Tribute to Sardar
by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
In defense forces, postings and allotment of quarters hardly go hand in hand, with each one following their own roster. Invariably the former always precedes the latter resulting in one making one’s own arrangement for accommodation at a new place of posting for a couple of months at least. It was this that made us accept the offer of a Wg. Cdr.J.who had been posted abroad, to occupy his palatial flat in Sujan Singh park, New Delhi, during his absence.
The flat, apart from being in a very posh area, was very close to the prestigious Khan market. Our balcony on the III floor flat had a good view of the lawn belonging to the ground floor residents. I used to see a Sardar basking in the sun in winter on a lounging chair with a book in his hand or drying his long hair. Soon I came to know that he was the great writer Khushwant Singh, the grandson of Sujan Singh himself.
Though we never met him on a social basis, I had stacked the point in my mind. Recently when I wrote an article on how I could never tell one Sardar from other and sent it to a newspaper in Bangalore, the article was rejected. Disappointed I thought I would send the article to the ultimate Sardar and ask for his opinion. I knew that Khushwant Singh did not have an email Id. But I knew his postal address having stayed in the same block. So I sent the article to him introducing myself, never expecting him to reply. Imagine my surprise when the great man replied to me in a post card in his own hand writing. He had not only read my article but was kind enough to reply me personally in his own hand too!
The letter went like this:Dear Vimala,
Thanks. We were 3 sikhs in college in London at the same time_ one a consulate(writing not very clear), the second a v.bright student who made it to the I.C.S. and I- good for nothing. Our professors nor students could tell one from another (writing not very clear) although we had nothing in common besides our beards and turbans. Our lady girl friends had no problem.
My mother couldn’t tell one clean shaven man from another.
Later when I sent him my book of compiled humorous blogs, he wrote back,Dear Vimala,
Thanks for your collection of articles. I look forward to reading them.
Best of luck,
All this from a great writer to a nobody like me! A great man indeed! May his soul rest in peace. ****