Friend, Moon & Cemetery In month’s Mind, I remember many of my friends some alive, some gone. October, I remember the harrowing time I had with my room-mate who was then a senior scientist in Baba the Atomic Research Centre. I re-post the story as a tribute to his memories with title changed. On a full moon Saturday, after late lavish dinner, while walking back to lodge via moon-lit cemetery, budding nuclear scientist Kalpathri casually commented that he had never visited a cemetery. He complained about something lodged deep in a crevice around wisdom tooth. Despite picking it for long with a safety pin, he was still at it. Fatigued I was, sleep embraced me. Next morning too, Kalpathri was found picking his teeth with safety-pin. I suggested that it could be dangerous and he should instead immediately visit a doctor. He smiled Away my suggestion thinking I was silly! Spending week end with relative of mine, Monday early morning I returned in hurry to lodge-room only to find Kalpathri was still on bed staring at the roof, his jaws locked and face turned bluish. I saw safety pin at the corner of the table, with its open end tad rusty. In the next half an hour, I managed to shift Kalpathri to a government hospital nearby. A saree clad doctor with emblematic white coat and a dangling stethoscope on hand, examined and ordered Kalpathri be admitted in ICU. Blood test results came after an hour revealing Iron-oxide contamination in blood. ICU in-charge told me that Kalpathri was critical; needs to be given every 4 hour a shot at least 6 times to bring his condition to normal and told to get atleast six ampoules of an imported rare medicine. A stocky cabby standing earshot near re caption overheard medicine name, offered to help and introduced himself as Sukveer Singh. From hospital payphone, in accented Hindi, he spoke calmly to someone. Few moments later, the stranger said a man would bring and deliver 3 ampoules with invoice to the reception in about an hour. I checked in nearby shops but to no avail. Sukveer exited giving me a telephone number for follow-up. In the meanwhile, the senior doctor advised to try multiple sources. Reputed pharmacies all over city were contacted in vain. I rang up from a payphone my friend GBS in civil aviation in Air Traffic Control (ATC). I briefed him about urgency and the requirement. He told to contact him again after an hour. I informed my boss at the plant that I was caught with a problem and might attend after few hours. A man approached the reception mentioning Kalpathri’s name showing invoice of Sahib Singh Company for 3 ampoules. I collected the invoice and the carton containing three ampoules and paid the cost. ICU Doctor’s face seemed lit up, when the carton of ampoules handed over to him. First shot administered at 11 a.m. For another three ampoules, I spoke again to my friend’s brother in law GBS. He said three ampoules already arranged and it would be brought and delivered by a Captain of Indian Airline arriving evening flight that was expected ex-Madras by 8 and I could arrange collection from Air Traffic Control office at Santacruz. I drove to the plant 12 kilometres away from air port. I was busy at the plant till 7. GBS had telexed plant office, confirming flight would be sighted (ETS) around 1945hrs. I heard of an aircraft booming over, when I reached by stairs the ATC at second floor. Behind a glass partition, I could see GBS removing his headset and a flight touchdown. After 5 minutes, I heard echo of approaching footsteps. He was a lanky pilot in immaculate white attire. GBS came out, shook like a soldier palm of the pilot and introduced me. After hand-shake, he handed over the packet. I thanked them. I offered to pay the cost but GBS said it was his contribution. It was around 9, when I drove back to almost calm hospital. Fourth shot was due around 11.30 P.M. Doctor sauntered from ICU toward me with a smiling face, told Kalpathri showing rapid progress and the shots were efficacious. I handed over to Doctor the packet of 3 ampoules. I went into ICU, had a sigh of relief. Kalpathri’s face was looking natural and he winked softly at me! Next morning I was boarding a train for New Delhi as per transfer order and moving out on promotion. Three decades later, received a call from USA “hello is it Thyagrajan? I am Kalpathri from NASA”. It was a full moon day.