NEW DELHI – Big Bird and Elmo won't be there, but U.S. first lady Laura Bush was meeting the 5-year-old heroine of the Indian version of "Sesame Street" and visiting a center run by Mother Teresa's charity.
After attending a ceremonial reception with cavalry soldiers, a gun salute and a military honor guard for President Bush at New Delhi's presidential palace, Mrs. Bush was to break away from the presidential entourage. It is her first visit to India.
Her first stop is Film City, an enclave of television studios in New Delhi's eastern suburb of Noida, where Mrs. Bush will take part in a shoot of "Galli Galli Sim Sim," an Indian take on the hugely popular puppet show. The episode is expected to reach an estimated 40 million households when it airs in the coming months.
The show is centered on Chamki, a girl who lives by herself on a narrow street with her friends, and is partly funded by the U.S. government. It is aimed at India's 157 million children under age 6.
While Big Bird and Elmo, the hugely popular international stars of Sesame Street, aren't on the show, there is a giant, colorful lion name Bhoombah, who believes he is a descendant of one of India's many former kings and loves "Bhangra," an Indian music and dance form.
The first lady also plans to visit humanitarian projects in New Delhi and is to wind up her outing with a trip to a center run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa, who started her international order in the eastern city of Calcutta in 1950, became a global icon of humanitarian causes before her death in 1997.
President Bush and his wife met with Mother Teresa's successor, Sister Nirmala, in New York in September 2004.
Mrs. Bush plans to accompany the president on Friday to the southern city of Hyderabad. The two depart Saturday for Pakistan.