As I was getting ready for the walk this morning my best and oldest buddy called me. It was after a really long time we had touched base. After general teasing and ‘leg-pulling’ I got to know that another friend was, incidentally, in my city – Delhi and that too in the same sector where I live. I excused myself and immediately called Anjay – Anjay Singh. I am good at keeping contact details of everyone, whether I call them or not but it was just a chance that the number I thought of Anjay was switched-off. By the time I came back from the walk I had got three missed calls from some other number. I called back without losing a moment. The same warmness in voice; the same friendly tone. I asked him where he was, and he was in the very next society. I asked him to catch up within 2 minutes outside the gate of the complex. Though we met for 10-15 minutes only yet it was a great pleasing moment to get in touch with old friends.
Anjay was an old time friend. We did schooling together. I remember he used to live near ‘Golghar’ in Patna and he was named ‘Golghar-wala-Anjay’. A few years later his father – Mr. Kanhaiya Prasad Singh – built his own house and his family shifted to a comparatively distant place called ‘Kurji’ and then he was named ‘Kurji-wala-Anjay’. His father was an officer in Examination Board and sometimes he was referred as ‘Board Office-wala-Anjay’. It wasn’t that he could not have been referred simply; we used to do so on-purpose. Most of the time it happens the person who gets irritated by something it is more fun to annoy him. The same happened with him. There is a famous bhajan (devotional song) by Surdas “maiya mori main nahin maakhan khaayo… kanhaiyaa more tai nahin maakhan khaayo”. There is nothing wrong is singing such a devotional song but imagine singing just two words “…Kanhaiyaa more…” repeatedly and that too in front of someone whose father’s name is Kanhaiya! We were so master teasers.
Once he disappeared from Patna only to reappear after fifteen months or so. We were informed that he was in Bombay, now Mumbai. A rumor spread, instantly, all over the friend-circle and families that Anjay was in Bombay to act in a movie named ‘Hatyara Kaun’ – the whole story revolves around him – the movie starts with Anjay’s photograph properly hanged and garlanded who was murdered – and the complete movie is about finding his murderer. Even the gossip about him was a class apart.
Anjay never felt much offensive about the small mockery, except once. It was Harmendra, who once mentioned him as ‘Jaichand’. According to Prithviraj Raso, Jaichand helped a foreign invader defeat the Indian king Prithviraj, Jaichand became a symbol of treachery in the modern Indian folklore. And moreover, both Anjay and Jaichand were of Rajput clan. That was the moment! Anjay followed Harmendra not less than five miles to take revenge. We intervened and then only the matter got sparse. But that was all fun.
Shakespeare rightly wrote in Romeo and Juliet:
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
It has all been about Anjay as a friend and not the name. Gem of a person, progressive and promising he is. Later Anjay joined Baidnath and he became Baidnath-wala-Anjay; then Dabur-wala-Anjay. And today I met Bajaj-wala-Anjay.
The Friend’s Wednesday Series – No Pun Intended! FOUR
The person portrayed above is real life character. The name has been changed to protect the identity.