Clearing the air on the man who 'owned' half the Capital | columns | Hindustan Times
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Clearing the air on the man who 'owned' half the Capital

columns Updated: Aug 13, 2011 23:31 IST

I had no intention of writing about my father in my own columns. I do so because he has been maligned and implicated in the death sentence passed on Bhagat Singh and Dutt for killing two police officers in Lahore. I repeat, he had nothing to do with these killings.

All he did was identify them as the two men who fired pistol shots and hurled bombs in the Parliament when it was in session. However, it does not deter men from maligning him for reasons best known to them. I would like to tell readers what he did for the city in which he spent most of his long life (he lived to be 90) and gave it more than anyone I know.

He was the biggest builder of New Delhi and the single largest owner of real estate. It was a pardonable exaggeration when Dilliwalas referred to him as Aadhi Dilli ka Malik - owner of half of Delhi.

Not many people know what he gave to Delhi. After providing enough for his four sons and a daughter, he earmarked the rest of his property for charity. This included all of Sujan Singh and Hotel Ambassador as well as his large house at Number 1 Janpath. The rental amounted to more than two crore per year.

It is managed by my younger brother Brigadier (Retd) Gurbux Singh. Apart from donating a block to the Pingalwara in Amritsar and assistance to Parveen Talha's Trust in her brother Osama's name in Lucknow, the rest has been spent on projects in the capital.

A block for Mrs Chona's Tamanna school for special children; a block of flats next to Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital to accommodate families of patients; a block in Bapsy Nariman's clinic; a mini hospital in Lahori Gate; and now a hospital in rural Delhi to cater to the needs of a cluster of villages. And so it will go on year after year from the money he earmarked for charity.

Toque: Food for thought
I have been intrigued by the long white caps chefs all over the world wear when cooking. What is it called ? Why do chefs wear it? I stumbled across the word 'toque' while tackling a crossword puzzle. I thought I would be able to get its origin and history from a dictionary. I was disappointed.

All it said was that a toque is a white cap worn by chefs. I would like to know why chefs wear it and since when? I would be grateful if any reader of my column enlightens me: what is it made of? Paper or cloth? My guess: the toque is designed to keep the head cool in a warm kitchen where two or three fires may be burning at the same time.

View from the outside
Son in India : A teenager who, without asking, will carry your grocery bags from the market.
Outside India: A teenager, who suddenly remembers he has homework when you start mowing the lawn.
Daughter in India: A lovely doll, who brings tears to your eyes during her marriage.
Outside India: A lovely doll, who brings you to tears long before her marriage.
Father in India: A person you are afraid of and who is never to be disobeyed
Outside India: A person whom you pretend to obey, after all he is the one paying your college tuition.
Doctor in India: A respectable person with an OK income.
Outside India: A money making machine, who has a money spending machine at home called 'doctor's wife.'
Bhangra in India: A vigorous Punjabi festival dance.
Outside India: A dance you do when you don't know how to dance.

Man or Mouse
One night Santa came home drunk, so his wife beat him up. The next morning Banta saw his condition and learnt what had happened.
He asked him, "You got beaten up by your wife? Are you a man or a mouse?"
Santa: I am a man and I can prove it.
Banta: How?
Santa: My wife is afraid of mice.
A few days later, Banta came home drunk and was beaten up by his wife. The following morning, Santa saw him and found out what had taken place.
Santa: You got beaten up by your wife? Are you a man or a Mouse? Squeak up!"

Young Lover
I was lying at night in my bed
He was lying naked on me having fun
The stupid idiot pissed on me
He was my six-month-old son

(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, Delhi)

The views expressed by the author are personal