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Memories of certain people can haunt you forever

Out of nowhere, memories of my close association with Raja Rameshwar Rao stole back in my mind. He has been gone for many years but reappeared in my mind as if it was only yesterday that he breathed his last. Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: Aug 04, 2012 23:09 IST
Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh
Hindustan Times

Out of nowhere, memories of my close association with Raja Rameshwar Rao stole back in my mind. He has been gone for many years but reappeared in my mind as if it was only yesterday that he breathed his last. I was reminded of the Urdu couplet:

Raat yoon dil mein teree khoyee huee yaad aayee
Jaisey veeraney mein chupkey sey bahaar aa jaaye
Jaisey sahraaon mein hauley sey chaley baad-e-naseem’
Jaisey beemaar ko bevajah qaraar aa jaaye

Last night your memory stole back into my mind
Like spring comes silently into the desert
As the soft morning breeze begins to blow
As one sick beyond hope
Hope begins to glow

I can’t find any explanation. We had been close friends for many years. After his death his memory had faded in the desert wastes. Why all of a sudden did he steal back in my mind without any rhyme or reason as if he was alive? Some people have the power of haunting their friends’ lives for years after they have died. Rameshwar was one of them. His memory had faded out for many years. And all of a sudden he came alive as if he had never died. I am delighted to have him back and have long conversations with him. It reminds me of Ahmed Faraz’s couplet:

Ahad Nibhaaney kee khatir mat aanaa;
Ahad nibhaaney waley aksar majboori mein ahad kartey hain
Majboori ya mehjoori kee thakan say lauta kartey hain
Aur darya, darya pyas bunathey hain
Mayree chahat aur mayree lau itnee conchi hog ai hai
Jab dil ro dey
To laut aanaa

Do not return because of promises earlier made
Promises earlier made are under compulsion
Or under pressure;
You go, and do not return
Till your heart cries out in pain.

Red Light
“When I drove past the traffic sign, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” an unnamed motorist told reporters in Eaucourt-sur-Somme, in Northern France. “There on the radar screen was a flashing message in English, reading ‘You reckless driver. Fuck you!’ It’s done it almost every time I’ve driven past it this sweek. Perhaps I was sometimes going a little fast, but that’s no reason for a speed camera to insult me.’

Earlier, an apology had been issued by Jean-Claude Bouton, managing director of JCB, the Herissart-based company which designed the speed camera system. “The radar calculates the speed of each driver, and is supposed to flash their speed at them if they’re going too fast, to tell them to slow down. I have a work colleague who thought that the text size on the display was too small and he likes to play jokes. So on the day that the system was inaugurated, he changed the wording to say ‘Fuck You !’ if a driver went over 50km/h, and to say ‘Welcome to the windmill!’ if they were doing less than 50km/h.”

“He did it to make me laugh, but I was driving slowly that day, so I didn’t notice that anything was wrong during the demonstration. He’s not a computer specialist, and he didn’t realise that he’d programmed his alterations into the memory so the messages stayed like that until today.”

Town mayor Henri Sannier added that “I’ve passed the sign several times, and didn’t notice anything wrong. But then I don’t drive very fast.”
(courtesy Private Eye, London)

Above all politics
Dear God,
Jagjit Singh, Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand, Mehdi Hassan, Dara Singh and now Rajesh Khanna.
We appreciate your keen interest in music and films. We hope you will soon take interest in Indian politics as well.

Gender difference
Teacher: What is the difference between a man and a woman?
Student: Man has a sense of humour whereas a woman has a sense of rumour
(contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)

Press Hazard
Manoj: What happened, yaar. You are bandaged up. Did you have anaccident?
Vinod: No, I did not have an accident. Actually I was attending a mediafunction.
Manoj: So how come you got hurt so badly?
Vinod: There was a lady reporter there, with a tab on her chest on which it was written ‘Press’. So I pressed it.”

(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, New Delhi)

The views expressed by the author are personal

First Published: Aug 04, 2012 23:02 IST