Brits & Indians: The Royal Difference

By Gasper Crasto…15.04.2023

Me and Mr. Richard Dunkworth, a Britisher, have been living in the same area in Kuwait - Block 12, Salmiya.
We know each other through work, but our friendship has flourished over the years 'working' it out at the local gym.
While I love to see old, fat Richard doing his cardio and forever walking on the treadmill to shed his ‘lbs’; I don’t know what he sees in me? He just likes me.
“How much do you ‘actually’ weigh?” I asked Richard once, a typical Indian way of asking questions.
“None of your business and you won’t believe it if I told you am 60 years and 220 pounds,” was his response.
I assumed Richard was half that number in kilos. Hulky, bulky, and overweight!
“My body is now a cellar of beer, that I guzzed in England,” he had his humor and often said, “Well, if glory comes after death, am not in a hurry...”
𝙏𝙃𝙀 π˜½π™π™„π™π™„π™Žπ™ƒ π™‡π™€π™‚π˜Όπ˜Ύπ™”
Ever since I came to know he was a Brit, I just couldn’t stop igniting my ‘Nation wants to know’ debates with him -- from pins to pianos, pearls to pussies, and the Premier League to Prime Ministers.
“You guys owe us much now… hmm..” I told him last time, “we are finally ruling the United Kingdom..”
“Rishi Sunak…” Richard nodded, “he certainly ticks all the boxes, already a great PM.”
Richard never supported any of my favorite football teams though, but he was passionate about a little known team called Bury FC, for which our Indian great Baichung Bhutia once played -- ek zamane pe. But they were far too below now – demoted to the English county league.
‘’Why support a team playing a farmer’s league,” I asked him, “they will never make it to the Premier League in your lifetime, unless one of our Gulf's oil-rich tycoons sees a Ronaldo in them.”
Richard just laughed it off.
We would often go sit in the neighborhood cafΓ© and hit on nonsense mumbo-jumbo talks. He drank coke or Americano, while I tried the ‘Sheikhs’ of my budget.
π™Šπ™Šπ™ƒ π™‡π˜Ό π™‡π˜Ό - 𝘼 π˜½π™π™„π™π™„π™Žπ™ƒ π™‡π˜Όπ˜Ώπ™”
“Gasper, if you could do me a favor,” Richard said one day just as I was brooding over a subject for debate.
“Tell me, what can I do for you…” I asked.
“This friend of ours, lives in Mangaf, which is a far-flung place as you know. But she is available only at the weekends. Would you mind dropping a hard disk at her home, I have some other mission going on, on Friday...”
“Why not.. ..” I was excited as ever to go see a British woman.
On the morning of the weekend, I drove to the location – and easily reached there - almost blindfolded - with Ms. Google’s help.
I went up to the apartment and rang the doorbell. It opened and for the life of me, an old lady who looked like the reincarnation of Queen Elizabeth, came out.
"Are they always born old?" I never saw many young Europeans in Kuwait except in the shopping malls.
“Thank you for the package,” said the lady and further added in her typical British accent, “wait a minute please, don’t run away…”
She stepped inside the house, shutting the door. I thought she was gone to put the lip gloss or something. She appeared again in no time and displayed a 5 KD note.
“This is for you..” she said.
I was amazed. And amused. (KD5/- is equivalent to approx.. Rs1,300/- as per the April 2023 inflation rate).
That evening at the gym, when I shared this sweet gesture of the lady with Mr. Richard, he was both sorry and shocked. He said he had only introduced me as a special courier, and not a friend.
“Hence the reason for tips I guess,” he said, “but am stunned she shelled that much of money, she is such a scroogie miser...”
π™π˜Όπ™‘π™Šπ™ π™„π™Ž π™Šπ™π™ π™ˆπ™„π˜Ώπ˜Ώπ™‡π™€ π™‰π˜Όπ™ˆπ™€
Days passed and Richard insisted that he pay back the ‘favor’– any errand, any task, favor that he or his wife could do for the Crastos.
I laughed it off. What would an Indian ask a Britisher to do? Capture India again?
I never ever imagined of troubling the old giant. I had plenty of Goan friends who would create a revolt at the snap of my fingers, or gather a ‘morcha’ at Kuwait Towers in no time.
However, one day, some unpredicted thing happened that warranted me to think if Richard could really help.
We were supposed to attend a 25th wedding anniversary of my Hyderabadi ‘Office Tea Boy’ who had kept a ‘zabardast’ party in a decent hall downtown.
I had purchased the best flower bouquet to carry as a gift which would perpetually fetch me the best cup of tea or coffee at my desk every morning.
Just as me and my wife were decked up to show-off our traditional Goan outfit at a South Indian 'dawat', and had finished taking some selfies, somebody knocked on our door.
It was our next door Keralite neighbor’s wife.
“Namukku dayavaayi brother, can we please rush my husband to the hospital, he seems to be having some chest pain,” she pleaded, “he’s suspecting a heart attack but I feel it is his usual excitement...he was a bit ‘kombulla’ last night you know?”
“Kombulla?” I asked.
“Ayyo Chhetta, never mind.. let us ‘hurry fast’...”
That’s it. I thought of Richard immediately and explained what I wanted him to do.
π™ˆπ™„π™Žπ™Žπ™„π™‰π™‚ π™‹π˜Όπ™π™π™”, π™Žπ™Š π™’π™ƒπ˜Όπ™
That evening at the gym, there was no sign of Richard. I called his number. His wife answered.
“Hope Mr. Richard is fine, I was just wondering…” I said.
“Hey Gas,” she said, “we are just returning from your friend’s party.”
“So late..?”
“Oh, what a red hot party – and such lovely people -- the ‘desi daru’ as they called it -- explosive as dynamite, the Hyderabadi biryani – that’sa spicy as hell, the music-masti, and our rickety dancing.. Oh, I am absolutely knackered...”
“Knackered? Oh, great you enjoyed some time there..” I giggled.
“Some time? They wouldn’t let us leave till we were done with the gulab-jamun – absolutely delicious though …”
“Talk to you later mate,” she said, “am at the wheel; Richie is hanging on the other seat-belt and snoring like a boar, looks like he’s been shot dead. I won’t say he is drunk, but if the cops stop us, they will think am driving off with some murdered corpse!”
I couldn’t stop giggling.
“We were the 'royal' stars of the party,” her voice was excited. “So much respect, they made us sit on the bridal thrones and did a circle around when we danced. Woosh, am still in the Nattu-nattu beat; they played it so many times. Super hit – better than the Oscar Awards show – perhaps you will see mine & Richard's British version soon..!”

:::HAPPY BIRTHDAY dearest esparansa:::
Kuwait - 15th April 2023


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