At Delhi school, Melania Trump gets teeka and crash course in joy

At Delhi school, Melania Trump gets teeka and crash course in joy

Sitting in front of of a crowded bulletin board, Melania Trump could help but beam as the children returned their teacher’s greeting with a singsong, “Good afternoooon Ma’aaam!”

If the students were at all nervous or self-conscious — it’s not everyday that the First Lady of the United States drops in to say hi — they didn’t show it.

Far from it, in fact: one girl’s shoulders broke into a little jig as she cheerfully announced her contribution to the Sarvodaya Co-Ed Senior Secondary School’s annual day event: “Daanciiing!”

Melania Trump was visiting to learn about the Delhi government’s happiness curriculum.

Launched in 2018, it is based on activities like mindfulness, storytelling and theatre.

“It is very inspiring to me that the students here begin each day by participating in mindfulness,” Melania Trump told students after her visit. She sported a teeka that had been applied when she arrived at the school.

“From mindful breathing, telling a story to a friend, listening to another classmate, or simply connecting with nature, I cannot think of a better way for all of us to start our day.”

In the days leading up the Melania Trump’s visit, a controversy brewed over the reported exclusion from the programme of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Sisodia said in a statement that he and Kejriwal would have “loved” to personally welcome Melania Trump but respected “concerns” expressed by the US embassy.

The embassy later said it did not object to their presence but appreciated “their recognition that this isn’t a political event and that it’s best to ensure focus is on education, school, and students”.

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