An unforgettable Incident with Baba Khadam alias Khadoo Wireless: An Amusing Chapter From My Memoirs

It was a case of sheer misunderstanding on Baba Khadam’s part. He complained about my alleged misconduct to my grandfather. He told my grandfather, “Your elder grandson had grossly misbehaved with me and called me Putter (son)”.

Let me first share the incident with you. I was probably in primary school then. As all children are quite fond of buying candies, toffees and suchlike other things to nourish their taste buds, I too was no exception. I too used to like to spend my hard-squeezed money on buying sweetmeats, etc. 

One day, urged by the uncontrollable desire to have some sweet taste, I went to the small village shop to buy some candies, etc. As the luck would have it, Baba Khadam was also sitting there chatting with Shafi Faqir-the shop owner. I offered him the candies and said “Baba gee kha lo” (Old man, please have it). He said,Putter assi nahian khanday honday” (Son, I don’t eat it). I retorted, “Te fer assi we nahin khanday” (Then, I too will not eat). 

He totally misunderstood my words and assumed that I too have called him ‘Putter’ (son). I came to know of it later on when he complained to my grandfather. He immediately got infuriated and pounced on me. Without fully realizing the situation, I rushed out of the shop. Lo and behold, he was following me. I really got scared and ran as fast as I could. He was still following. However, the old legs could not compete with the young legs. Soon I left him far behind, heavily panting. 

I was perturbed and could not determine the cause of his sudden anger. Thenceforth, I got very watchful lest he should catch me unprepared. The very sight of him made me scuttle. This remained so even for many months afterward. So much so that I never dared pass through his street during all this while. 

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But the thing that really pestered me was his sudden uncalled-for provocation. And despite my hard thinking, I was unable to find out any reason behind his abrupt anger. It was only after he had complained to my grandfather that I became aware of it. But he had mistakenly named the elder grandson in connection with the ugly incident.

Now the poor elder grandson (Ajmal Bhai) was the target of the whole family. He was sternly taken to task by each and every member of the family for his gross misconduct. But he was in a state of utter disbelief because he had not been involved in any untoward incident with Baba Khadim. He had neither offered him any candies nor called him putter (son). Why was he then being reprimanded for something he had never said? He was unable to make out. He tried to convince the family of his innocence, but to no avail. No one was ready to believe him. “Why should Baba Khadim tell a lie”? They said.

I was the only person who knew the fact. But I didn’t dare narrate the incident to the family lest all the guns are directed at me. It was only after many months when the dust had fully settled that I divulged the details of the incident to my family. It was indeed a queer incident. Even now, when many years have passed since it happened, the very thought of it still leaves a big smile on my face. Life then was replete with many such amusing incidents. I will dwell upon them in the forthcoming chapters. 

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