Saturday, August 2, 2008

Good Samaritan ?

I heard the sound while still in deep slumber. Slowly I realized the ringing tone of the telephone. Instinctively I turned on my right side in the bed and lifted the receiver from the cradle with my left arm.
“Hello?” I said, still half asleep.
“Good Morning, Mr. Sengupta. I am Nandita from reception. It is your wake-up call at 4 AM” said the lady’s voice from the other end.
“Good Morning, Nandita and thank you” I replied, already trying to remove the soft quilt with white satin cover covering me. At “ITC One” suite of Maurya Sheraton they really pamper you!
“Shall I give you a reminder call after five minutes, Mr. Sengupta?” asked Nandita, with expectation in her voice.
“No! No! Thank you Nandita, I am already fully awake” I replied
“Good day, Mr. Sengupta”
“Good day, Nandita”
I replaced the receiver and got up. The room was absolutely dark except for the foot light. I partially removed the heavy curtain from the window next to my bed, but the outside was still dark. Just then I heard the door bell. I switched on the bed side lamp to find my way and crossed the bed room and the living room to reach the suite door while tying the waist band of my dressing gown. I unlocked the door and opened it without peeping through the lookout glass (cardinal mistake!) to find our floor butler Sunil standing with a teapot on a tray. I opened the door fully and made way for him to enter.
“Good Morning, Mr. Sengupta” said Sunil with a broad smile and went past me with a wisp of soft aroma of a very good quality Darjeeling tea filling my nostril.
“Good Morning, Sunil”
“Shall I pour tea for you, Mr. Sengupta?” asked Sunil, lowering the tray on the centre table near the sofa.
“Not necessary. I will do it myself. Please tell reception to keep the bill ready. Tell them that I have not used the mini bar. Also the car should be at the porch by 4.30 AM” I said while tipping Sunil.
“Thank you, Mr. Sengupta, I will take care” said Sunil while closing the door softly.
I drank two cups of very light tea without sugar & milk very quickly and headed for the bathroom for brushing my teeth and a shave. There was no time for taking a bath or other morning chores.
Within another 20 minutes I was fully dressed up and settling the bill at the reception
“When do we see you next, Mr. Sengupta?” said Sagarika, the lobby manager, coming to greet me.
“May be tomorrow!” I said half jokingly while heading for the waiting car.
“Good Morning, Sir” greeted the doorman with a salute while opening the door of the black limousine.
“Good Morning” I said pleasantly while handing him my small luggage strolley with a tip and getting inside the car.
“Good Morning, Mr. Sengupta” greeted Akram at the driving seat, looking through the rear view mirror.
“Good Morning, Akram” I replied.
“Is the inside temperature OK, Mr. Sengupta?” asked Akram.
“Absolutely! Let us head for domestic airport, Jet Airways’ terminal”

I settled down and pondered what a life! I hate to get up in the morning, at least definitely not before 6 AM. But with my touring schedule of more than 20 days a month, all over the Globe that was simply not possible. For maximum utilization of time, there was no other way but to take at least ten early morning flights and equal number of late night flights per month. Different time zones of different continents compounded my problem further. I was nearing sixty and my secretary and all my friends thought that I was mad. They cautioned that I would meet my end any day. Doctors were very unhappy with me since I did not give them any business even under these extreme conditions!

It was early September, 2006 and I came to Delhi only a day before from my corporate headquarter at Ahmedabad. I would now be taking the 6.30 AM Jet Airways’ flight to Kolkata to attend a meeting at 11 AM. Flying to Kolkata, of course, gave me the added incentive of being with my Mother who stayed there with a full entourage of maid servants. One of my nieces and four of my sisters, who stayed nearby, would also normally be staying with her by turn. Earlier I use to live with her. But after I lost my wife to cancer in 1998, I had become a bit of a bohemian and was still unable to settle myself.

In the morning Delhi looked really regal with its clean and spacious roads. Invasion of traffic was yet to start and we reached domestic airport, Jet Airways’ terminal within about fifteen minutes. I tipped Akram and headed for the entrance with my laptop on my shoulder and dragging my strolley behind.

