17/03/2015 8:14 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

What It Was Like To Grow Up With Suhel Seth

Swapan Seth

This is perhaps the most damaging piece ever written on Suhel Seth.

For this piece will shatter many of the myths that Suhel has so assiduously erected around him. Fences of aloofness. Moats of "I couldn't give a rat's ass." Shields of "I'll do what I want."

The truth is NO one knows Suhel but me. Not his friends. Not his lovers. Not his fans.

The Suhel I grew up with was a six-year-old boy who would walk alone and cross the busiest street in Calcutta at 9pm every night to fetch fresh milk for his brother.

The Suhel I grew up with was a happy-go-lucky boy who was suddenly abducted by a Pathan on the road.

The Suhel I grew up with was a confused yet brave 8-year-old boy who was bundled into a train overnight and packed off to St Joseph's College, Nainital because there was a threat on his life by the workers in our father's factory.

The Suhel I grew up with was a class 8 student who spent all his hours after school at The High Court meeting lawyers who were fighting the countless cases that my father's brothers had filed against him out of greed and little remorse.


Swapan Seth (L) and Suhel Seth (R)

The Suhel I grew up with was a gullible sod who left his almirah unlocked only to have me flick his stash of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum.

The Suhel I grew up with was a guy who would lay the dinner table every day.

Who would be asleep at 8.30pm every night.

And who would wake up at 6am every day and transform into a character called Suhee Sexy On The Mike, a singer who would sing numbers while I drummed on the dining table.

The Suhel I grew up with was a guy who ensured I was friends with all his friends.

Indeed, to this day, his favourite phrase, after "fuck off" is "Have you met my brother?"

I was his little lamb that would follow him to proms, debates, festivals, and parties.

I suspect I still am. Damn.

But just that you don't think he was a saint, I must say there were some telltale signs of the Devil in him then too.

I had this nasty habit of hiding chapatis under the chair covers. At one stage there were perhaps twenty chapatis under the cover. He went and told Mom. I got slapped. Badly.

I also had this nasty habit of laughing out loudly at the dining table. It would upset our stressed father. He made it a point to make me laugh. As a result, I was forced to eat dinner on the floor for a month.

He had this terrible habit of sitting on my motorcycle and forcing me to jump lights. A cop once caught us and pulled me down. I still have the scar on my face.

He was a low-down sportsman. Upon getting out, he would break the wickets and refuse to field. Even Virat Kohli is better behaved.

He introduced me to cigarettes.

I returned the favour by making him meet a certain Old Monk.

Growing up with Suhel was fun. Inspiring. Mildly infuriating too. I mean he forced me to study his class 12 biology syllabus just so that he did not have to study it and I could tell him what was important.

He was my Pied Piper.