Remembering a friend

Looking back

Remembering a friend

In 1986, I had the privilege of meeting acclaimed writer, historian and columnist Khushwant Singh and to have a taste of his sense of humour and wit. My close friend, Prema Subramaniam, and Khushwant Singh were family friends.

 Prema told me that he was in Bengaluru and wanted to meet a few writers from the City. Around that time,Penguin publications had just come to India and Khushwant Singh had come to the City  to collect some information.

 Prema requested me to help her out as she was new toBengaluru.    In just three days and over a few calls, I was able to get seven ladies to meet him at Taj Hotel, MG Road. They were T Sunandamma, Parvathi, Pankaja, Saroja, Kamala Hampana, TS Rukmayi and Sashi Deshpande.

 He had told the other writers to come to the hotel directly as I had not met any of them before. I went to him and introduced myself by saying, “Any friend of Prema’s is a friend of mine.”

 He was very happy to see me and we had a nice chat before the other writers came in. I had a pocket camera with me and clicked many pictures with him. When I told him that I would go back once the other writers arrive, he asked me to stay back and have tea with all of them.

He was very funny and I was not nervous while talking to him. Soon, one by one the ladies came in and introduced themselves. Khushwant Singh had a chat with all of them over tea.

He also mentioned in a magazine, later, that I had helped him meet many writers in Bengaluru.

From then onwards, I was in touch with him regularly. He was a very humourous writer and had no qualms in calling a spade a spade. I used to follow every column of his and would send him my view points as well as cards for Diwali, New Year and Holi. He appreciated each of those and replied to many. On my birthday in 2011, he remembered to wish me by saying, “I join your friends in wishing you a very happy birthday.”

He passed away, on this day, last year. He has left a huge void and I miss his letters and columns. 

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