Bheem Singh was more of a phenomenon than a house help. Those were the days when Pahadi(hills) boys forimagesmed an integral part of every household in Delhi. Just as the Gurkhas were known for their valour and loyalty, Pahadi boys were known for their adaptability and honesty. But unlike the previous generation, the present one was smart and literate.

Bheem Singh was a mere lad of 15 when he came from the hills and found employment with Bhallas. By the time he was 25, he had become literally an all-rounder! He had learnt to cook the food in the Punjabi way and serve his employers the way they liked. He would not only wash the car and keep it shining, he would also drive the old couple around the city. He could be trusted to pay the car insurance, property tax, Electricity, Water and telephone bills in addition to other bank jobs. He would keep a strict watch on the household staff by handling all the keys himself. His personal attention to Bhallas was remarkable. He would never ever forget to serve coffee/lassi/nimboo pani at 10 in the morning and a glass of hot milk in the night. With their sons staying abroad, Bhallas used to wonder how they would have ever managed if not for the God-sent Bheem Singh, more so as days passed, they had found themselves more and more tired which they attributed to their fast approaching old age (Both were in their 60s).

This legendary Man Friday of theirs was indeed the envy of their friends. Still a bachelor, his only outings used to be a week- end movie with his cousin who worked in a 5 star hotel, apart from the annual two week visit to his native place.

Once Bheem Singh had gone on his yearly holiday to his village- a little longer this time as he was getting married. Mrs Bhalla had to attend to everything at home. Though she had her maid to assist her, she missed the morning and night drink which Bheem Singh used to serve them without fail. But surprisingly, the house work seemed to energise her than tire her. Even Mr Bhalla had brightened up considerably. He was showing interest and enthusiasm in all his activities.

One day  before Bheem Singh was to return, Mr. Bhalla decided to go through his house papers to calculate the new property tax that was about to be brought in. When he put on his specs and opened the file, he found all his papers missing. He contacted the City Corporation office but was told that the house had been made over to one Mr. Bheem Singh! Alarmed, Mrs Bhalla checked her jewellery boxes. Sure enough, she found most of the pieces missing along with all the expensive sarees and dresses.

Totally at a loss, they rang up their nephew who stayed in another part of the city. The smart and efficient young man and took charge of the situation and lodged a complaint with the police who posted 24 hour security around Bhalla’s house.

When Bheem Singh returned, he was surprised to see a sentry in front of the house who would not let him go in. Even as he was arguing with the guard, a police jeep stopped in front of the house. An inspector got down with two constables. They hand cuffed Bheem Singh and took him to the police station. On employing the usual police methods, Bhim Singh confessed. He took them to his cousin’s room in the hotel  where not only all the valuables taken from Bhallas were found, (including the house papers) but all the cutlery, crockery, linen and other items, stolen by his cousin from the hotel were found secreted in a steel trunk under the bed!

PS- Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.

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  1. Nuggehalli Pankaja says:

    Is this really a true incident? If so, I am glad you wrote this,for it will act as a warning to all esp the old who begin to depend upon servants.

  2. Yes, Pankaja. This is a true incident. This is the one I was referring to and was waiting to send for some short story anthology, when I read a similar article of yours about a manipulatory watchman in DH.

    • Obviously because that’s where he belonged! He wasn’t aware of the police being in the know of things. Probably he thought he could continue the game and provide for his new wife.

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