The day before yesterday was a pleasant morning. It almost felt like spring winds which enter the body, revitalises the soul and refreshes the memory. As I came back I recalled it was February 2 – Birthday of my friend Kishan Kumar Tiwari alias Khote. My memory of morning walk is associated with him. I went on the first-morning walk – a 10 kilometre long – with him and we had to came back home on a rickshaw.
Khote was a classmate who became a good friend and later rakhi-brother of my sisters. He was among one of them with whom I had spent most of the time during my college days. Our day would start early morning around 6:15 am for going to college and there was no fixed time to return. Sometimes we directly go to the movie or a friend’s home or market or any other place to hang out, though those were cash crunch days for us. Once we were going somewhere on his scooter early morning. He was not wearing a helmet so a traffic cop stopped him. Khote looked for his wallet to bribe the cop but there wasn’t any money except a 25 Paise coin. I was not carrying mine. The cop said “subah-subah bahuni mat kharaab kijiye,laaiye wahi dijiye; ek faank khaini aa jaayega” (don’t spoil my luck at this early morning; I would get a dose of tobacco with that).
People from rural India have a great sense of humour and wit. Khote was also not less than anyone. Once, someone said that his pullover was having a hole. He immediately replied, “phataa hua bhi hai toh peetaambar hai” (even if its torn it’s the sacred cloth). That pullover was from some renowned International brand gifted by some of his bhaiya.
Khote’s memory was extremely sharp. He had religiously used it to remember registration plates of any vehicle he sees. One must say ‘What a waste!’ He would have a great passion for driving a ‘Truck’. Just imagine! The other passion was cricket. During cricket match, we all used to gather at my home to watch it on television and do the craziest things in superstition to make our favourite team win. One of such moment was not allowing Khote to urinate during India-Pakistan match. The reason – whenever he was moving from his seat a wicket had fallen. Lastly, India won!
In our country, most rituals are performed in Sanskrit – also known as ‘Dev Vani’ or the language of God. Perhaps God only understands this language now. Khote was a ‘Saswat Brahmin’ – a sect of upper caste/class in India which usually performs various religious affairs. Once someone came to Khote’s village home looking for his grandfather for ‘Annapraasan’ (an infant’s first intake of food) of his son. Since his grandfather wasn’t available the visitor insisted Khote to perform it. Khote took his grandfather’s ‘pothi-patri’ (books) and followed him to the venue. As soon as he started chanting the ‘mantra’ (hymn) he notices it was a book meant for last rites. Phew! He thanked God that all of them in his village were human, and not God, who doesn’t understand Sanskrit!
Khote was a master of Personal-Public-Relations. He knows how to exploit people. This was the reason he was having a number of ‘bhaiya’ (elder brother). Anyone has known to him – his cousin, his cousin’s friend, their friend, his friends’ friends’ friend – all were his bhaiya. So, any networking was easy for him. These bhaiyas also loved him a lot. Once I went to his cousin’s house; he made ‘litti-chokha’ in traditional style, baked over cow-dung cake.That was Khote’s style of inviting himself over dinner when he didn’t felt like cooking for himself. Later there would be a singing programme. Khote was a good ghazals singer, so we quickly turned him into a celebrity whenever we felt so.
Khote is well settled now running his construction business. Today also, whenever I meet him I get flatten over his wit. Keep reading this section for more interesting real life characters.
The Friend’s Wednesday Series – No Pun Intended! TWO
The person portrayed above is real life character. The name has been changed to protect the identity.