It was like an extended Christmas and an advanced New Year celebration for the 3,500-village folk of Varad, in the coastal Konkan region, bound on one side by the Arabian Sea and on the other by the Western Ghats.
For, visiting them on Sunday was none other than the Maharashtrian-origin Leo A. Varadkar, the Prime Minister of Ireland, who visited his father's village and spent a night in the family's ancestral home. In June 2017, Mr. Varadkar, 40, became the 14th Prime Minister or 'Taoiseach' of Ireland.
For the first time, he fulfilled his 80-year old father, Mr.Ashok Varadkar's desire to visit Varad village, around 525 km south of Mumbai. 'He arrived in Goa on December 28, for a purely private visit, went to Malvan on Sunday (December 29) and spent the night with the whole family, walked around the small village. He will fly back home to Ireland tonight from Goa,' his excited close relative, Dipti Bhosale-Varadkar, said.
As per his wishes, there were no VVIP trappings or security or protocol or officialdom for the visiting leader and he roamed around casually, in jeans and shirts, smiling and greeting the village-folk.