Navin Kumar, IAS, Maharashtra
An Evening with Talat Mahmood
When we were at the Academy, you would recall, Talat Mahmood was invited to give us his songs one evening. He had come only for one hour. We were all very excited and were in the hall at 9.30 pm for the programme. He came on the dot and sad down on a low state with his harmonium and a glass of whisky next to the harmonium. While he was being welcomed and introduced, he was helping himself gently with the whisky glass. Probably that enabled his soul to wake up. He started with his first song “Tasveer Teri Dil Mera Behla Na Sakegi”. He told us that he always began his programmes with this non film song to establish his identity. The audience was in raptures as song after song came from him and as he kept on sipping at his whisky. We were and probably he too was so much lost in the waves of music that none realized how time passed. There were requests and he was not refusing due to the genuine appreciation from the audience. The programme went on till 1 am in the morning.
A few days back I paid a personal tribute to Talat Mahmood by singing his most loved song. You may hear it through the video below by clicking on it:
The After-Dinner Joke of the Director after a Formal Dinner
Everyone would remember the formal dinners which we had at the Academy two or three time during our entire stay. Boys used to be dressed in Band Gala suits. The girls had considerable flexibility in this regard but I feel mostly they were attired in gorgeous saris. On the arrival of the director Mr. Sathe ICS all would rise and after the usual remarks from the Joint Director Mr. T N Chaturvedi and a brief address by the Director there would be the Toast to the President whereby each of us would lift a small glass half filled with water and say in unison “To The President”
The eating part would then start. The main difference from the usual dinner would be that now everything would be served by the waiters who would come from behind, in the usual sequence- the drinks, the soup, the starters, then the main courses and finally the sweet dish.
The most important part of the Formal Dinner would be the AFTER-DINNER JOKE from the Director Mr. Sathe. This joke would without fail be from some English Context and it would be considered bad manners if one did not laugh when the joke ended. For most of us the voice of the Director would not be properly audible. And definitely for half of us even if the voice was audible it would not be clear what the joke was. Mr. Kohli or Dy Director and his colleagues would come to our rescue for such occasions. Mr. Kohli and his team would stand at vantage points to guide us when to laugh by raising their hands. The higher the hands the louder should be the laughter. This ensured a dignified and well calibrated laughter from the entire assembly.
This fact that our laughter is being guided by faculty members was known right up to the Joint Director. One does not know if even Mr. Sathe knew about it.
Mouth Organ and Me
While at the academy we had two or three cultural programmes where the items were presented by probationers. In one such programme I had played a film song on the mouth organ. I feel happy that I am still able to play a little bit on the mouthorgan. You may please see by clicking the link below the same song played by me now:
Riding Classes at Academy
One of the best things that happen to all of us at the Academy is the training in horse riding. How can one forget Nawal Singh. And his command “MAKE MUCH OF YOUR HORSES”. When our riding classes began one thought that one would start by a striding on the horse and start the trot. But we were in for a surprise when Nawal Singh told us that the preliminaries are most essential and we had to spend about 10 turns learning how to put saddle on the horse, how to hold the reins and walk the horse, how to befriend the horse by patting it, how to pass under the belly of the horse to the other side and how not to place yourself behind the horse to get an unexpected kick. I also remember the names of the two horses i.e. Tou, and Rajni.
In the year 1997, when I was working as Joint Secretary in the Department of Food in Krishi Bhavan Mr. Naval Singh had come to meet me for some work in that department. He had retired but was in very good health and we briefly reminisced over tea and snacks about the days at Academy.