Selfie celeb at labour of love book launch

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD -

MY BUDDY AJ has a habit of teas­ing wait­resses. I don’t mean in a lewd way. Even if he en­ter­tained the thought, his mis­sus would give him a klap.

His habit is to re­quest a fin­ger bowl and pro­ceed to add salt, pep­per, chilli sauce and what­ever other condi­ments might be avail­able on the table.

He would then tuck a nap­kin into the front of his shirt and slowly reach for a soup spoon. The first time he did this was on a for­eign trip where lit­tle English was spo­ken.

The hor­ri­fied wait­ress lunged at him with fu­ri­ous sign lan­guage. His ever-so-gen­teel din­ner com­pan­ion, Sand­man, tried to help by whip­ping out his cell­phone to record ev­ery wicked frame.

Now, thanks to so­cial me­dia, AJ is the first cit­i­zen of my beloved Bangladesh mar­ket dis­trict to have gone vi­ral.

When he ar­rived at Vin’s

50th last week, peo­ple for­got the birth­day boy and wanted self­ies with our celeb.

True to Chatsworth form, he popped in and out us­ing the peren­nial ex­cuse: “I’ve got an­other func­tion to go to.”

He wasn’t fib­bing. It was the launch of au­thor four­some Ram, Now­bath, Gounden and Ram­lochan’s 256 page labour of love, Ash­erville-spring­town Peo­ple and Place, at the David Lan­dau Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

At R200 a pop, the beau­ti­fully bound and lav­ishly il­lus­trated hard­back is a steal.

They man­aged to keep the price that low, thanks to var­i­ous spon­sors, in­clud­ing a shy but gen­er­ous lo­cal prop­erty de­vel­oper who also had a birth­day last week.

An­other spon­sor was a lo­cal doc­tor and sea­soned po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist who did the hon­ours as the guest speaker. He laid into our politi­cians for their reck­less foibles. The less said about that the bet­ter, as there is a book in him that’s wait­ing to be writ­ten.

These kinds of valu­able com­mu­nity his­to­ries can only be told with the sup­port of bene­fac­tors. Much of the funds came via free­dom Strug­gle vet­eran, 89-year-old Swami­nathan Gounden’s po­lite man­ner of knock­ing on doors.

It would be most en­cour­ag­ing if more peo­ple stepped up to fund re­search projects that bring to light the tri­als and tri­umphs of or­di­nary com­mu­ni­ties.

If you are lucky enough to lay your hands on Ash­erville­spring­town, linger over the en­try about the coura­geous sports ac­tivist Mor­gan Naidoo who was pres­i­dent of Sa­cos at the height of apartheid.

Pause to pon­der the so­cial wel­fare work of Dr Pramda Ra­masar, 89, and the le­gions of other com­mu­nity-spir­ited in­di­vid­u­als.

There is also a pic­ture en­try that salutes Pro­fes­sor Kr­ishna Somers’s gift to the Clayton Gar­dens Home for the Aged. He must be climb­ing to­wards his 100th birth­day.

The pic­ture of Cen­te­nary High Girls Choir of 1971, re­plete in pig­tails and boaters, will get a smile out of the ladies.

I was pleased to see leg­endary soc­cerites the late Mani­raj Singh and Su­per Naidoo get a men­tion.

Find Hig­gins on Face­book as The Book­seller of Bangladesh and at Books@an­tique­cafe in Win­der­mere.

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