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Air Taxi In Sudan

Air Taxi In Sudan

Kersi Gandhi ExCampionite class of '59

I traverse back in Time, to when I was employed by Air Taxi, in the Democratic Republic of the Sudan, with my Home in Khartoum.
Flying to the South of Sudan, was a truly enriching experience. Places like Malakal, Bor, Pibor, Juba, Yei, Yambio and Wau, captivate my mind, with fond memories of over three decades ago.
What a wonder of creation, is the mind? I close my eyes and can still picture all of these places in an instant, as if I was there, just yesterday.
And most of all, The White Nile.
It flows past Juba and Bor into The Sud and then onto Malakal. From Malakal past Kosti, Ed Dueim and onto Khartoum. At Khartoum, The Blue Nile, which originates from Lake Tana, in the Highlands of Ethiopia, and The White Nile which originates from Lake Victoria in Uganda, merge, like the Trunk of an Elephant, and become one, as The River Nile. The River Nile ends it's long and arduous journey, in Egypt. This river in particular is a lifeline and boon for quite a few countries.
In the Sud, which is an almighty swamp, there lies a place, Shambe. In the good old days, the Flying Boats, of Imperial Airways, originating from The United Kingdom, used to land at Shambe for refuelling and then onto their onward journey.
The South of Sudan was abundant in all manner of wild life, especially The Elephant. The Elephants out there were truly huge and a formidable sight to behold.
And then you had the local populace, The Dinkas.
The Dinkas, were tall and lean in stature, and wore no manner of clothing, whatsoever. This sartorial splendour and mannerism was similar for both sexes of the populace. The Males of the tribe were armed with a Spear, accompanied by the traditional War club. The metal part of the spear also substituted as a knife. There traditional dance was jumping up and down all night long, after consumption of the local blended spirits, which did not originate, from Scotland.
By this heady mixture of drink, dance and the weed, which grew wild in the South, in abundance, the males of the tribe had their you know whats, upto their knees, and the womenfolk had their breasts upto their stomachs.
Their wealth was embodied in the amount of Cattle, they owned.
Whilst I was at Bor, I approached a local Dinka gentleman, and with the use of sign language, purchased his War Club for Ten Sudanese Pounds. On handing him the note he was mystified that what sort of money was this piece of paper. I somehow convinced him that it was money indeed, and we parted company on a deal well materialised.
As of today, the South of Sudan has become a separate Country, SOUTH SUDAN, with its Capital, being JUBA.
I still have that precious War Club in my possession, and it adorns the the top of my Cupboard, all set to engage in battle, at the appropriate time.
I had to utilise its services on only one singular occasion, upto date. And this is the story which I desire to narrate, of its usage, as requested by a young Parsi Lady, who now resides in Western Australia.
A friend of mine, The Late Raza Nanji, had come to visit me at home. I took him over to the Pavilion Canteen for some Tea and Sandwiches, as he was slightly pecky. How does one describe a departed soul. He was full of bonhomie, laughter and joie de vivre. He was a Muslim but spoke Gujrati extremely well, and most of all, a smile always adorned his handsome face. In other words a truly good human being, or God's Good Man.
Whilst he was having his sandwich in the Canteen of the Pavilion, he happened to glance at two very elderly Parsi Gentlemen, playing cards. He questioned me as to what card game they were playing. I informed him that it was Rummy and the stakes were one naya paisa, a point. He said let's go and join them and make their day by losing to them. I asked of the two players if we could join in, and they retorted that we were most welcome. I promptly asked The Man Friday of The Pavilion, Dasrath, to bring the guest book and paid the guest fees, for Raza.
The game commences and Raza is giving them a full count every time. The elderly gentlemen are truly happy at the amount of their winnings. Raza is in his elements and banters away in Gujrati with the two elderly players, offering them Tea and Sandwiches too. Everything is going so very well, and all of a sudden, The Hony. Secretary of the Cusrow Baug United Sports and Welfare League, Mr. Khushru Mistry, approaches our card table. This is what he says, verbatim. ' Kersi, don't you know that Muslims are not permitted out here.' This was said loudly in front of Raza. I take Mr. Mistry aside and explained to him that the guest fees have been paid and hence he is entitled to play. Furthermore, if he had taken me aside and informed me, I would have taken Raza away, at the earliest. But, to insult my guest in front of the entire gathering was most uncalled for. Furthermore, if Raza would take it upon himself to complain to the Police, he would be in deep trouble.
After a while, on my profusely apologising to Raza for this uncalled for behavior, we departed. All Raza did was laugh out aloud. I truly thought the incident had reached its logical end.
But, surprise, surprise. The very next morning I receive an official correspondence from the Hony. Secretary, Mr. Khushru Mistry, delivered to me at my residence, which I had to acknowledge receipt of, by affixing my signature, on the duplicate of the same. The contents of the letter stated that I had to tender an apology in writing for my ungentlemanly conduct of yesterday, at the pavilion. I was absolutely livid. Here was a person that I could have placed in a lot of trouble for his uncalled for actions, but, instead of forgetting the episode, was covering up his position, for his atrocious behavior. I instantly realised that Mr. Khushru Mistry was the lowest of the low and an extremely vindictive human being. Furthermore, he was not appropriate for the office that he occupied.
He had to be taught a lesson.
That evening I went to the Pavilion, armed with my Sudanese War Club, in the inside of my shirt, at the rear. As soon as the Committee Members went into the Office, I entered behind them and locked the door. The Committee Members present were, Dr. Dinyar Gamadia, The President, Mr. Khushru Mistry, The Hony. Secretary, who was seated at the office typewriter and Mr. Hosi Mody, a Committee Member. I cannot recall who else was there. I explained to The President, in detail, the occurrence of the incident of yesterday. It was evident that they had not been informed and Mr. Mistry had taken it upon himself to write me a letter. I then approached Mr. Khushru Mistry and withdrew the Sudanese War Club. I asked Mr. Mistry if he had written my letter on the typewriter in front of him. When he replied in the affirmative, the Sudanese War Club descended upon the Godrej Typewriter with all my might. Parts of the typewriter descended upon Mr. Mistry and he was shivering in mortal fear. I asked him if he desired a sampling of the War Club upon his head. He shook his head and was in tears. I then asked him to produce the duplicate of my letter, which I had signed for, and tear it into shreds. He complied to my request. I then raised the War Club to smash the brains out of this despicable human being. The President, Dr. Gambia came to his rescue. I elbowed him in the chest and The President fell on the sofa, uttering, 'OH MAI, OH MAI.' This when translated means, OH MOTHER, OH MOTHER. I cannot recall what happened next. But I lashed out at somebody and with the impact of my blow, my watch flew off my hand and fell at the feet of Hosi Mody, who was sitting in one corner of the room. I then informed Mr. Khushru Mistry that he should tender his resignation, from the August post that he held, post haste. As I was leaving, an on unlocking the door, I distinctly smelt a sampling of urine.
The Honorary Secretary, Mr. Khushru Mistry, had pissed in his pants.
Needless to mention, that Mr. Khushru Mistry tendered his resignation, immediately upon my departure.
A few days later Hosi Mody approached me with the remnants of what was my watch, previously. I informed him that I didn't need it.
The Epilogue to this narrative.
In time I occupied the chair of The Honorary Secretary. Dr, Dinyar Gamadia was still The President. One evening, he caught me in an extremely good mood. He then produced a bill from Godrej, towards repair of the typewriter, which I had destroyed. I willingly paid up the sum of Rupees Three Thousand Five Hundred Only, with a smile.