Wrong delivery… to the Right address!
Columns, Over A Cup of Evening Tea

Wrong delivery… to the Right address!

November 13, 2022

By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD

There can be no denying that it is very good for all of us when the things we do, go right and it can naturally be very frustrating when they don’t. But sometimes, things can go wrong, in a right kind of way too, as it happened to me in the week that has just gone by. A few days ago, I considered myself very lucky when I was able to locate a rare and difficult to find book, on an online, used-book selling site. Elated at being able to procure what I was looking for over a very long time, I immediately ordered that book, which was advertised at what seemed like a surprisingly low price, considering its rarity.

Yes, it happens sometimes, and, on many occasions, I have been able to pick up some fantastic literary gems, at almost throw away prices. But let me warn you, that it happens only with books and not with other so-called valuable things, because most people know the value of most things except rare books, which is a blessing in disguise for book-lovers like me!

On many occasions, when I find that a book I am looking for, is available only on some site abroad, that does not cart its wares to India, I ask my daughter Sarah, who is particularly good at such jobs, to step in and see that it is bought and delivered to any of our relatives or friends, either in the UK or the USA, whichever is more convenient. And after I’m very pleased that my purchases are safe with them, it becomes their responsibility to lug my often-heavy shopping bags for me, all the way to India.

But last month, for the first time, the responsibility of hefting my shopping bags home myself, fell on me, when my wife and I visited my nephew, Dr. Ashfaq and his wife Dr. Shugufta, and spent a few days with their family in Reading, in the UK, where they are settled. But please do not think that this will spare them the burden of bringing my purchases with them in the coming future, because by the time they come to India, sometime soon, I’m sure their bags will once again be full of my books, purchased online in the intervening period!

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Coming back to the purchase of the rare book I was talking about, I was very pleased with my find and I was waiting very expectantly for it to arrive. So much so, that I just could not resist the temptation of calling up my wife from my workplace, within less than an hour of leaving the house, each passing day, to enquire if she had received the parcel.

But to disguise my impatience I would always make it a point to ask her how she was feeling and also talk of a few other unrelated things, before broaching the subject of the expected book. She most certainly would have wondered why I was suddenly showing so much affection for her and concern for how things were at her end, especially when I would be away from the house for hardly four hours every day!

Much to my sense of slight irritation, my much-awaited book took its own sweet time in traversing the short distance between Ernakulam, where the dealer was located and Mysuru where I was waiting for it.

But four days ago, my wife, now well aware of my anxiety about my book, herself called me up, to say that my much-awaited parcel had finally arrived. Hurrying back, with a spring in my step, when I reached home and tore open the package, I was utterly dismayed to find that I had received the wrong book!

Aghast, and with an irritated countenance, I turned the book around and looked at its rear, when I found that it was a biography of the world renowned British-Indian geneticist, J.B.S. Haldane, written by Samanth Subramanian, a London-based writer, who was very familiar to me. I had read two of his other books, and I had grown to like his lively style of writing very much, although this was one of his books I had not seen or even known of. And, Haldane too was not a complete stranger to me, although genetics, his passion, was not really my cup of tea. In fact, it was one of the subjects which I found much tougher to grasp, let alone master, than the others, not only during my BSc., course but in medical college too.

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To avoid the disappointment of missing my first sought book, I quickly telephoned the bookseller to tell him about his stupid mistake and ask him to reserve it for me. That is when he almost enraged me by very apologetically telling me that it was sold out! Feeling more than a little sad, as I leafed through the pages of the book I was holding, my disappointment slowly came around a full circle and surprisingly, turned to elation once again, and I began to wonder whether this disaster of receiving the wrong book was perhaps not a piece of good luck after all.

My doubts were completely dispelled, when I could find a chapter in the book entitled ‘India’, which dealt with Haldane’s life and last days in our country, after he relinquished his citizenship and left the land of his birth in utter disillusionment and disappointment over Britain’s post-war political ideology, which did not appeal to him in the least. Although I quickly realised that this wrongly sent book too would be a very good read worth keeping, why I turned to this chapter in particular was because I was very eager to find out if it mentioned something very interesting about J.B.S. Haldane, that I have known over nearly fifty years, from the time when I was a fledgling, first-year medical student.

It is something that has to do with another great man, who was associated with Haldane, through his death, in a very strange sort of way, without meeting him at all, during his lifetime and who a full decade later, came into my life and played an unforgettable role in shaping my life into what it is now! Sounds strange, right? But you’ll read all about it next week. So please stay tuned!

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6 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Wrong delivery… to the Right address!”

  1. Bengaluru Loknath says:

    Again attention-seeking Javeed Nayeem, visiting his relatives in England, with a stop over in Mecca?
    Reading is a lousy place, full of immigrants like his relatives, who usually misuse the freedom they are given, and if they are doctors, gtry private practice illegally-as it is not encouraged for those working in the nationalised health service in Britain.
    JBS Haldane, was a Marxist, and was attracted by the socialist policies of Jawaharlal Nehru, who invited him to settle in India. Although, he professed to like Hinduism and became vegetarian, he was disillusioned with the corruption and nepotism he saw in India.
    His work in genetics and allied fields are outdated as these areas have progressed far after the Human Genome Project.
    Javeed Nayeem is daft and is clear that he simply points out the book to boast about his knowledge in genetics-yes, a UOM MD! In Indian medical colleges, he was at Gulbarga medical college on a reservation list using his backward community status as Muslim, genetics was not a subject of interest at all.
    Nayeem has to do more research if he wanted a book, despite boasting about his daughter Sarah, that is a Christian name for Heaven sake!
    All he had to do was to wander into the Charing Cross Road in London- there are a number of second hand bookshops there, and they will get you any book you want.
    It is no wonder the other author Nayeem likes is Samanth Subramanian a socialist who left the US where he studied and lived and contributes to left-leaning magazines. No wonder he likes JBS Haldane, a socialist.
    JBS Haldane was a champagne socialist-the term used for socialists who are rich and have rich tastes, but pretend to like the poor.
    Nice try, Nayeem, but your article as usual is a damp squib

