Both Sabharwal and Swami were very senior to me both in age and seniority. Our office those days was in the sprawling boulevard of Parliament Street in New Delhi. Just opposite to the VIP police station, and not very far from the point where it embraced the ever famous Connaught circus. The pride of New Delhi and even India.
Sabharwal, a Punjabi Khatri used to reside in Kirti Nagar. While, Swami a Tamil Brahmin in Karol Bagh. That happened to be the nerve center of the huge South Indian population, residing in Delhi then. Sabharwal and Swami (S&S) made an interesting duo. One being the likes of a carefree, lively and mast Punjabi. The other, a conservative and ritualistic Brahmin from the South. Sabharwal then was the liaison manager and Swami the admin manager of the company.
While Sabharwal truly believed in YOLO (You only live once) and often basked in the theory of carpe diem. Swami prescribed to the simple Brahmin culture of south. And he made it more evident by sporting the famous horizontal chandan tilak on his forehead. Which noticeably, by the time he use to reach office used to dry up and change its colour.
But even with all the asymmetry between them in terms of their origin, habits, language and gait, I still found S&S to be the toast of office. I guess, the combination was explosive and somewhat different. Apparently, they were very good friends. They used to come to office together in the morning and even leave together in the evening. In Sabharwal’s faded, yet rugged Vespa scooter.
Once, like every other morning. Sabharwal, with his helmet tied to his chin. That reduced his audibility anyway, in the crowded traffic of Karol Bagh. Reached the usual spot, from where Swami use to hop on to his scooter. He saw Swami standing there. And as usual he halted for a moment and moved on. Thinking, Swami is well perched behind him. In about half an hour he reached office. As traffic used to be much less those days. Only to realise Swami was there. Most likely he was left behind.
Sabharwal, perplexed to this very unexpected one waited for some moments at the car park for him. Then slowly walked up to the office in the second floor. And following him soon. In Rambo style entered Swami, fuming. Mobiles were not invented then.
‘Arrey Baba, kya hua? Before, I could even sit. You moved the scooter, when my leg was midair.’
‘Arrey Swami, sorry yaar! I just don’t know what happened to me. I was in deep thoughts. Thinking, how to tackle that idiot in Udyog Bhawan. I stopped and moved, thinking you were on board, and since I was in deep thoughts. I never spoke to you and for some strange reason. I thought even you are quiet today. It was only when I was nearing Patel Chowk. I realised the scooter was feeling very light. Is when I turned around and you were not there.’
Out of breath Swami was slowly coming to terms with Sabharwal’s gross error. Is when we all had a hearty laugh followed by a cup of tea.
Today, Mr Sabharwal is not with us. To laugh and remember about this endearing and hearty episode. But we all have cherished memories of him. And this is what life is all about. My tributes to him, and may, he rest in peace.