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Some Memories..
Prakash Tendulkar


My best friend, M/man Brij Mohan Khanna a.k.a. B.M. Khanna was a young man when I met him first in 1970. Although Punjabi by heritage, he hailed from U.P.

Being a young man with good salary, he fell in love with a Marwari girl working at Apna Bazar. The woman was good looking and very nice in nature. A perfect, caring match for my buddy.

Like Hindi movies, there was a villain in this story, the girl's dad. He was against the marriage. Considering the cost of getting Marwari girl married in those days, such a free-bee would be god-sent to any father.

This woman rode in Khanna's cab many time from CCG to DDR. Since she lived at Lower Parel, my job was to escort her from Dadar to Lower Parel so that she does not get caught by a zealous TC.

Eventually, they decided to get married. Due to strong opposition from girl's father, civil marriage was the only option and M/man Kulkarni (later CLI, BCT) who lived at Manikpur, Vasai at that time, agreed to become a host.

On the wedding day, the bride met Khanna at Lower Parel station. Her Dad thought that she was leaving for work.

Virar bound fast locals did not stop at Lower Parel which had only one island platform. TNL (Traction Controller) had agreed to divert VR fast on down slow track from BCT.

M/man of this rake picked Khanna and his bride by stopping at the CCG end of the platform. A DI was in the cab to ensure things move smoothly as planned.

Khanna was conferred with an honor to drive the train with his would be bride sitting on M/man's seat. For those who love purity, I must confess, it was a fragrant violation of Railway rules to:

1) allow unauthorized person in cab and

2) to allow anyone but M/man driving the train to occupy M/man's seat. 

Who cares for such rules when it came to wedding in Railway man's family?

Marriages were community affairs for Railway folks those days, a tradition drawn from East Indian and Anglo Indian folks. Why else would M/man Kulkarni become a host for such wedding?

At Vasai, friends were waiting for the would be couple to arrive. They were driven to Mamalatdar office for wedding. Asstt. Mamalatdar or Bhausaheb was nervous to see Kulkarni as lead witness because he did not know him. He knew for sure, many civil marriages end up in court battles.

He asked, "Is there any gentleman who can be a lead witness?"

We all burst into laughter and said, "Koolie, even this guy knows that you are a M/man and not a gentleman".

Lunch was prepared by wives of Khanna's colleagues, it was a great and memorable day for all of us.

The villain had no choice but to pluck his hair.

After I left India, my contact with Khanna was limited to my visits to India. Eventually, he picked up the habit for drinks and mingled with wrong crowd.

He ended up in overshooting BCT platform #1 one more time and this time he was drunk. I do not know the exact sequence of events but he opted for VRS, settled at Nala Sopara, committed suicide because he could not bear pain from throat cancer caused by his tobacco chewing habit.

This time, the deadly thud was heard by another M/man friend of mine.

Nevertheless, I considered Brij Mohan as my friend from the beginning and I stick to that notion. May his soul rest in peace.