Viswan was not a close friend of mine but I used to visit his house very often during summer vacation, simply because there was enough space in their backyard to play cricket and badminton. There were several boys and a couple of good looking girls in that house. They invited a selected few like us to play cricket in their back yard. One evening, Viswan’s father called me aside and said, “Aren’t you a graduate?” “Yes”, I said, not knowing what he was upto.
“It is very difficult to get any government jobs these days, especially for we people… I mean, the forward castes”, he said. “Any job is Ok for me… But…” I replied.
“How about a medical rep’s job?”, he asked. “I am not a science graduate…”, I hesitated. “If you are interested, I can recommend you for a post… of course it is not a reputed company… Tonight I’ll be leaving for Bombay. I’ll be back after a fortnight.”
It was a job meant for Chemistry graduates in those days and I was not very enthusiastic about it. But still there was a ray of hope. I broached this subject when Regunath visited my house, the next morning. Inspite of his penchant for practical jokes and all that, he was a highly successful medical representative. “Reghu, Viswan’s dad says he would recommend me for a medical rep’s job, if I am interested.” “He is an influential chap. If you get that job, it will be a good breakthrough for you,” assured Reghunath.
“Meanwhile, could you teach me the ABCD of this job?”, I asked.
“Yeah, just come along with me to a few medical shops and doctors”, he assured.
He had to cover a vast area including our native town and incidentally, on that day he was scheduled to visit doctors and medical shops in our area and he asked me to accompany him on that very day.
“Hurry up… first, we are going to Mani’s restaurant and from there to Pavithran’s medical shop,” he said.
So, we were on the move and as usual, he was jovial and played his pranks with innocent folks. In between, he gave me some lessons on marketing: “gift of the gab; that is vital for a medical rep.” he advised.
“But what about the quality of the medicine and various complexes like B-Complex, C-Complex etc?”, I asked. He burst into laughter and said “Just wait and see… Here we are…”. Yeah, we were in front of Pavithran’s. “Follow me”, he said rather jokingly, as he entered the shop. An elderly man was sitting at the cash counter. My friend wished him in typical Indian style and said, “Sir, there is something divine about this store. In fact, I was not thinking of medicine while visiting here… Last time when I came here, you explained to me the meaning of Adwaida… Tatwamasi… Now I understand what exactly is Tatwamasi.”
Meanwhile, I was eagerly waiting for some medical terms, but the elderly man gave him a long list of Medicines and pills (a huge order for my friend’s company). And said, “Just go through the latest on this subject (Adwaida) by swami Anandanda.”
“Sure, Sure, I’ll buy it”, replied my friend.
As we were about to take leave of the elderly man, I congratulated my friend, though I did not gain anything from this visit. He just whispered “Just look at the corner shelf”
“Three tonics?” I asked.
“Yes, there are nearly twenty of them, sold by me 4 years ago when I was in Nelson’s & Co” he said.
“So, that is the trick of the trade?”, I asked. “It’s all gift of the gab”, he said as we moved on to the next shop.