This was in 1994 or around I was working in a posh south Delhi club as a manager. I was
authorized to sit with the members for drink or company sake, if they insist. It was lunchtime
when a member introduced me to one Mr. Kalra who was owner of a deluxe restaurant in south
Delhi. He gave me his card and asked me to meet at the restaurant. By chance, I got sacked from
the club after a few days and I reached Mr.Kalra.He was an NRI from Canada. On my first visit
he told me everything about him. He came back to India after 28 years hard work in Canada.
Though his family was there only but he had a dream of doing business in India. Restaurant was
really nice. We finalized terms and I started work as a manager with him.
He took me to a tailor and got two suits stitched for me. He gave me a dozen ties, perfumes etc.
He asked me to leave scooter and use his car. I didn’t know how to drive a car. He sat with me
and said drive now .I learned very soon. In the evening he said let’s drink together, my assistant
also joined. Later on chef also joined us; this all was very new in my ten years hotel experience.
I was also alone in Delhi, so was my boss. We would drink after restaurant closing and roam on
Delhi roads. We would go to five star hotels for a beer and reach back in the morning. His flat
was on the first floor of the restaurant.
One day he called a politician to the restaurant for dinner. He was very happy that a politician
from a National party came to his restaurant. They were friends, thereafter. Through that
politician he got in touch with a dreaded criminal who started extortion of money from him.
He was never happy after that. On weekend all sales were going to that criminal. Families
stopped coming to the restaurant and the sales dropped drastically.
He sold that restaurant to a Delhi based hotelier. Maximum payments were received in black and
politician and criminal grabbed their share and Mr.Kalra decided to go back to Canada with
whatever he was left with. We (staff) all were unemployed again.
I still remember him always. He was very simple. He would always speak truth. He was from a
different country where system is not like India. He wanted to stay in India. He was very fond of
drink, food and enjoyment. He never complained about anyone. Everyone, whosoever, got in
touch with him would think that he is a fool but he was not. He was trying to get a life he had
spent some three decades back. Rest everything had no meaning for him.
While going from India he said to me, I love my India.