Stories From The Past.

Last week, I had shared with my readers a story from my Delhi days which came back to revive a friendship after almost three decades. Today, I shall continue with another one from the mid-eighties, which too came back in a most unexpected way.

Some few weeks ago, I came to know about the passing away of Kader from Ahmedabad, for who I had a great deal of respect and affection. He was a customer of the company with which I was working in the eighties and one of the most honest and trustworthy men in a highly competitive field. Kader was highly respected by his customers in turn and in his passing away, one more interesting personality from my active business days had gone to make his peace.

I had known his family too and knowing that his son Jalal was already in the business, I sent a message of condolence to the young man with some references to his late father’s excellent character and reputation. Jalal in turn rang me up to convey his and his family’s gratitude for the most unexpected communication from me.

On the day that I had the meeting with my airport friend from Delhi, when I returned from the supermarket, I received another telephone call from Jalal to just hand over the phone to his family doctor who wanted to share with me his memories of the time that I had an accident in Ahmedabad, The family doctor had to be summoned to attend to me in my hotel, late in the evening. The family doctor was reminiscing about various people that he had met through Kader and he remembered me for that memorable night which was an experience that he had never had earlier nor since then. This is the story about that accident and a retired GP’s memories of that incident.

As Sales Manager, I was visiting customers at Ahmedabad and had checked into a hotel for the night. After checking in, the bellboy before leaving the room after depositing the luggage and turning on the Airconditioner etc, asked me if there was anything else that I required. I said no and sent him on his way with the usual tip.

I took a shower, changed into my off duty dress of lungi and kurtha and started to read a book when there was a knock at the door and the same page boy once again asked me if I wanted any other service. I told him that I would order for food from the room service and did not need anything, thanked him and shut the door.

After a few moments he once again knocked to ask the same question but with a sign language of “do you want to drink something?” Ahmedabad is in the state of Gujarath, the only state in India with prohibition of alcohol consumption in force with a thriving bootlegging trade. I had made my own arrangements and now having understood the keenness of the lad to be of service to me, I declined and sent him off.

After a few moments, the same lad appeared again with a sly grin and was just beginning to ask if I wanted some other service, when I lost my temper and decided to give him a good kick and send him on his way. I did, and the next thing that I remember is being flat out on my knees with a throbbing and bleeding forehead. I had forgotten that I was wearing a lungi, which is a cylindrical garment from waist down to the ankles, and had tripped over while executing the kick, but by some instinct turned around before falling down and hit my forehead on the sharp corner of the door’s latch.

The young man panicked and ran away and I got up to try and stem the bleeding with toilet paper and water but had little success. I rang up Kader and told him that I had cut myself and needed a doctor to come and put in a couple of stitches. He promptly rushed with his family doctor and it was done within the next half an hour. I still carry that scar on my forehead.

The doctor when told about how I came to cut myself like that, laughed his heart out and said that he was glad that he and Kader wore pajamas at home and not lungis. After all these years, he remembered that incident and was reminiscing with Jalal about that evening when Jalal decided to share the story from the doctor himself.

Since then a flood of memories of my visits to that beautiful town, has been visiting me. Ahmedabad is special for me for another reason in that I went to Business School there for two years in the sixties. I have many interesting recollections of those two years too. I may write about some of them later, but my next post will be on a really funny experience that I had there with the security detail at the airport on another occasion.