VISAKHAPATNAM: While the Navy men of international waters are heading towards Vizag in their mighty warships, their better halves are flying down to take part in the International Fleet Review slated to be held from February 4. Crossing geographical and cultural borders, when these dignified women reach the port city, they will be cradled with traditional comfort by the Eastern Naval Command’s Naval Wives Welfare Association.
Talking to Express, ENC’s first lady and NWWA president Payal Soni said, “Elaborate arrangements are being made to welcome the good ladies of International Navies. We have received confirmed participation of women delegates from countries like the US, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Haiti. So it’s a privilege for the NWWA to look after the guests and also a duty to acquaint the latter with Indian culture and traditions.“
When the Naval officers are rushed off their feet working for the IFR, their wives are also working towards making the event a grand success. Be it the Coffee Morning, organised for the foreign women delegates or the stalls being put up at the Maritime Expo, the NWWA has extended its maximum support to keep the preparations intact. “Coffee Morning is a welcome get-together, organised under the theme of ‘Incredible India’ at Vishranti (guest house) atop Dolphin Hills on February 5. The main motto behind this session is to promote the lost charm of Indian Handicrafts among the foreign delegates. We have managed to rope in AP’s finest handicrafts collectables -Etikoppaka for this event. These Etikoppaka crafts will be gifted to the delegates in a small game called ‘Ring Toss’,” Payal Soni explained.
Moreover, the Coffee Morning will have various culturals performed by the naval wives which include a bridal fashion show, where the NWWA members would showcase completely hand-woven bridal attires of different Indian states. Followed by a traditional fusion dance, which is a combination of various classical dance forms like Kathakali, Bharathnatyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi. Finally the culturals will be wound up with the Navy wives performing on evergreen romantic Bollywood songs.
Besides, the event will also have Parrot Fortune Teller and a Live Mehandi stall.“Mehandi will be designed by the NWWA members, but the fortune teller is specially being brought in from Delhi,” Payal Soni added. Showcasing the NWWA’s Women Empowerment Initiatives stalls will be set up at Vishranti as well as the Maritime Exhibition at the AU Engineering College ground, where products hand-made by sailors’ wives of Indian Navy will be put up for sale. “As far as the main IFR events are concerned, we will be accompanying the women delegates in an Indian Naval ship during the Presendential Fleet Review on February 6,” Payal told the Express.
Meanwhile, making the stay more memorable for the delegates a Heritage Walk has been planned, where the interested guests will be taken around the nearby Heritage Sites. “We have planned mainly taking the delegates to local and famous Buddhist Sites like Bhodhgaya, as many South-east Asian delegates are expected,” she added. On the final day, the NWWA will be presenting every visiting woman delegate with a unique hand-woven Banarasi Silk fabric as a farewell gift. “Many City-based organisations have approached us with the plan of distributing a Vizag-centric souvenir. We will consider all the options before confirming one,” Payal revealed.