Saturday, September 5, 2009

Anand of meeting Anand

Back in the eighties, I was posted at Pooh, in the tribal District of Kinnaur . Having been a student of literature , I have special regard for writers and authors. No surprise then , that a wireless message regarding visit to Pooh by the noted writer and author, Dr. Mulk Raj Anand by Ms. Dolly Sahiar, his constant companion and herself a photographer, designer and illustrator of repute , for a night stay on way to Kaza ( Spiti ) came as a godsend . Both the celebrities had been declared State guests by the government, and I was supposed to receive them and look after their boarding and lodging as per protocol .( My boss was away on tour at that time and being the 2 IC - in military jargon - from the administration , I had this opportunity.)The guests arrived at the scheduled time at the PWD rest house and after wishing them and introducing myself , I ushered them to their respective rooms
He was gracious enough to spare some time for me . During discussion over a cup of tea , he was happy to know that I had read his autobiographical book "Seven Summers "and a short story, the Lost Child .The talk veered round to his Cambridge days. He was pleasantly surprised that I had read about his crush on Irene, an Irish young lady (who later died at a very young age.). He lamented the fact that the state was still lagging behind in fruit processing and that while mango was produced in Kangra, people were using pickle made in Amritsar and Ambala . During our discussion on democracy, a quotation from Iqbal, the poet -

Jamhooriat woh tarz-e-haqoomat hai ki jismein,
Bandon ko gina jaata hai tola nahin jaata .”

-came handy .
To his query whether I had read Bang-e-dara , I politely admitted that I hadn’t .I still cherish the memory of this brief interaction with him . Incidentally , Dr. Atma Ram , who had taught me in the University, also published a book “Anand to Atma” containing letters the two had written to each other over a period of time.


  1. wow you met and interacted with him? wow

    the title struck me as unique - anand of meeting anand - the touch of hindi and thought maybe this would be of a close friend and meeting him after a long time. so i was pleasantly surprised when i read the post

    1. This was the most cherished moment of my life. Face to face with a celebrity writer like Dr. Mulk Raj Anand !
      Thanks !