Khushwant’s iconic mobile
Khushwant Singh, the Punjab Ratan, and the Grand old man of Literature, does not use either a computer or a mobile phone. He says he has passed by the st‘age’ of computers. But imagine if he owned a cell phone, what all would it mean! Having personally known the man since the days I worked with his late friend Ka Naa Subramanyam in early eighties, I can make a guess. And so can anyone else, I suppose.
Well, Khushwant’s mobile would have Jeenat Amaan’s near-nude image as screen saver. Yes, the one he used on the front page of The Hindustan Times immediately after he took over as its editor. Did you say Sania Mirza? Or Rakhi Sawant or Caterina Kaif or Vidya Balan !. Well, it could be so for the man has all his life been ‘skirting’ around tennis courts and indulging in what they say ‘kiss n tell’.
With the regimen that Khushwant follows, till date, one could not be sure of reaching out to him but only after finding his convenience. Even a proclamation near his doorbell says, “Don’t press the button unless you are expected” You would otherwise catch him when the mobile wouldn’t be in the ‘booze-mode’. Switch off the cell, he would never do it, for who knows when does someone expected to warm up the cockles of his aging heart call up!
His inbox of the received SMSs would be full of the most lewdest of the jokes received in earthy and exotic flavours, both. He would definitely not let go an opportunity to have a ‘Khushwant Singh’s SMS Portal’ launched and thus earn a hefty royalty on jokes sent to him by his fans. His forwards of the non-veg variety would always be eagerly awaited in the market for further circulation.
Reply to the messages? Well, his age (for he is 93 now) might not now permit it although he has been known all his life for writing back in his own hand and mostly using the postcards with imprints of his own name. But he could always have a willing woman by his side to help him in such backflow of communication.
Khushwant’s mobile number could be available to everyone not only in the country but the entire globe. It’s altogether a different matter if he took calls only from the high and mighty. He would surely have a dedicated line for friends from Europe, Canada etc.; particularly Pakistan.
I also wonder if he didn’t have quite a number of ring tones for the callers on his mobile. The range might have been from “Aaja aaja main hoon pyar tera” through “Dil de ke dekho ji” to “Abhi to main jawan hoon”! Forget about whatever Shobha De said about his being ‘pen..-obsessed!’
Khushwant’s mobile would always be found ‘out of range’ for Modis and Bhinderwales. He might like to talk to very few men. I can say this with some conviction since when once I asked him, how long can he tolerate men in comparison to women (whose company he still enjoys and makes no bones about it), he replied with readable honesty,“ Not more than five minutes!”
Alarm, Khushwant would never ever have used for the man has an elephantine memory. MMSs? Don’t ever tell about this ‘service’ to the Lovable Dirty Old Man.