Thus he arrived in Amritsar around 1928 and was to spend the major part of his adult life in that city. After a couple of years, the owners wanted to sell the Amritsar establishment and in a process of history repeating itself, with the help of some friends and his meagre savings, Dr. Labh Singh was able to buy out the business. As he could not justifiably use the brand name of E. Plomer & Co. he renamed the shop as S. King & Co. where the ‘S’ stood for Sardar (Sikh) and the whole name still sounded like an establishment that mainly catered to the rich English population in the area, which indeed it continued to serve right till the end. Their residence was situated on the floor above the shop on Queens Road and that house witnessed the welcoming into this world Amrit Kaur and Satwant Kaur’s younger siblings Prithpal Singh Kohli, son (1930), Davinder Pal Singh Kohli, son (1932) [incidently, this author’s father], Tripat Pal Singh Kohli, son (1934), Bimlesh Kaur, daughter (1943), Jugesh Kaur, daughter (1945), Param Pal Singh Kohli, son (1948) and Satinder Kaur, daughter (1951).
In Amritsar, the family remained on the upswing for a number of years right until partition. The major clientele of the shop remained the Britishers stationed in Amritsar and they used to have loyal customer base that remained for long. They imported a large number of medicines, cosmetics, chocolates/sweets, perfumes and photographic films. The children, on growing up went to Alexadria School, a two minute walk down the road, which was only a primary school till then. Till class 5, it was co-ed and after that was girls only school. The boys were then packed off to Cambridge School on Mall Road which was a 10-15 minutes walk from their home on Queens Road. Sometimes taking a shortcut through the Company Bagh and stopping over at Thandi Khui on Mall Road, just before Lawrence Road, for a glass of lassi or nimbu paani or to buy some chaat or sweets at Crystal sweet shop (it’s now a landmark upscale restaurant in Amritsar, at the same place) or at Nanak Halwai. Later on also, when Dr. Labh Singh managed to make his own bunglow on Hukam Singh Road, the kids used to pass through the same Company Bagh to reach Cambridge School but from other direction.
Dr. Labh Singh’s wife, Veeranwali (the author’s grandmother) decided in mid 1930s that it was now time to have their own Kothi (bunglow), away from the commercial area. Dr. Labh Singh did not agree and felt unsure of the financial implications since a large working capital was already invested in the business and he had no inheritance to fall back on. He managed to delay the decision for a few years but ultimately gave in to his wife’s wishes and a plot of land was acquired on Hukam Singh Road, just off the Company Bagh, and a Kothi was duly constructed on it in 1937. His children had very happy memories of growing up in their Kothi on Hukam Singh road and life seemed to be rolling at a leisurely pace. Read more in the book.