Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod : Rahul Singh. It did not shock eminent writer and journalist Khushwant Singh when one day a postcard bearing the address, ‘Khushwant Singh, Bastard, India’ landed at his door,” recalls his son, Rahul Singh, Director of the Khushwant Singh Literature Festival, which started here with usual fanfare on Friday. There was always a subtle sense of humour in him as he always enjoyed creating a myth about himself. Much against the popular perception of being a womaniser and heavy boozer, Rahul says, his father was a far too conservative man. Rahul recalled how as a teenager he received a heavy dressing down from his father once when he carried on late into the night partying with friends. His mother, he said, was a very strong lady who would never put up with any nonsense and kept a close watch on the family.
Khushwant Singh was quite a stickler to time and his punctuality would often put many people in discomfort. Rahul recalled how team of the BBC, which wanted to interview his father, could not make it as it was late by half an hour. “Not welcome” was the note delivered to the team.He would make it a point to retire for the day by 8.30 pm after a drink and dinner. There would never be a compromise on it in any condition. Rahul recalled how his father, once, abruptly walked out of the gathering at his place in which former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was present as soon as the clock struck 8.30 in the evening. While Khushwant Singh was proud of being a Sikh, he was never a ritualistic or traditional practitioner of the religion. He would often had a pun on it saying: “I believe work is worship, but worshiping is no work.”Deeply upset over the Operation Bluestar Khushwant Singh made no bones about it and returned the Padma Bhushan that was bestowed on him a few years ago. Later, though he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2005. Khushwant Singh, who passed away as soon as he turned 99 in 2013, was quite worried about growing intolerance in the country, said Rahul. “And so characteristically he penned down his epitaph days before breathing his last.I would like to be remembered as someone who made people smile,” he said. ” A few years ago, I wrote my own epitaph: Here lies one who spared neither man nor God; Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod; Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun; Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.”
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook