabindranath Tagore).
During her speeches at rallies or other functions, she is often found to go with the flow and hum a few lines. She has even made it mandatory to play Rabindra Sangeet at traffic signals across Kolkata.
6. Mamata Banerjee is not too fond of travelling in a convoy. She moves around in a simple car without too much security.
Once when Didi went to meet the family of a student who was raped and murdered, at a West Bengal village, she climbed a police bike and became a pillion rider to reach her house as the roads were too narrow for cars.
7. The TMC chief doesn’t like spicy or oily food, though “aloor chop” (deep fried potato fritters) are an exception. Instead, she snacks on puffed rice, tea and chocolates. She drinks a lot of water.
8. She loves nature. Whenever she gets time, she visits the Himalayan foothills and the forests of West Midnapore district.
9. Mamata Banerjee believes in and practices simple living. She still lives in her terracotta-tiled roof ancestral house at Harish Chatterjee Street in South Kolkata.
10. Before dedicating herself completely to politics, Mamata Banerjee had tried her hand at various jobs, including that of a stenographer, a primary school teacher, a private tutor and even as a salesgirl.
Pic credit: TMC website
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.