Friday, May 19, 2017

A Cuttack incident and others

In the early 80s Venu was in Bhubhaneshwar to set up Times of India office. He was to be there for 3 months so he wanted his family with him. Along with my mother and toddler son, we took a train to Bhubhaneshwar. My notion of Bhubhaneswar stuck to cuttack as the station approached usually when we slept when I travelled as a child with my parents from Kolkatta to Chennai and the same train resumed journey after a halt of 3 hrs in Chennai to Kerala. As soon as the train stopped at Cuttack, along with mother and son I got down thinking it to be Bhubhaneshwar. Not seeing Venu to receive us, both of us got really annoyed and started moving towards the exit.
There was a telephone booth, and with the given no. tried contacting Venu. Seeing me worried and angry, the boothwala asked for the no. and immediately said that I had to make a trunk call as the no was not a Cuttack no. I got panicky. A rickhshaw walah who had been noticing everything came to my rescue and said he would drop me to the bus stop plying to Bhubhaneshwar and it would be one and a half hrs.. The journey went on and on and I angrily asked him whether he was taking me to Bhubhaneshwar. After what seemed ages, we boarded the bus helped by the friendly richshaw wala and reached Bhubhaneswar and arrived at the given address to the hotel.
As I was climbing the stairs to go to my room, there was a call at the reception meant for me. It was a call from Venu's boss's wife saying her husband had a dream in which he saw me getting down at Cuttack. I said it really happened.
We were waiting in the room when Venu arrived drenched in sweat and angry. He shouted at me and asked me if I was educated. It so happened that Venu was waiting at Bhubhaneshwar and when enquired the passengers in the couch about us, they said an aged lady, a young lady with a baby had got down at Cuttack. He also said he was to make a police complaint. When I said his boss ( also my father's close friend) saw a dream in which we were getting down at Cuttack, Venu shot back, ' Why should he dream about my wife'.
Venu took me to a restaurant he usually went. The waiter immediately pulled the screen to make the room cozy. Venu said there was no need to pull the screen as the lady was his wife.
This incident took place in Kolkatta in our house. Venu was on tour. A substitute maid was suspected of stealing my gold bangles and a chain and 50 rupee note. Venu on returning said he was not bothered about the gold given by my father but should get back his 50 rupee note which he had earned. People who were there were amused.

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