Here’s dedicating this post to Nandu on his 70th , with warm Greetings & all good wishes intertwined with unmitigated trivia that has the habit of coming to the fore from one’s innermost nooks & crannies down memory lane on special occasions such as this (phew!)
Nandu wasn’t the bright one at School in Maths , & was thereby the cause of bald bewilderment in “Khurchandu” , the Private Tutor , who often exclaimed in horror “Dikkat Kahaan Paida Hoti Hai” & provoked an immediate though sotto voce response from Nandu which need not be repeated here !! He always scored high marks though in History through his “Meri Raani, Meri Raani , Meri Raani “ chant multiple times , each morning & night , to memorise the reign & times of Mary , Queen of Scots. He was duly rewarded for this effort with a degree in History from Hansraj , DU , & moved on to do his CA from the land of vales , dales , bonny lasses & Nano Ales , where his “Meri Raani” once ruled.
Nandu was always the “Angrez” , which was kind of unusual in a house full of Hindi High School types . Whilst other elder siblings sang Vividh Bharati & Binaca Geet Mala kind of bathroom numbers (in the bathroom , of course !!) , Nandu’s favourite croon was “Oh my Darling Clementine” . As a matter of interest & just by way of a digression I so adore , my only war cry at that age from the bathroom was of two magical words , which always brought an elder sibling nearest to the loo to address the issue as per a well -orchestrated protocol at Number 43 , Digboi .
Nandu’s pleasant thoughts as a school lad were always expressed in Hindi or Sindhi , whereas his anger found articulation in English , “ None of your business” being his favorite , followed by a hasty & tactically prudent retreat to safety behind bolted doors of the nearest room , with his immediate junior in the clan hierarchy , bread knife in hand , in hot pursuit ( handling sharp devices from an early age must no doubt have inspired him to become a surgeon in later years , in unflinching service to Her Majesty’s Britain : but that , as I am so very fond of saying , is a story for another day ) .
Always good at networking , Nandu has a penchant for striking up a conversation with complete strangers even on a turbulent flight , for example & of landing up at their home & hearth even before the unsuspecting lot have had time to unpack their laundry after an extended business tour. His most notable Networking pal was a once powerful Politician of a now- obsolete dispensation . For reasons best known to phoneticians , late Dada , otherwise impeccably accurate in pronouncing names , often mispronounced the name of the aforesaid contact , to sound terribly like the first part of the proverb meaning pay-back-in-one’s-own-coin ( what else , you single trackers !! )
Nandu’s hyper sensitivity to hygiene is what folk- lore are made of ! It once resulted in a hilarious situation where Nandu insisted on rinsing Coffee cups in a hotel room with complimentary Mineral Water , only to realize thereafter that there was no water left to put into the kettle for a refreshing cuppa .
Always the life & soul of a party , with his Lit Match on the tongue , Whisky glass balancing dance Spot the Queen Card Trick , & Santa Banta inanities, he can charm the most difficult –to-please customers . A gracious host , & a delightful guest , that’s our very own Nadu in short , who preferred to party when the Nation sat glued in front of TV sets to watch Kapil’s Devils lift the World Cup at Lords in 1983 .
An active Round Tabler till 40 , & an enthusiastic Square Pegger & a Rotarian thereafter , he has always found time for a heady cocktail of Fellowship & Service .
Behind every good man , there is often ( not Always !! ) a good woman . But for Veena’s judiciously overwhelming influence , he would probably still be the shoot & scoot guy beating hasty retreats to safety behind bolted doors , with a Bread- Knife wielding Brit in hot pursuit.
Happy 70th Nandu , & all good wishes for a long healthy & happy life of togetherness for Veena & you . Cheers & ATB