New Delhi: The 1939 established M. Ram & Sons in Connaught Place may pass off as any other shop in E block except that it has had the unique privilege of dressing up George Fernandes who had a special fondness for Harris Tweed from Scotland. In fact, a picture of Fernandes checking out a grey tweed fabric for a coat adorns the wall of the shop.
Only a fortnight back, this scribe happened to have gone to the shop accompanied by Dr Pratyush Nandan, a Fernandes loyalist, who protested why the picture had been moved from where it was originally hung. He demanded that Mr Fernandes’ picture be rightfully given a more prominent place befitting his stature in a shop he patronised for almost three decades.
Mr Devi Saran Vaish, owner of M. Ram & Sons said that he learnt about Mr Fernandes’ demise from television. “We had a long association with Mr Fernandes who began coming to our shop way back in 1975. His last visit to our shop was in 2009. We stitched several coats, jackets and Khadi kurtas for him. He felt at ease and would often call a couple of his friends here. In a way, it was a meeting point for him where he would sit and chat with his friends over coffee ordered from United Coffee House.”
Mr Vaish recalls Mr Fernandes as extremely humble. “He had remarkable qualities. He was very patriotic. I have never seen him angry. He was always very contemplative. He got several clothes stitched over four decades but what he liked most was Harris Tweed,” says Mr Vaish whose shop has an impressive selection of suiting fabric like Loro Piano, Holland and Sherry, Ermegildo Zegma, Boss and Colombo. “Harris Tweed costs about Rs 20,000 a metre now.’’
Mr Vaish, who has interacted with several politicians and celebrities from the mid 50s when he first began coming to the shop with his father, Moji Ram Vaish, says that Fernandes never boasted about any of his accomplishments. “In fact, he contributed to our clientele by spreading a good word about us to his friends.
I have heard that Edwina Mountbatten also came to our shop which was originally a brass handicrafts shop by the name Benaras Emporium. Over the years, our clients have been Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Rajesh Khanna, Satish Kaushik, Ambassadors and staff of embassies in New Delhi.” Asked if they have ever stitched anything for Amitabh Bachchan, the owner of M. Ram smiles and says, “Amitabh Bachchan was my class-mate in Kirori Mal College in Delhi University but he has not come to us so far.”