Monday, December 21, 2009
Singh is King!
This photograph of Murali and I was taken on 27th November 2009 during Rashna’s wedding. Attired in full Punjabi 'regalia', I was just flattering him that he looked very much like a typical Punjabi when another fellow Punjabi couple walked in and greeted him, enquiring in Punjabi on the whereabouts of the wedding ceremony. Murali had to apologize that he was not one of them but that he was from the groom’s side. Taken aback and probably feeling slightly embarrassed, they then spoke in English and we guided them in to the adjoining hall where the ceremony was taking place.
Murali and I go back a long way. I have known him since I was about 18. Being Imbaraj’s cousin, it was easier to break the ice. When I was working in KL in the
70’s, he was still studying at FIT and used to call himself Don Raj, the “Don” adopted perhaps from the Globe Silk Store’s house brand as he was fond of wearing their clothes. It was one of the more stylish brands those days that didn’t leave a hole in your pocket. Word has it that on one occasion his father had gone to his college looking for him but when he asked around, no one seemed to know him until some college-mates advised his father to ask for “Don Raj” to make any headway! Boy…….! Was he furious!
Sometimes on weekends he’d drop by at Happy Mansions in Section 17 where I stayed with Sargu. And when he does, we used to chat for hours on end. I can still remember one particular Saturday afternoon when I had just returned from work and I noticed that he appeared troubled. He explained that he had been tasked with chartering a bus for a trip to PD that weekend with his school friends but in spite of trying everywhere, he had been unsuccessful. He appeared totally lost not knowing what to do next. I immediately swung into action and together, we approached a school bus driver from the nearby flats who was willing to oblige, albeit not before some tedious and tactical negotiations. What a relieve it was for him. So the next morning I joined in the trip together with the rest of his college-mates. And we had some good fun.
Later in life, in 1988 when I took up appointment in Alor Setar, he was kind enough to offer me board and lodging at no cost at all, allowing me the exclusive use of an air-conditioned room with attached bathroom. Truly speaking, it was luxury living then, so to speak. An incident I cannot forget was when on one occasion, he had forgotten to take his house keys when he went out and I had slept off by 10 that night. When he returned close to midnight, he approached the window to my room and called out my name. Unable to recognize his voice in my half dazed state, I asked him who it was and he answered “Thief! Thief! I opened the door for him and we had a good laugh.
There was another instance when I was forced to drive back all the way from Gurun to Alor Setar with a flat tyre. I had had a puncture on my right rear tyre when I passed the toll in Gurun. No sooner had I replaced with my spare tyre to continue my journey when to my utter disbelief, the spare went flat too. My choice was either to wait for a tow-truck or to continue driving with a flat tyre. I decided on the latter. By the time I reached my Taman in Alor Setar where I stayed, the rubber from the tyre had all been shredded and had fallen off and I was driving on just the rim; the grinding noise was so loud that the neighbours' children actually came out of their houses curious to find the source. But before I woke up the next morning, Murali had already replaced the tyre. That's how efficient he is when it comes to obliging friends.
Posted by aravind at 7:48 PM