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It was a shared interest in politics that brought Ananth Kumar and Tejaswini together. He was an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad secretary when they met as college students in North Karnataka and she was an ABVP activist.

They remained casual acquaintances for five years, although his family knew her well. When Kumar, 44, who is older by seven years, decided to get married he decided that Tejaswini was the woman for him.

It is a decision that neither of them regrets. The slim, attractive, soft-spoken Tejaswini is the bulwark of the family, and is possibly her husband's most committed and motivated supporter. After she quit her job, Tejaswini threw herself into social service to support Ananth's career.

She now works almost full time for a social service trust started in Ananth Kumar's mother Girija Shastry's name. The trust channelises the spending of some of the money from Ananth's MP fund. This trust has a free mid-day meal programme called Annapoorna, which supplies meals to over 13,500 children in 69 schools.

The food is cooked in a huge kitchen near Tejaswini's house. About 1,350 kilogrammes of rice and 300 kilogrammes each of dal and vegetables are processed each day. The menu varies every day, and includes dishes like Pongal, Bisibele Bath and sambar rice. The Karnataka government -- which is run by Congressman S M Krishna, the man Ananth hopes to replace -- supplies the rice and some of the dal.

Cooking starts at 3.30 am, seven days a week. Tejaswini visits the kitchen every day and usually eats the food made there for lunch.

Also see: Itne Photo Kyon...?

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