A Nostalgic Walk in Delhi !

My father died in Delhi when I was barely 18. My mother was returning to Kerala. I told her that I would look after myself and there was no need for her to worry about me. The only skill I had was a bit of knowledge in typing. I got a job as a typist at the CPI Parliamentary office. My salary was 250 rupees a month. I have very good memories of that one year of my life. The office was in Windsor Place, the circle which connects Ashoka Road, Janpath Road and Ferozeshah Road. Com. Mahendra Acharya was in charge of the office. He was an extremely warm, loving old gentleman. Com. Ramakrishnan looked after the work details. He looked at me as a younger brother. Com. Nalini and her family lived in the same building with two children, her mother and sister. Vinod and Dinesh were lovely children who were like my younger brothers. Their father was an extremely compassionate communist working in Ajay Bhavan at that time. The members of Parliament belonging to CPI used to drop in very often. I had occasions to meet leaders like Indrajeet Gupta, Hiren Mukherji, Bhupesh Gupta, Mohit Sen and many others at a young age. All these old timers had different qualities that I could not resist from respecting, though I was not a party person. The time was Emergency. Even though these leaders stood by the party decision to support Emergency, they had no problem listening to my half baked criticisms on Emergency and my reservations on the stand of CPI. With their age, experience and understanding, they could have easily brushed me aside. But these people were from a different breed.

My typing was filled with mistakes. They would be patient with me. But one person who was open and frank with me was Comrade Chandrappan who became an MP, coming from the youth movement of CPI. He thought that I could write English since I could speak English. And he asked me if I could write a press release. I voluntarily agreed. He showed me a press cutting and said that AIYF would respond to this news with so and so points and told me the points. I noted the points and then I typed a press release for him. Obviously, my written language was bad. He corrected my language by marking every mistake with a pen and gave it to me. When I looked at it, I was too embarrassed by the number of corrections. So, I corrected everything and typed it out again and gave it to him. After that, he never gave me such responsibilities. But for me, his behaviour deserved respect from my side. He was a man of few words in normal circumstances, though he was a careful and good orator from the youth movement. He was too sensitive to deal with the situation in such a way that I should not be feeling guilty about my bad performance.

I moved out to different social and political streams in no time beginning from my short experience with these old timers. But there was something precious that I learnt from that office in Windsor Place in Delhi. Some people do not demand respect from others. They place you in such a way that you have no option but to respect them.

And today morning, I was walking along that same road in Delhi. I looked at that same very house where I worked, with my curious eyes. There were 3 big hoardings with an image of a guy with saffron tikka, in front of that house. Today, it is the house of a BJP Member of Parliament!

K.P. Sasi is a film maker, cartoonist and writer


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K P Sasi

K.P. Sasi is a film maker, cartoonist, writer and an activist

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