In The Evening of Life
By P K Niyogi
The author meets his erstwhile pal Sarojda at Charring
Cross station. Sarojda migrated from India to the U.K. in
the sixties with a few pounds in his pocket. His was a rag
to riches story. He studied hard, passed examinations and
earned money through hard work. In the evening of his life
he concentrated on social work for the Prince’s Trust.
Sarojda raises money for the trust by various means like
organizing polo tournaments in which even Prince Charles
Sarojda guides the author through the archaic building of
the National Liberal Club and its main hall where a huge
portrait of William Gladstone, four time prime minister of
Great Britain is displayed.
Sarojda is a thorough gentleman, conversant with the social
ethos of London society in general and of its Bengali
community in particular. The author is all praise for
Sarojda whose only connection with him was that both worked
at Burnpur and were roommates. How he elevated himself to
such a position in a foreign country surprised the author.
A clue as to what differentiates the two of them comes when
Sarojda tells him a story about the Spaniard (waiter). The
story goes like this.
Sarojda left his bag by mistake in the dining hall one
evening. The waiter picked it up and kept it in safe
custody. Sarojda came running back to the dining hall from
the street. The waiter handed over the bag to him along
with an anecdote. The waiter’s mother used to say that if
one cannot use his head he has to use his legs.
The author took leave of Sarojda and was on his way back to
his son’s flat in another locality by a city bus. While
travelling by the bus the author kept on wondering whether
the theory of the waiter’s mother was applicable to him as
well. Was he left behind because he did not use his head?
He was not sure.