Friday, February 8, 2008

Of Subhash and Venu - Two Of My Mates

Subhash is a mason from the Border Road Organization and has been to all difficult terrain and areas of Indian border, for example, J & K, Leh, Siachen, and North Eastern states of India. He is a resident of a small town, Rewari (Haryana) about 50 km from Delhi, on Jaipur Road. Many times he entertains us with interesting stories and anecdotes from his posting to different areas. In Annapurna hut, he would always insist to make tea for me reassuring me that he would put less sugar. He is also a regular member at the Dooda Beta Film Club. While coming back when both of us were talking together ahead of others, I asked him about his family back home. He was willing to talk and I was a patient listener. He comes from a family with modest means. As the only son of his father he inherited only one acre of land and a dilapidated family house. He worked hard and saved hard. He gave good education to his two daughters. The elder one is graduate (B.A.) and is married. And having a graduate daughter in the state of Haryana (where girls are becoming fewer and fewer), he would not settle for any useless brat. So his son in law is M.A. (English), B.Ed and working as teacher. His youngest daughter will be entering university this year. In between the two daughters, he has a son aged 22. Understandably, as the only son he has not done well academically. However, he has managed to get employed at a mobike factory. Soon after reaching India, Subhash will get him married to a girl already selected by the family. He is not worried about the marriage of his youngest daughter. He draws comfort from the fact that she will attract far too many proposals. Subhash has added to his immovable property. He bought another acre of land and has more than doubled the floor area of his house on a bigger plot of land. He did not conceal his pride in telling me that with limited means and education, meager inheritance and a lowly paid job, how he has improved his stature in his clan and society. I marveled at his hard work and planning for his family as well as his financial management. I almost felt ashamed.

Venu is a wintering member of our Team. He is part of the logistic team in capacity of vehicle mechanic. He has wintered here earlier. He is just 42 and has obtained retirement from the Indian Army after completing 20 years. I find very strange; there are many retired technicians from Army this time in the 27th IAE for wintering. They all are in their forties and have retired. Venu is a good natured man and we get along famously. He is always smiling, but is very funny usually in the evening for obvious reasons. Of course, he is fond of his Rum and then his reaction time gets shorter and shorter in cracking one liners. Though he is from Kerala, the 'God's own country', his knowledge about Hindi movies is as good as mine. So when we both are in the summer lounge watching a movie together, we both are cracking jokes or comments. He is fond of dancing and dances well during cultural programme when booze is on the house. He always drags me on such evenings to the dancing floor, not that I mind. On the Republic Day, he came to me to drag me and I just declined for no particular reason. He immediately got angry and disowned me announcing, "This doctor is no friend of mine; if I ever get crazy here, do not let him treat me".

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