"His father and elder sister Annapurna Devi started calling him Poltu," recalls journalist and long-time friend Jayanta Ghosal, who has known President Mukherjee since 1985. As India elects a new president today to replace Mr Mukherjee, the Poltu story is one that will strike a chord with families across the country as Indians have a special fondness for them.
Bengalis, in particular, love their pet names, or daak naam. Rabindranath Tagore, for instance, was fondly called Robi, Satyajit Ray was widely known as Manik or Manik da, while Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee is called Bumba. The late West Bengal chief minister, Siddharth Shankar Ray -- said to be one of the architects of the Emergency -- was called Manu.
Then, there's former cricketer Rahul Dravid who was affectionately named "Jammy" by friends and colleagues, because his father worked in the Kissan Jam factory.
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