Indore: As the nation remembers playback legend Kishore Kumar on his 81st birthday, few may know that the singer still owes five rupees and 12 paise, immortalised in that famous song of "Chalti Ka Naam Gadi", to his college canteen here.
Born on August 4, 1929 in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh as Abhas Kumar Ganguly, Kishore went to the Christian College here after his matriculation.
His college continues to remember the singer-actor for his exploits.
According to Swaroop Vajpayee, who teaches history in the college, Kishore was famous as a prankster. "Kishore studied here from 1946 to 48 and then went to Mumbai but he failed to pay five rupees and 12 paise that he owed to the canteen owner," Vajpayee said.
It is said that the small debt inspired the singer to write the song `Panch rupaiya barah anna` in the 1958 film "Chalti Ka Naam Gadi" that also starred his brothers Ashok Kumar and Anup Kumar and Madhubala.
According to college principal Amit David, stories related to the singer are now part of the college lore.
"Not many people know that Kishore was very shy and never gave a live performance. He would always insist on singing behind the curtain," David said.
Relating another incident, Vajpayee said, "Once Kishore was using the bench in the classroom as a tabla, which angered his civics teacher. He told Kishore to stop wasting time like that. Kishore smiled and told the teacher that he intended to earn his livelihood by singing."
The tamarind tree in the college campus still reminds the students of the singer as he would often bunk classes and entertain friends with his songs under it.