Getting the famous t-shirt — at last

Finally I became tired. I said to myself, “They are supposed to be honouring me, but this is just another joke. All right, Milka Singh was kind to me, but still I have not got my T-shirt. If I go to him again, he will just ask me to sit.”

I was not angry; in fact, I was pleased. And I knew that if I went to Milka Singh, he would still honour me. But my fever was very high. So I left my friends from Singapore and secretly started going away.

I was almost at the last exit when whom did I see? Jogendra! He was the one who had been so kind to me and introduced me to the manager, Ghuli. He asked me, “Are you going away?”

I said, “Yes, I am tired.”

He said, “Let me take you to Ghuli. This time he will give you the T-shirt.”

I said, “No, I do not wish to speak to Ghuli. I would like to see Milka Singh again, but he is busy.”

He said, “Milka Singh? I don’t deal with him. You have to see Ghuli.”

I said, “I don’t want to see Ghuli.”

This Sardar-ji had been there in the room when Milka Singh said he would honour me. So he reminded me, “Milka Singh has not yet honoured you.”

I said, “I have a high fever. I would like to go home.”

But Jogendra just took my arm and brought me back to Milka Singh. Milka Singh sat me down. This time I did not say anything about the T-shirt. I only said, “I am sick.”

Milka Singh told me, “You have to stay. In five minutes we shall honour you.”

Just then Milka Singh’s secretary came to me with a T-shirt and placed it on my lap, very gently, and smiled at me.

I thanked him profusely.

So the famous T-shirt story finally ended.

If I hadn’t been so persistent in my T-shirt quest, I wouldn’t have met Milka Singh.

— 31 March 1983