09 March 2013

My friend Sharma...

Sharma, full name Ravi Singh Sharma, is my friend.

He was my colleague when I was working as an engineer in SAIL. Those were the days.

Nice guy, this Sharma friend of mine. Kind of intense, though. Kind of ridiculous as well.

He wants to impress everyone. He wants everyone to like him. He always tries to be nice to people in a mushy kind of way. 

Such kind of people always give you good stories. Here are a couple of such incidents. 


It was the early 90's. Sharma and I were working in the Power Plant as Operations Engineers. Our manager was Brijesh Gupta. 

Nice guy, this Brijesh Gupta. From Kanpur. Suave and polished in a 'Nawabi' kind of way. Always calls people with the suffix of 'Ji', like SharmaJi, SinhaJi etc. 'Ji' is a mark of respect.

Except that Guptaji always called me Ramu.

Guptaji's wife's name is Kamal and he and Kamal has a son, Rahul, who is about five years old.

Please note, Kamal is normally a man's name in India.

One day evening, Shamaji reached Guptaji's house. A casual visit.

Guptaji lived in a small, one bed room apartment. As you enter the house, you first see the kitchen. Just opposite to the kitchen is the bathroom and the hall. The bedroom is to the right of the hall.

Small apartment, that.

Anyways, when Sharmaji reached the house, Kamal was in the bathroom. Rahul was playing at a corner in the hall.

Guptaji welcomed Sharmaji in that effusive, suave way of his. 

"Come on Sharmaji, come on in. Please be seated".

Just to ensure that Kamal is aware that Sharmaji, a visitor, is in the house, Guptaji shouted, "Kamal, see who has come? Sharmaji is here".

Kamal heard this in the bathroom. Being the honourable Bharathiya Nari that she is, she did not respond. With that mysterious communication channel that exist between husbands and wives, Guptaji relaxed, knowing that the message has reached the bathroom.

No, not Sharmaji...

Sharmaji heard Guptaji talking to Kamal. Shamaji could see only a kid playing in the corner. Sharmaji thought that that kid's name was Kamal.

Sharmaji decided to unleash his charm offensive. If you want to impress your boss, start with his child.

"Come on Kamal, how are you Kamal?" Sharmaji set the charming process in motion.

If Guptaji was taken aback by the surprising turn of events, he did not show it. Impassive as Buddha, was Guptaji.

"How are you Kamal, my boy? What do you like, Kamal? Want to play with uncle? Come to Uncle Kamal. Come to me. Sit on uncle's lap, Kamal..." Off went Sharmaji on and on.

This is where the situation reached the limit as it were. Who knows where it could lead to from 'Uncle's Lap'? 

Guptaji suavely intervened. "Shamaji, that is Rahul", Guptaji trailed off, feverishly hoping that Sharmaji takes the hint.

People like Sharmaji do not take these hints so quickly. It took about a minute or so before Sharmaji got it.

"Oh....", muttered Sharmaji like a deflated balloon or something.

"I am very sorry, Guptaji, I am very sorry", Sharmaji would have probably apologized and continued apologizing hadn't Kamal come with some Chill drinks.

Ramu, Guptaji? Really?. Why not Ramaji or something?


Sudeshda was another of our managers.

Sudeshda's name is Sudesh Bannerji. Adding 'da' to the first name is a mark of respect and affection in Bengal.

Sharmaji reached Sudeshda's house.

Sudeshda welcomed Sharmaji. Sharmaji's experienced eyes espied a lady in the kitchen and a kid playing around in the guest room.

Sharmaji added two and two together.

"Sudeshda", Sharmaji began his charm offensive, "Your son looks very smart. Looks just like you"

An embarrassed silence in Casa Sudesh. Sudeshda looked at the lady, the lady looked at the Kitchen Chimney...

"Sharmaji", replied Sudeshda, "This is my brother's son. My brother stays with me. I am not married yet"

Pregnant, uncomfortable moments.

"Oh", said Sharmaji

That said it all...

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