Not On Assignment

A journo's jottings under no deadline pressure (since Jan 1, 2010)

Connecting again with Keshto da

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In his very first job, RB’s journalism guru, C Y ‘Gopi’ Gopinath, had thrown him into the sea, well, figuratively speaking.
He was a boss who believed that you learned to swim best in testy waters. Hence my two-month long assignment barely six months after I had started working: collecting information about mountaineering from Calcutta, Darjeeling, Uttarkashi and New Delhi. I was only 19 then, had never been out of my house on my own and didn’t know a single soul in all these places.
Gopi had picked up the rudiments of journalism at JS magazine, an institution in Indian magazine journalism in Calcutta. He asked me to touch base with Krishna Kamal De in that city. I found Keshto Da, as he was better known, to be friendly, a great raconteur and very helpful.
An active mountaineer and trekker, Keshto Da put me in touch with people who provided me invaluable information. And when I was not ‘working’ he showed me around his city. Before I knew it, I had found a good friend in the eastern part of the country.
A few years later, I reciprocated by playing host when he had come to Bombay to make a presentation on mountaineering before employees of the BEST Undertaking.
RB is now wearing two hats – Deputy Editor of a lifestyle magazine and Editor of an inflight magazine. One of my regular writing contributors to the latter is MG, who now also runs her own travel agency and till recently was a serious mountaineer.
One day I casually asked her on G-Talk: “Have you by any chance heard of Krishna Kamal De? His friends call him Keshto da.”
“Heard of him?” she typed back. “He was my teacher in my basic mountaineering course.”
To cut a long story short, MG told Keshto Da about me, gave me his cell no and I called him a week later.
“Rajooooo,” Keshto Da’s voice boomed through whatever it is that carries our voices across kilometres. “Don’t go away!”
I held on to my phone. After some time, the line got disconnected.
When I re-connected, he again said quickly, “Raju, don’t go away, wait for me,” before the line got disconnected again.
Puzzled, I called him a third time.
It was only then that matters became clear.
“Oh, you are in Bombay? I thought you were in Cal and I was rushing to my bank’s reception area to receive you!” said Keshto Da.
We had a merry laugh and spoke for the next 15 minutes.
We updated each other on our lives, exchanged e-mail IDs, promised to visit each other and remain in touch.
And we have been in touch ever since.


Written by Raju Bist

August 3, 2010 at 10:45 pm

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