A   Reminiscence

There were two interesting incidents in my association with the Milanee, which I may with your indulgence recount here.Milanee was staging a Bengali satirical skit, called “Chikitsa Sankat” organised by Mr. Bhabataran Chakravarti (brother of the late Dr. Shantiram Chakravarti our first President) and Mr. G. Mukherjee.

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In that skit the part of the Jessore-hailing kaviraj was offered to Mr. Birendra Nath Chakravarty but he could not be prevailed upon to accept it. Another man was selected for this part, but in the daily rehearsal under the tutelage of Bhabataran-da, Biren-da used to sit in a corner on the stage, attentively listening to the kaviraj’s part being rehearsed.

And lo! on the night before the actual performance, Biren-da said he would take and do this part. He did it that night and the next night, and did it very successfully tothe delight and wonderment of all his friends and colleagues.

The part of the allopathic doctor was offered to the undersigned. I told Bhabataran-da, “Look dada, during my college days I was given the part of a messenger boy whose only job was to announce, “Sir, the queen has swooned”. When the time came and I appeared on the stage with tottering knees, lyelped, “Sir, the sween has quooned !” The audience roared. Confounded, I made another try. “Sir, the swoon has queened !” The audience yelled. Before i could finish my third try, “Sir, the quoon has sweened !” the stage manager rushed in, caught me by the collar and dragged me out. Now, Bhabataran-da, with that background of histrionic talent, do you still want me to do that part?”

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He laughed till his side ached. But he insisted that I should nevertheless. Well there was nothing more to it than to buy a good suit to pass muster as a make-believe doctor, but fortunately not a stethoscope, for Bhabataran-da supplied it.

l took a precaution least I should miserably flop. I wrote out in bold characters my full part and quietly let the paper lie on the table in front of me. This the audience in the hall could not see. I told the prompter not to bother for me. Glibly acting my part I kept furtively looking at that sheet of paper and sailed through reasonably well. Dr. H. K. Mitra who was in the audience told me after the show, “Mr. Som, you looked every inch a doctor!” “Thank you, Sir”, I said.

Mr. Ram Ratan Biswas was the Hony. Treasurer of Milanee for many years. He was always elected without any contest, because there was no one to replace him among the members of the Milanee. At one time he gave the undersigned who was Hony. Librarian about Rs. 200 sanctioned by the Executive Committee to purchase books for the Club Library. When the V. P. P. came I discharged it and rendered Mr. Biswas an itemised account of how the money was spent, supported by vouchers.

There was an unaccounted balance of two pice. (In those days 4 pice made an anna, there was no metric system). I thought Mr. Biswas ‘would not bother for such a bagatelle. A week afterwards Mr. Biswas called on me at the office and asked for the two pice balance. Of course I immediately compiled and highly appreciated the punctilionsness of our Hony. Treasurer. We never had a more efficient “Honey Treasure”.

Written by A. P. Som and published in the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1974.