  2. Jalandhara says:

    Strange interest in JBS Haldane. His research as the poster said is outdated after the Human Genome project understanding.
    JBS Haldane, did not renounce his British citizenship, but took Indian citizenship-Britain allows dual citizenships, Nehru had a circle of socialist friends, PMS Blackett , the Nobel Prize winner-cosmic ray research who was invited to come to India to suggest the advancement of science. He recommended the national laboratories, which since proved to be a waste of money. With National Aeronautical Lab to develop jet engines, India still imports Rafale jets and looking for others to import. Blackett misunderstood India. He did not know the extent of corruption and nepotism prevailing in India Hew thought like his country Britain, India promoted merit!!
    About Haldane. He was attached to the Indian Statistical Institute, but was rarely present in India. Never had serious students, never improved research in his area. Like all other experiments under Nehru, JBS Haldane was a waste of time
    So much about the interest in him!
    Easy to get any book, once some one is in England , even visiting. Plenty of second hand book shops which specialise in even out of print ancient books. The ;postal service and couriers are very efficient. One can track any parcel in their cell( mobile) phone.
    Some one visiting his relatives in Reading , England, has only got to travel some more miles in the same railway route to go to Oxford, and seek assistance in the famed Bodleian Library there, if a book is needed. Even local libraries in England have large collection of books, and they will help too. These are experienced people. Daft to use a telephone to look for books!!

  3. Nandini says:

    I cannot understand what this Nayeem is on about, except that he is a lover of rare books, went to visit his Nephew in Reading England, and his daughter Sarah, sounds like an English name is very clever in searching books, the lot of crap, to fill his column inches, and as usual talking more about his medical college education and his varied tastes!
    The SOM editor Vikram has a decision to make. Keep this self publicist who churns out nonsense week after week or replace with a smart and young female journalist who has travelled the world and hence can realte to younger Mysoreans , so that his SOM becomes relevant to younger Mysoreans.
    This SOM needs a thorough over haul of contents and style, replacing columnists like Nayeem, if this is to be relevant to is local, national and international audiences.

  4. Mann Ki Baat, Bisi Bele Baat! says:

    Hello Nandini
    This modern Pothan Joseph Javeed Nayeem ( Pothan Joseph was a legendary editor of Deccan Herald in 1960s, and wrote a short, snap and witty column : ” “Over a Cup of Tea”, unlike the long-winded nonsense that Javeed \nayeem dishes out), says the following:
    1. He has friends and relatives across the globe in the USA and UK.
    2. He visited one ofhtem in Reading, UK
    3. He is an avid reader and a collector of rare books
    4.He has a daughter who is very clever in searching
    5. He knows about JBS Haldane, who arrived to India to settle, and that he has read the works of Haldane in genetics -never mind that research is outdated!
    6. He was interested in genetics i his first year medical college-note he studied in a third rate medical college in Gulbarga
    7. He knows about Sanath Subramanian , a leftist journalist living in London, whose book has a chapter on JBS Haldane
    Note, it is all about himself. The only thing, he has not mentioned, as he usually does, is about the fairy story of JBS Haldane visiting his house to eat the samosas prepared by his wife. Unfortunately Haldane died decades ago!
    As for his column, I cannot see the SOM changing anything, unless another newspaper arrives with innovative contents. Until then the bull shit from Nayeem will continue!

  5. Mann Ki Baat, Bisi Bele Baat! says:

    Hello Nandini
    This modern Pothan Joseph Javeed Nayeem ( Pothan Joseph was a legendary editor of Deccan Herald in 1960s, and wrote a short, snap and witty column : ” “Over a Cup of Tea”, unlike the long-winded nonsense that Javeed \nayeem dishes out), says the following:
    1. He has friends and relatives across the globe in the USA and UK.
    2. He visited one ofhtem in Reading, UK
    3. He is an avid reader and a collector of rare books
    4.He has a daughter who is very clever in searching
    5. He knows about JBS Haldane, who arrived to India to settle, and that he has read the works of Haldane in genetics -never mind that research is outdated!
    6. He was interested in genetics i his first year medical college-note he studied in a third rate medical college in Gulbarga
    7. He knows about Sanath Subramanian , a leftist journalist living in London, whose book has a chapter on JBS Haldane
    Note, it is all about himself. The only thing, he has not mentioned, as he usually does, is about the fairy story of JBS Haldane visiting his house to eat the samosas prepared by his wife. Unfortunately Haldane died decades ago!
    As for his column, I cannot see the SOM changing anything, unless another newspaper arrives with innovative contents. Until then the bull shit from Nayeem will continue!

  6. Gautam says:

    Relax posters. Can’t you not guess why Javeed Nayeem spent a month in England?
    He went there for a medical check up related to his cardiac ailment,-he had angioplasty done a few years ago.
    Not an issue. But Nayeem a few weeks ago boasted Mysore has all the healthcare facilities, world class and asserted the best palce for foreigners to come and have their health check ups!
    You may say, hypocrisy! I would not disagree!

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