Boro Sahib Langford

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Tucked at the end of Ek Number Road,
Where he leads a life of raj's mode;
Down where the plodding buffalo roam,
Is the Shangra-la Gus Langford calls home.
It's pucca and there is warm hospitality;
A well-tended yard from bush to tree;
Wading pools here and a bamboo swing there,
Where the small fry play under ayahs' care.
Fragments of brick stud the handsome walk;
The bhalo layout draws lots of talk
From the boro sahibs who come for tea,
Or gin and tonics and dinners with ghee.
It's a delightful rendezvous
For groups of ten or maybe just two.
Perhaps it isn't the same as Paris,
But who needs Paree with Gus and Maris?
For the males, there are tales of ironic twist,
Cement shortages and putts Gus just missed.
For the memsahibs, reports on Maris's trips
To Calcutta, Benares, and humorous quips.
But enough of this comment on Gus's spouse;
His son, his yard or his fabulous house.
Let us focus on this most auspicious day,
On the quirk of fate that brought him our way.
What lured him to Dhaka we sometimes wonder;
Was it planned, or chance, or a terrible blunder;
The attractions of Bengal, or Kahn's golden tongue;
A step towards success or a fall in the dung?
The idea of coming stirred imagination,
For he was to build the capital of a nation;
Pakistan, one hundred million souls strong,
How could a young architect go wrong?
It took them no time to depart in a hurry,
For Dhaka meant Asians and servants and curry;
Books to be bought and covered with hides,
And all that fantastic salary besides.
Travel to India and West Pakistan;
Visits to Nepal and maybe Ceylon;
Trinkets and statues, pink pearls and brass;
Rugs and prayer wheels, not one item crass.
So they moved to Dhanmondai, this adventuresome pair,
For sub-Continent life, they've shown a flair.
They've had a great time, and they've been fun for us,
Gussie and Maris and that swinger, Gus.
The capital buildings are pushing skyward.
It's tedious work but Gus is a diehard.
He has come up with his own invention;
A pidgin-Bengali that various folks mention;
It's hard to tell who are most confused,
Americans or Bengalis; all are amused.
There are some who delight in taking slaps
At the Kahn variations, like those huge gaps.
He calls them arches and "letting the light in."
Some think them instead a firenghi's sin;
The Islamic arch is very big around here.
But Gus says you can't have egg in your beer.
"If you want buildings of handsome line,"
He says, "stick to the original Kahn design."
So he fights the good fight with plenty of action,
And the major plan changes not evem a fraction;
Because of a man, who in monsoon or heat,
Sticks to his guns and will not retreat.
Despite all of Gus's big building coups,
Recounted at length over occasional brews,
Others stand out in recollections of mind,
Of a non-architectural, sportsman kind.
Those of the diamond and court and links,
Where he competes and works out the kinks.
He keeps in good shape, forcing juices to flow,
That's how he maintains a robust, he-man glow.
One of his great days we we will never forget,
How with skill and grace, a mew mark he set.
In '67 December, the East Bengal tournament,
He chalked up a score that shook the firmament.
In with 80 at Dhaka Club, his chances looked poor;
His game was not up and he was most dour.
Then the tough Kirmatola course finally lost out,
As he conquered its trees in a second-round rout.
He drove like a cannon, lashed out his irons;
Approached with the touch of the Nelsons' Byron.
Had rupees been prizes, he would have rated a crore,
For he licked Kirmatola with a seventy-four.
He's the greatest, you see, with a nine-iron shot,
When the woods and putts go, then he's really hot.
He lays that ball up with judgement and loft;
It floats onto the green powder-puff soft.
He's a quality blend, at work, home or sport;
Always stands ready to render support.
We feel happy, yet sad, on this special night;
Happy because his prospects are bright.
But, yes, somewhat sad, because we know
That soon we will all part and go
To our own country, or to faraway places,
For end-of-tour reasons, or kicking the traces.
So we'll end on a bright note on Gus's birthday.
Our deep affection is clearly on display;
We wish him the best, a wide-open door
To the future; a prayer, health and more.
We thank him for being our golf buddy and friend
And close, good neighbor down at Road Ek's end.