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, Viswanâ€™s father called me aside and said, â€œArenâ€™t you a graduate?â€ â€œYesâ€, I said, not knowing what he was upto.
â€œIt is very difficult to get any government jobs these days, especially for we peopleâ€¦ I mean, the forward castesâ€, he said. â€œAny job is Ok for meâ€¦ Butâ€¦â€ I replied.
â€œHow about a medical repâ€™s job?â€, he asked. â€œI am not a science graduateâ€¦â€, I hesitated. â€œIf you are interested, I can recommend you for a postâ€¦ of course it is not a reputed companyâ€¦ Tonight Iâ€™ll be leaving for Bombay. Iâ€™ll be back after a fortnight.â€
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. â€œReghu, Viswanâ€™s dad says he would recommend me for a medical repâ€™s job, if I am interested.â€ â€œHe is an influential chap. If you get that job, it will be a good breakthrough for you,â€ assured Reghunath.
â€œMeanwhile, could you teach me the ABCD of this job?â€, I asked.
â€œYeah, just come along with me to a few medical shops and doctorsâ€, 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.
â€œHurry upâ€¦ first, we are going to Maniâ€™s restaurant and from there to Pavithranâ€™s medical shop,â€ 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: â€œgift of the gab; that is vital for a medical rep.â€ he advised.
â€œBut what about the quality of the medicine and various complexes like B-Complex, C-Complex etc?â€, I asked. He burst into laughter and said â€œJust wait and seeâ€¦ Here we areâ€¦â€. Yeah, we were in front of Pavithranâ€™s. â€œFollow meâ€, 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, â€œSir, there is something divine about this store. In fact, I was not thinking of medicine while visiting hereâ€¦ Last time when I came here, you explained to me the meaning of Adwaidaâ€¦ Tatwamasiâ€¦ Now I understand what exactly is Tatwamasi.â€
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, â€œJust go through the latest on this subject (Adwaida) by swami Anandanda.â€
â€œSure, Sure, Iâ€™ll buy itâ€, 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 â€œJust look at the corner shelfâ€
â€œThree tonics?â€ I asked.
â€œYes, there are nearly twenty of them, sold by me 4 years ago when I was in Nelsonâ€™s & Coâ€ he said.
â€œSo, that is the trick of the trade?â€, I asked. â€œItâ€™s all gift of the gabâ€, he said as we moved on to the next shop.