I was almost done with writing a book when, by a stroke of luck, I found out that Mr. Abdul Quddus Nagi was still alive and well and lived in a small town in Canada.
I was beyond excited to hear about this, after all, Mr. Quddus was not only a POW like me in the camp but he was also our civilian cage commander and was bound to know a whole lot more than any other cage inmate about the ins and outs of the day-to-day life of the camp.
I called him up and he too was very excited to hear from me and about my project. Over the next few weeks, we chatted many times on the telephone and I obtained valuable information from him. Finally, in January 2020, I decided to go up to Canada and meet him. He lived in the small town of Cobourg, about one and half hour drive from Toronto.
On a cold and wintery morning, I drove eastward to Cobourg. It was a scenic drive and I saw some beautiful countryside on my way. He gave me a warm reception and we talked about our camp life for hours. He and his wife were gracious enough to offer me a sumptuous lunch and he recounted the events of our daily life in cage #1, Camp #34 in Roorkee, India. We spent many hours together as he recounted the stories of our camp life. I returned in the evening with a lot more information about our camp life that I included in the book.
While I was in Toronto, I also made a point to go and meet Mr. Shaukat. He was in charge of taking care of the sick people in our camp. He used to take us to the MI (Medical inspection) Room. I drove on the snow-covered roads and arrived at the townhouse where he lived. I knocked on the door and an old man in pajamas opened the door. It was Mr. Shaukat all right. Still the same energetic demeanor but in a very frail and tired body. His wife was also frail and used a walker but both had a good memory and told me a lot about our camp.