There was this other guy who was with us for a comparatively shorter duration. While playing the game of cards his hands used to shake if he had good cards with him, and the others easily escaped by scooting immediately. He had also had the habit of standing very close to you while talking, and when you move away he will move in again closer.
An old peon named Patil was working as general errand boy in our section of the office, and it was a simple pleasure for me to say ‘kasa kai, Patil’ which were a few smatterings of Marathi tongue. My knowledge of Hindi language also used to give me the slip sometimes like when someone once asked me for time in my watch, instead of telling it is ‘sade bajeh’ which means 12.oo, I said ‘pandrah’ which means 15. That person might have thought that I was either slightly affected by the sun or that I was from the Navy where the day and night time is measured in 24 hours.
I remember one restaurant in Camp area which is on the way to the Methodist Church. I used to like to sip a cup of tea there with a cop cake or some other pastry item to go with the cake.
I also remember Budhanis Hot Chips. They had imported machinery which pea, cut and fry potato wafers, which they ladle out with big long-handled ladles. It was a pleasure to get piping hot potato wafers from them to munch during movie times. One other landmark which I remember is the Three Coins Night Club. I had never been there, but my Christian roommate was a regular customer there, and sometimes he also filled in as one of the guitarists on the staage. H had two other friends who were regulars there with him for a drink or two, watch the shows and generally loaf around there chatting among themselves or with others. He once mentioned about a dancer girl whom he met there who had a habit of saying ‘Oh, I am f@&#ed’ , whenever she remembered just a little too late.
He deserves a special mention. As I said he used to play the guitar, go bar hopping, even must have imbibed drugs, stayed away late at nights, and among all these attended choir practice sessions regularly and attended the Sunday Mass and singing in the choir. He was quite a good man, hailing from Nazareth in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu. He was a dark but handsome man. He taught me how to appreciate English songs which were popular those days; songs like Strawberries Cherries and Angels, House of Bamboo, Pearly Shells, Que Sera Sera, Red River Valley and a lot of other songs from the Guitar lessons book and Negro Spirituals.
He was so good that he didn’t want to spoil a girl’s life when his parents were looking for alliance for him, that he went to a hospital for a complete check up to confirm that he has not contracted any communicable diseases, and then only consented to marry. He had an only girl child as far as I can remember, because during pregnancy his wife had epilepsy as well Jaundice, but by divine intervention survived in one piece with her baby successfully brought into the world.
I remember a picnic, when we all fellow boarders went to Lonavla and Khandala. These were famous picnic spots, full of hills all around and scenic beauty. You would actually be among clouds at that attitude and because of the low temperature. There was this play area where I was swinging from a big pipe. It was so big that my fist did not go fully around it and so when I was swinging faster I lost my grip and fell flat on my back, stunned for a few minutes. My friends asked me to lie dows and take some rest. I found a big ‘chulla’ which must have been unused for over a century, spread my handkerchief inside it and lay down with my head and neck totally inside the chulla which emitted a comfortable warmth and I had a small nap.