Young Sera meets President Pranab Mukherjee at Raj Bhavan

This will be one meeting little Sera Mariyam Binny will never forget. For the last two months, she had been counting the days with hope that her direct mail to President Pranab Mukherjee, requesting a meeting with him during his visit to the State would be approved. On Saturday came the call that she had been waiting for. An official from the State Parliamentary Department told her that she could meet the President at the Raj Bhavan at 7.30 p.m. on Monday and have dinner as well with him.

However, with her special security pass not arriving even by noon on Monday, her hopes began fading, and she could not make it to the dinner.

Even as she struggled to hold back her tears, a call to Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor set her heart fluttering again. And by Tuesday morning, Mr. Tharoor arranged for her visit, following which the Class V student of Holy Angels’ School reached Raj Bhavan at 12 noon along with her parents Binny P. Joseph and Rani J. Binny.

Sera recalled that it was with a rapidly beating heart that she walked with her parents, accompanied by Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar and Cultural Affairs Minister K.C. Joseph, towards where the President was seated.

Pet cause

“We were allowed only two minutes, but that got stretched over 10 minutes as the President talked enthusiastically to me,” she said. And those 10 minutes, during which she made a request to Mr. Mukherjee to take steps to protect the environment, also saw him releasing her travelogue, ‘Serayude Yatrakal,’ which incidentally makes the 10-year-old one of the youngest travelogue authors.

“We had mailed him a manuscript earlier and he had consented to receive a copy. I gave him a copy and got another one autographed as well,” Sera said, adding that she also gifted the President her acrylic painting titled ‘Music of the Sea.’

“He said he would keep the painting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum,” she said.

Mr. Joseph and Rani, residents of the Housing Board Apartment complex at Pattoor in the city, too were excited over their daughter’s achievement, saying that Mr. Tharoor saved the day for them, failing which the technical glitches that made her miss the dinner opportunity would have remained a painful memory.