Inderjeet Singh Ahluwalia (Creature) (I 1951-1958)
Shock and dismay hits you when a long admired and flamboyant idol of your school days is announced in the obituaries. No, he did not fall to the savage Covid. That was not the way he would ever want to go away. His exit would always be on his terms and on his “feet” as it were. I cannot for a moment imagine Inderjeet Singh Ahluwalia (Ibbetson1951-58, Roll no 370 and surname shortened to Walia, post School) leave this world with a Covid as a cause for his departure from this life.
He was much too proud, courageous and with so much exuberance in his existence that this virus was simply below his dignity. He left when he had exhausted all that this world had to offer him no longer mattered or simply that the attractions to continue with this life stood exhausted andwhen he had had his fill. No he did not leave this world as a disappointed man but one who had lived it to its fullest, as a consumer to whom that promise had been fulfilled.
I S Walia was fondly known by all who knew him as Creature. Never figured out the origin of that description but he was a phenomenal creature alright. He was, as I recall, from the distance of being his very junior Cottonian, a handsome, dashing, flamboyant, carefree man, who possessed a devil-may-care attitude to life. His exceptionally handsome looks were not put to use in the business world where they would have mattered like, for example, on the silver screen or advertising. He was drafted into the large family business of sporting goods. Pioneer Sports, Ludhiana was the source of their wealth and it was compatible with his personality as well. He was a hugely sporting individual when BCS was invested with great athletic talent that was known throughout the Simla Hills and further afar.
One memorable and indelible image of him remains in my mind and for all those who remember was his presence on the cricket field. While friends remind me what a trusty and reliable pair of hands he had fielding in the slips it was his batting ability that mattered.
Creature would enter the batting pitch, one down. After that the display from his bat was scintillating. Virtually every ball within those 15 to 20 minutes he was at the crease would find the boundary. The game came alive and that sparkling display had us enthralled. When he had concluded his innings he would run up to meet the pavilion steps and I can vividly recall what a dashing man he was. His bat was hauled in the air in front of him, as though holding a sword, as he ran up those steps, with that silk cricket scarf in those lively school colours tied like a belt around his waist. It felt like watching a knight in splendid armour having just exited the battle ground. He was dashing. He was an exhibition of vigour and he was what you wanted to be at that moment!!
It was a delight to watch him swim. Every movement in the pool saw him glide past the others with utmost comfort and no resistance visible in those movements in the water.Superb swimmer. Creature, playing soccer, was a midfielder. He was always the most dominant man on the football ground and easily identifiable. As the most visible and prime mover on the ground he strategized the play with utmost ease displaying an intelligence that he never exhibited, unfortunately, in the classroom. That was not his fault because BCS was never a teaching workshop during those times but an institution designed to give you a well rounded personality and an ability to handle life outside its boundaries.
He was bright and sparkling but his love for sports excelled any other interest except when his desire for fun overtook him. It got him sufficiently often in trouble with Mr Freddie Brown, who was also the man who loved this Creature like no other boy during those days. Creature was the kind of boy that Mr Brown probably had been in his youth, mischievous, full of life and loved by all including a large bunch of admirers from St Bede’s
Creature soon joined the family business and selling sporting goods came to him naturally. He was designated by the family to look after their business in Madras which may have just been the right choice for the outgoing personality that needed to be deployed in conservative Tamil Nadu. It took him little, given his ability to adapt, to make an exceptional business for Pioneer Sports in that metropolis.
His large hearted hospitality resulted in any one visiting that city naturally gravitating to his home where the drinks, the meal and the conversation were always great fun. NK and ND Mehra with their connections to Buckingham & Carnatic Mills, popularly called Binny, were regulars at his home in Madras. Their lifelong friendship endured.
I have little updates about this fascinating personality except seen from the days when I was a teenager. The impressions last with you forever and I never got to see him again. News about him would be often shared by friends. His wife passed away as a result of Big C in around 2009 and Creature was cared for by a loving daughter.
Our condolences go out to Deepak Ahluwalia, his younger brother who now lives in Solan, His cousins and nephews, Surinder Ahluwalia, H S Mamik, who brother R S Mamik passed away recently, and Chetan Singh, Pioneer Sports in Delhi
“All things bright and beautiful,
All things great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
It was God that made them all”
He made this one special for me to remember him in so many vivid images.
– Vijay Khurana