Sonia’s shyness—she was so shy that she didn’t turn up for her first meeting with Indira—won over her future mother-in-law, who knew only too well what it felt like to be paralysingly shy. But others saw her differently. "She was always a little manipulative," recalled a nun in the college she attended in Giaveno, Italy, adding shrewdly, "she should do well in politics". At least one other person shared the nun’s perception: husband Rajiv, who inevitably took his political cares into the bedroom and discovered in Sonia not only a receptive ear but a shrewd advisor, able to judge those around him with surprising sharpness. Word soon got around and she was dubbed "Noor Jehan of Turin".
Sonia may have "fought like a tigress" to try and stop Rajiv from accepting the prime minister’s job after Indira’s assassination but she did not find political life altogether disagreeable. Soon after Rajiv was inducted into the Congress, she voluntarily switched, to her mother-in-law’s delight, from trousers and skirts to sarees and salwar kameezes. She began visiting Rajiv’s constituency, Amethi, parroting "Patiji ko vote dijiye" and collapsing into giggles. Besides, it was she who encouraged Rajiv to stay on in politics after his humiliating defeat in 1989.