Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gandhi and the Maharani of Jaipur

Aboard my training ship Dufferin in Bombay (now Mumbai) many years ago, there was a tall and handsome Punjabi senior cadet by the name of Gandhi*, a not altogether a common surname in India then. One day, I saw him trying to chat up a very pretty girl at some shore function. He must have told her his name and she obviously did not believe him, so on seeing me, he called me over and the conversation went on something like this:

Gandhi: " Yusof, can you please tell this pretty lady what my name is?"

Me (to Pretty Girl): "His name is Gandhi. Honest!"

Pretty Girl: "Are you sure?"

Gandhi (becoming agitated): "Look, why would he lie to you? He's not even an Indian, he's Malaysian!"

Pretty Girl (looking at me suspiciously):"You don't look like a Malaysian to me."

(Like she was an expert on what we Malaysians look like).

Her Mama musta done tole her not to trust dem sailors...

Anyway, when he told her his name earlier, I bet she must have told him off so:

"Oh yeah? Ach..cha. If you are Gandhi, then I must be the Maharani of Jaipur!"

*I met Gandhi again some years later in Yokohama when he was a chief officer on one of the early MISC vessels. He is now retired and lives in Melbourne, Australia but now calls himself Dick Gandy. I wonder why.

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