The Collins English Gem (Pocket) Dictionary . . . .

. . . . (Latest Print  1967)* and ‘The People who reside within it’ *
– By Vivek Bhasin

On Page 209 ( Fray through fret)  lives one Cuneyt Erturhan: year 1995
This Johnny was a sprightly young Turk who made sure that whenever my ship sailed into the port of Gemlik, Turkey he was there to process all documents and clear us inwards. He was a genuine piece and very sincere. Gemlik is situated south of Istanbul and many long evenings into early mornings were spent in the city of Bursa, enjoying Kebabs , Raka and those wispy belly dancers swaying to infectious sounds. Coming back on board in those early hours I would smell strong coal fires; this was the winter of 1995 and the range of mountains in the distant were covered with snow. Cuneyt lives on and works his pretty ass off, a good human being; sadly he never came back on to my ship as when we sailed we never returned.

On Page 243 (heaven through heliostat) lives one Mohammed A.S. Jubair: Year 1994
Mohammed  Jubair was Vice-President of Jubair Trading Company that was established in 1923. The company owned  Pomegranate Soft Drink,  Zingy  Soft Drink,  Great Whale Transport and purchased 100 forty foot containers of Bananas every week; Bananas that my ship bought in to the Port of Lattakia, Syria. The Bananas were further transported by land to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and even more far off places deep into the Middle East.  If ever there was a kind hearted soul it was Mr. Mohammed Jubair. Every two weeks when we arrived he sent his Mercedes ( Stretched ) to pick me up and take me out to Dinner. Fresh Red Snapper was my favourite and we enjoyed many evenings looking over the sandy beach into the stillness of the Mediterranean. And though that was not enough Mohammad always invited me home to meet the family and his beautiful wife.  Opulence is a tame word if one has to describe the Jubair Mansion. Arabian Nights and much more. With Chandeliers specially manufactured by Swarovski, the softest of carpets made from Pashmina, the beautiful oil paintings that he had won at auctions from Sotheby’s London and this exquisite life size painting of his wife. Gold plated faucets, mineral water from Hawaii and Coffee, pure Jamaican Blue Mountain. To further rock my senses he proudly showed me his own private Zoo.  Gorillas from Africa, Pythons, Lions, Pandas, Macaws, Peacocks and Pumas and yes two crocodiles from India… .’ I love them all very much, Captain Vivek’. I bet he did as I always jumped up from bed when the sea was rough and remembered those ‘snappers’!!

On page 275 ( inveigle through iridium) lives Manvendra Singh : Year on Year on Year
True Cottonian. Now based in Mumbai, he works for Air France. In fact I spoke to him yesterday; he was in Delhi. The last two times we met were when he accompanied my brother and me to Hardwar in May 2008 with my Father’s ashes, and  when my daughter got married on April 04th 2010. But regardless the connection is instant, never loss of recognition but a joy to hear each other again.

On Page 307 ( lorgnette through low) lives Carlos H.Ochoa: Year 1990-1995
A man of leisure. Loads of Moola, Doe, Cash. Monte Cristo Cigars, Courvoisier Brandy, Gucci shoes, Creed Cologne and a beautiful wife by his side who flies to Paris to get her hair in coiffure every fourteen days. She has an hour glass figure just as Don Carlos is rotund and lumpy but the way they glide and slide on the dance floor, be it the salsa or meringue, they sure do turn each other on and me!. Carlos owned the biggest boat docked at the Cartagena Marina and invited all his other (Rich) friends for a spin of Blue Marlin Fishing. A true Colombian he has invited me a zillion times to travel through that amazing country and see the sights of so many beautiful widows; their ferocious husbands all wasted by the drug cartels of Medellin, Cali and Bucaramanga. Boy do I love Colombia!!  He promised I would be safe in his armour plated Hummer. Carlos I am told, now shuttles between Key Largo, Coral Gables and his beloved Cartagena.

On page 411 ( proportion through protect) lives Capitan Odd Viste (Year 1990-2003)
Odd still lives in the Collins Gem, although he is no more. A Dane by birth he navigated the oceans; married, had children, sent them back to Copenhagen to study and get a better life ( his wife died before him); so just as they all do, he married a slender smashing Air Hostess twenty five years his junior. She is Ecuatoriana so what option does a man have when tropical lush Ecuador beckons. He built a house in Guayaquil and became of a collector of Guns. From Uzi to AK 47 he collected them all, from Lugers to Smith & Wesson’s were his wife’s passion; she really was a pistol packin’ senorita. They always took me to El Caracole Azul (The Blue Shell) restaurant famous for its Fish, more so for its famous Chilena owner. I never got into his hobby of becoming a Gun Collector ( though the thought of becoming a Bounty Hunter did excite me when I saw ‘Last Train to Yuma’) I remained content with my possessions of Ecuadorian Panama Hats and a beautiful Oil Painting that hangs on the wall in Mashobra. God Bless Odd Viste’s soul.

On Page 503 ( stalking-horse through star) resides Capt. Ronald Dull: Year 1990-1994
A pilot on the St. John’s River leading up to  the Port of Jacksonville, Florida where my ship docked every two weeks. Jacksonville, largest city in the United States and I visited that port 85 times during the years from 1990 to 1994. Ron-Dull always looked forward to taking my ship in; he was as young as me and kept me updated on the events at the weekend. My emphasis was on Hard Rock Concerts and many I have witnessed in the flesh out there.    David Bowie, Blue Oyster Cult, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple and Peter Frampton. Well if Ron Dull is my age, he is still there. Clambering aboard those giant ships approaching the eastern seaboard of the US, safely guiding them in. Though I am not sure if the Captains on board ask him the latest Rock News .

On Page 549 ( tricolor through tritium) lives Gulay Gonen: Year 1995
Her card states CEO of a company called ECG Bilgi Islem, based in Bursa Turkey. She was an IT expert and worked and updated our ship’s computers. I could always get a whiff of her presence even before she arrived on the Bridge; she smoked the strongest Turkish Cigarettes and those days smoking was not an offence ( just as it is today off New Delhi railway station). She was a wonderful and kind hearted lady and revealed a secret that must stand between her, me and us Cottonians. She was a member of the Masonic Lodge……. Nothing more can be revealed.

*Business Cards discovered in Vivek Bhasin’s Collins English Gem Pocket Dictionary that was given to him by his Mother in February 1968 when he entered Class SHELL. She wrote Vivek C. Bhasin, Bishop Cotton School, Simla-2 on the first page.  The dictionary that has travelled with him since then and now lives at his bedside in Weybridge, England.  ( 9th September 2011)