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Monday, April 16, 2018

Hello Ducky!

 Niloufer Patkar
 “There’s someone at the gate who’s come to wish you for Christmas, Saheb,” said the bearer.  
“All right, send him in,” said my father.  
The man walked towards the verandah with a small basket of fruits in his hands, a floppy cloth bag slung over his shoulder and a wide smile on his face.  Dad recognized him to be a small business contractor; someone he had given a contract to, which he had done well.
“Saheb, thank you so much for giving me the contract.  It has helped my business grow tremendously!  Merry Christmas, Saheb!”  he said, handing over the basket of fruit to my father.
It was customary for rich business contractors to bring gifts for the manager of the garden during Christmas, as a token of their gratitude for the contracts they had been given over the year.  These gifts were usually large baskets of fruits, some chocolates for the baba-logs, and heavily iced Christmas cakes.  (It was a known fact that some ‘gifts’ were offered in envelopes, but Dad would have none of that!)  He accepted the fruit and other eatables, as refusing them would have been considered insulting to the giver.  During the Christmas and New Year season, the pantry area would resemble a fruit market.  Some of the fruit and cakes were distributed among the domestic staff.  The rest would be eaten by us or converted into jams, jellies and marmalades by Mum, which would last for the year ahead. (Mum’s orange marmalade won many prizes when exhibited in the Home Produce section of the Flower Shows held in the clubs.)
“Thank you and Merry Christmas to you too!” said Dad, accepting the basket of fruit.  The man hesitated and then delved into the bag and pulled out a couple of ducks.  “For you, Saheb! I am sorry I could not get you anything else. Please accept this small gift from me.”
“Really, there’s no need for this,” said Dad, refusing as politely as he could, not wanting to hurt the man’s feelings.  The man persisted with his offering and refused to go until Dad relented and struck a deal with him.  “I will keep one of the ducks on condition that you take back the other and enjoy a good Christmas meal with the family,” said Dad.  The man finally agreed, handed over one of the ducks, put the other back into his bag and left.
Thankfully, the duck never made it to our dinner table as he was promptly named, and no animal with a name was allowed to be served at the table.
And that’s how Ducky came to live a long and happy life in the Kakajan Burra Bungalow! 


  1. Very enjoyable 'non vegetarian' tale. Wish your Dad had kept both ducks! Ducky's companion was patently unlucky!
    Oops! Don't we know each other?? The surname threw me off your scent for a bit!

    1. That unknown is Roma Circar, by the way. Don't know why my name isn't showing up.

    2. Yes Roma, we do. My maiden name was Tankariwala.

  2. Perfect commentary on one of the aspects of Christmas on a Chai Bagan!

  3. Dhiraj Kumar BarmanApril 17, 2018 at 12:58 PM

    The old tradition of Contractors coming to 'salam' Burra Saab during Christmas is no more in vogue.

    The story is well written .... enjoyed...

  4. Nice 👍 Regarding one of the comments that contractors no longer come to wish at Christmas, why is that?

  5. Wow great to see you here Nilufer this is Shalini aunty, we were neighbours Nahartoli and Nudwa . Enjoyed reading your story that revived many memories. lots love God Bless

  6. Reminds me of receiving a rooster one Christmas from a Garden Contractor who handed it over to the bearer as he was too scared to face me with his gift. That is now Big Bob came to our life and lived with us till I retired. A magnificent bird with a unique "cock-a-doodle-doo" call that sounded like a man with a sore throat!!! He had magnificent plumage and when we came away brought it home with us and gave him away to a young villager who kept him till he passed away. We had kept him well over 10 years. He lived hardly a year after that.

  7. Five years in Kakajan, & how come I never got to hear this tale.
    Great story Niloufer.
    Stay Blessed

  8. Five years in Kakajan with Mr NF Tankariwala, & never got to hear this lovely story.
    Stay Blessed Niloufer

  9. Lovely story - Ducky in the Daali - weren't these festival gift baskets called Daalis? Btw, Raju is a childhood friend of mine!!


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