Thursday, April 24, 2008

Culture – Inside Khushwant Singh’s Living Room

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Inside Khushwant Singh’s Living Room

In the company of Delhi’s living landmark.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

There are two kinds of Delhiwallas. Those who have been to Khushwant Singh's living room and those who have not. I have been to Apartment no. 49-E, Sujan Singh Park.

However, the author of Train to Pakistan, itmustbesaid, could not overwhelm me with his greatness. He hardly registered my presence. Only once, when I refused an offer of whiskey, did he turn to 'check me out'. "Please poke around in the refrigerator for some fruit juice", he said and turned back his attention to whiskey-drinking guests.

These guests, of course, are a lucky bunch of people. They're usually puffed up with pride for managing to sneak inside one of the city's most hoity-toity addresses. Most are (wannabe) authors, journalists, bureaucrats, and industrialists. Some of these journos, as Mr Singh complained to a friend, pass off these evening chats as exclusive interviews in the next day’s newspapers. The author now request regular visitors not to bring along their friends. He says he is very old and finds it exhausting to make new acquaintances.

The guests don't mind. Elegant and soft-spoken, they talk loudly for Mr Singh's benefit since he is nearing... as they say 100, and can no longer hear clearly. But they lower down their voices while talking among themselves. When this happens, Mr Singh looks amusingly from one face to another or just focus on his peg.

Along with a messed-up scent of booze, kebabs, and sandwiches, there floats an unmistakable whiff of unofficial hierarchy in the drawing room. Ms Sheela Reddy, the book editor of Outlook magazine, stands out as the prima donna. A daily presence in the durbar, she is often chosen for the honour of measuring the peg for our author. Other regulars include a string of important Pakistanis visiting the town. They are summoned to Sujan Singh Park to brief the author with the latest on Lahore's society gossip.

But as the clock strikes half past eight, everyone gets up to leave. Mr Singh, a morning person, is very particular about his time. The rule does not spare even Ms Reddy. Out goes everyone.

Am I lonely?

Inside Khushwant Singh’s Living Room

Am I lonely? Perhaps not!

Inside Khushwant Singh’s Living Room

My women

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I'm listening

Inside Khushwant Singh’s Living Room

No easy access

India's Greatest Living Writer Lives Here


VK said...

does that imply u r among the hoity doity ones nw?

Anonymous said...

In my left hand is a (patiala) peg and cheers to Mr. Khushwant Singh's life and profound depth !

Oh, the pegs, they are such loyal companion!

Shaheen Sultan Dhanji

Anonymous said...

cheers to the king of Indian literature & u b lucky to get a company of living legend...i would love to be there on your place...rather i being jealous

Anonymous said...


You are really a great Dellihite . You have given Mr. Khushwant Singhs pics on your blog I want a small help from your side . Can you give me his address or any kind of his contact detail ? I am writer and am really need to meet him .
I am leaving my e-mail id on your blog here please help me if you can , i'll be really grateful to you .
Hoping for a reply from you side .


Nilofer Samina said...

K. Singh has asked the one of his recent articles. (From Osho)
1....."The true nature is your eternal nature" = Man's soul that makes him different from animals, is eternal and every human-being possesses a soul, deep inside. This is actually his true identification, in eternal life coming ahead.
2..."You cannot have it and not have it"...= This true identification, (self), is with the person always as the special gift of God, but he is not its owner.
3...." It is not something that comes and goes-it is you"..=A man cannot go away from himself, physically or mentally or spiritually. (like any other companion in life), As it is the ultimate "me or you or he." who cannot be the atom.
But it has the capacity to remain as it is, yet rise or spread or enlighten itself in character of a person. (poet Iqbal has lot to say about this.).
4...="How can it come and go ?It is your being."=..Once the character is formed, it makes its own laws and accordingly it acts/ behaves, in normal circumstances.This moral law that always works inside a person is "his being".
5.."It is your very foundation. It cannot - be sometimes and not be sometimes; it is always there."..=It is almost immortal, but not god. a reflection that is separated from God & will remain along with him not become one with him.(even after death).
How to write to Mr. Khushwant Singh directly?