Old Gosal's Birthday
Good old Gosal had
suffered a stroke. That was years before he departed to the nether
world (God bless his soul), over a decade ago. The stroke has paralysed
him, he was hospitalised, but proper medical aid revived him enough
to remain with us for the years that followed. Though he could not
regain complete use of all his limbs, his mind remained alert through
his spicy and juicy letters from Mangalore. Undetered by his physical
handicap, he poured out his mind on paper through a typewriter,
bashing away at the keys with his left hand.
Just as well for
his loved ones, numerous friends and fans. For old Gosal was renowned
for his cynical wit and humour, and soldiery slang that no one wanted
to be deprived of. He called a spade a spade, and had no time for
the pseudo sophistication that has crept into our society. And he
made no bones about telling you so. While his physical disabilities
restricted his socialising, his fan mail though, doubled and trebled
over the years.
I remember the time
when old Gosal was made to celebrate his birthday, the following
year after the stroke. We were then posted in Sikkim. Being miles
away, we could only write and wish, and send him a parcel of Kalimpong
cheese which he adored. The letter he typed out to us after the
celebrated event, has still been preserved for posterity. Extracts
from which, I'd like to quote:
"... A million
thanks for your loving birthday greetings, which got here in good
time. I was greatly moved by your card. Thanks also for the parcel.
I was almost beginning to think some chap from the P&T must
have snaffled it. Since cheese forms the staple item of our frugal
diet, its arrival was eagerly awaited. Ta muchly, once again.
The birthday went
off nicely, but only just. The gladhanders came mostly in the morning,
when they were expected in the evening. This complicated matters,
because they arrived with progeny who messed up the place with cake
crumbs, bits of jack chips, -- and of course, spilt sweet drink
all over. These people have brought up their children like pariahs
who behave like hoodlums, while their parents and grandparents look
on admiringly. The latter, who are educated and can afford servants,
do not know the elementary good manners of leaving their brats at
home, when visiting a house where there are only grown ups without
domestics. I hope you are not like these proud parents.
The evening session
was on similar lines. The neighbours arrived with their youngest
spout, who was restless for lack of attention. Followed by the two
old cats -- the Duchess and the Grand-Duchess -- with all their
children and their grandchildren. Then came K.... and her two long
tongued daughters who never missed a word of the conversation, to
promptly spread the word around the very next morning. The place
soon looked like a s...- house, with the furniture dragged out of
place, and bits of uneaten samosa, cake and what have you, strewn
all over the joint. I was never more glad to see the back of my
guests than at midnight that day. The gladhanders left after filling
up on grog and eats, and I do not care if I never see them again.
It is a helluva strain on your mother, the one able bodied citizen
left in the fami- ly, to organize and serve the bloody b....s whilst
they sit and fill up, and mouth platitudes which they think I swallow
hook line and sinker. I hope I am not around next year to see a
repeat performance. Our friends and relations cannot be expected
to have learnt good manners in the interval....!
Now comes the irksome
task of replying to my birthday mail individually, and having to
couch each one in sugary terms when I do not mean what I write !
There is also this mistaken impression that I have an inexhaustible
store of trite expressions and witticisms that I can muster at the
snap of a finger. If people only knew what a bore it is to me !
Gush, gush and more gush....." Unquote.
Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can
interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and email@example.com
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