Airports are always the melting pots of the corporate world! Anytime of the day you have to keep a watch for any known faces least you miss any of your corporate friends or clients who are all loaded with tons of egos. An ex-boss of mine, who taught me the nitty-gritty of marketing, told me that once he found his boss hobnobbing with Deelip Kumar. But later when asked how he knew Deelip Kumar so well, he literally fell from the sky and exclaimed “Oh my God! Was he Deelip Kumar? I found his face very familiar and thought he must be some corporate honcho and might feel offended if I fail to recognize him!” This is a true story and this is the corporate world!

Even in the morning the Jet Airways’ terminal was like a fish market. I was keeping a very watchful eye while negotiating with my strolley. I almost reached Jet Airways’ premier counter without locating any known faces (unless everybody were hiding behind the piles of luggage!) when I saw the girl! She was in her early twenties and was standing near the extreme left counter with a luggage trolley laden with two pieces of oversize soft-baggage and a middle aged gentleman in a dark suit standing by her side. She was strikingly beautiful with very fair complexion and pale blue eyes. She was wearing a spring green Salwar-kamiz with a white scarf tied over her head like Hijab. She was, however, looking very distraught with all the worries of the world reflected on her face!

“To help all the damsels in distress in the world could not be my sole responsibility. At my age I could not be the knight in the shining armor” I told myself and was trying to shift my gaze when I heard “ Excuse me Sir, are you flying to Calcutta?” and saw that the middle aged gentleman who was standing beside the girl had just stepped in front and was addressing me! [To be continued….]


Indrabhom said...


Good Samaritan as usual darun. Mokshom jaigay giye shesh korecchish, aagami sankhyar jonye boshe roilam.

E bhaabe jhuliye rakha ta ki uchit hocchhey?


Milan Acharya said...

Unclejee - To be Continued.... this is not done.. when do we get the next part ? the whole next week i'll keep thinking of the story and the lady in Light green salwar kamiz !! Haaa HAAA ; sahi mein u should start compiling all these stories and make a book, and I guess thr's something about Delhi too, I need to be thr soon !

biplab said...

Indra, after reading the first part of "Match Making", Satyen gave the following comments "....Eta tui amader mashik potrika-r moto teney jetey parish besh kichhu din...........pathok-era hooked hawbey nischoi". i am just following the instruction of guru dev. Hope satyen is also reading?

biplab said...

milan, don't loose heart! i will post the 2nd part within a couple of days. Pot hunting in Delhi could be quite encouraging!

tuktuki said...

the tongue-in-cheek style is great fun to read...perhaps, a 'twist-in-the-tale' is coming up? :)

Rini said...

You always were my favorite story teller - and its wonderful that I get to share this part of you with everyone else :) - But about your comment to Milan - I guess you mean Delhi is a good place to hunt for "plots" and not "pot."

biplab said...

tuktuki, it is my pleasure that you liked my style. the real story is about to unfold! but you have to wait till the end to find out what really happened!

biplab said...

rini, i am sharing my experience with others with your encouragement only. to milan by "pot hunting" i meant "pot-shot for...." considering his age and my relation with him.

PeeGee said...

I am waiting like all others for the end.. eagerly.. :)

MM said...

mesho - absolutely love your style of writing! extremely witty and wonderfully descriptive.
keeps me coming back to your blog again and again :)
looking forward to the next installment!


Anonymous said...

'cliffhanger'- that's how the story line runs, it seems...:)
who cares for fortnightly 'desh patrika'?

jdrhere said...

What's in a name...truly says the bard of avon....

and here's our very own captain nimo navigating his submarine most diligently...
another feather added :)

biplab said...

with so much of pampering, i think i have to post the next part tomorrow. but hold your breath! the story is likely to become more interesting. but as i have promised earlier i am not going to change what actually happened. could be a good idea to have a guessing game. what do you say?