Sunday, May 15, 2016

Time,Time..I have all the time --: Travelling Back In Time : A re- post

Time,Time..I have all the time --: Travelling Back In Time : A re- post: During my younger days, (eons ago, I must admit) I had the great good fortune of traveling and living in several distant parts of India, th...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

'T' for: Travelling Back In Time

                                                                 Travelling Back In Time

During my younger days, I had the good fortune of travelling and living in most places in India, thanks to my father who was in the Army. 
My travelling days started with my father being posted from Mumbai to Lucknow,  I was barely a year old at that time. We lived in a place called Halwasiya Market, Hazrathganj. I remember, we had a roomy apartment in the  3rd floor. The rooms were built like compartments in a train, first was the kitchen, then a hall, and then two bedrooms, and last the bathroom. All the rooms opened to a long fairly large grilled veranda, and the view was the same on the other side too. We were a family of 6, my parents, my two elder sisters and one brother, I was the youngest. We also had lots pups and kittens roaming around the house for my father loved to bring stray pups and kittens. You can read about their adventures here:

As grew up, I was put in a nearby convent school called   "The Cathedral". My school days very pretty boring, always dreading the arrival of my class teacher, Miss Williams, whom my mother and myself nick named as Miss Pulliams, (Pulli means Tiger in Tamil) for  she would pounce on us the minute, she saw us and start complaining to my poor mother how hopeless I was in my studies. 
My mother would come everyday around 12 pm with my lunch of Rasam mixed with rice and some vegetable curry. She would feed me, and I would make such a fuss saying everything was so hot with lots of chilies, and she used to somehow cajole me into finishing every bit saying it was not hot at all, as she had put lots ghee/ clarified butter, and that it was very tasty. if that didn't work she would say to eat fast as she could see Miss Pulliams coming our way.
I can never forget the aroma of my mother's rasam, it used to be really tasty, for I can still taste in my imagination, and  when at times I get the same taste coming from the rasam I make, I am absolutely thrilled.
Coming back to my story, after  lunch,  I would not want to go to the student's washroom, as it always had a nasty stink like all school washrooms. So we would quietly sneak into the staff wash room and finish washing quickly before we were caught.
After school again, my mother would come to take me home, and as soon as we entered our building, which  used to be full of shops on the ground floor, I would start pestering her to buy me a small Cadburys chocolate, before we started to climb the stairs leading to our flat. Everyday, the same scene repeated itself. 
In the evening my 2nd sister used to go to learn Bharatnatyam dance, and I also wanted to learn, so also went along with her. But after a few classes I refused to go, for I used to dance very badly and the dance teacher used to hit me with the stick every time I made a mistake. It was horrible.
During the evenings my father would take me out with him, for he wanted my mother to be free, while she cooked for the night  without my constant irritation. But I used to be afraid of my dad for he used to be quite strict. Somehow he would persuade me, saying he would buy me ice cream and take me to his friend's place where I can play with his kids.
He would  take me to the  nearby Mayfair theater, which used to have a very good ice cream parlor, and buy me a big plate of ice cream. Oh God, how I used to love eating  ice creams there, for on a big slab of  ice cream there would always be 2 artistically placed wafer biscuits, and I still  can't say whether I liked the wafer biscuits more or the ice cream more.
Then one day he took me to a photo studio, and the photographer was a Sardarji, (a Sikh) he was known to my father, and would often tell my father that I was so cute, (for I looked a lot like the famous child artist/ actor Daisy Irani), that he would like to take a photograph of me, So one day he took me to his studio dressed in a lovely orange color pant and a printed shirt, with a colorful umbrella, for it was supposed to be color photograph.

The good Sardarji  kept on asking me gently to smile, but I would not smile, for his tall, hefty figure with beard and moustache, and turban really frightened me, I could barely stand still leave alone smile. Anyway he somehow made me stand on a bench with my colorful umbrella and took the photograph which came out quite well, and for many years this framed picture of mine was there in our house, till one fine day it just vanished, never to be found. I somehow suspect, it was taken by my second sister, and it must be with her in Boston where  she lives. I just have a copy of it a: small black and white passport size picture.

I must tell about my school play, where you would be shocked that only role that was given to me was to sit like a shrub of  flowers. No Little Red Riding Wood dialogue for me, not even the bad wolf role, I was told to bring some flowered saree, which was wrapped round me , and I had to sit still and be a part of the jungle shrubs. So much for my acting talent, and my looking like the child star, Daisy Irani...

I must say, I had lots  and lots of the  yummy cold drink called "Milk Badam" (Cold Almond Milk), the taste of which still lingers in my tongue, however, I am yet to taste a drink, that can bring back the same magic. I also loved drinking ice cold Coca Colas and Fantas, from glass bottles. Somehow it doesn't taste the same these days. In fact, I stopped drinking  drink these long back.
Oh, the good old days will they ever come back?
Well this all I can remember of my stay in Lucknow.
From there we had to move  to Assam, can you imagine travelling all the way from Lucknow to  Guwahati, by train, it is a very, very, long journey, with so many states to pass through, and so many trains to change.... well some other time I would blog about it.

 Did you enjoy the travel back in time with me?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

My Mother And Me: A Few Thoughts on Mother's day

After a long time, I feel drawn to write something about my mother. It is not that I think of her only  on this day, in fact I always keep thinking of her.
I thought I would share with you some random thoughts about my relationship with my mother.
I remember, when I was very young, I must have just joined school, and my mother used to take me to the school which was just next door, a convent school called "The Cathedral" in Lucknow. You might wonder, how I can remember things that happened while I was so young, I just don't know,  but I can remember all those things very clearly even at this age.
As I started school, I soon realized I was pretty dumb, and a very slow learner, I just couldn't understand anything that was taught in the class. I was weak in everything. every time, my mother came to pick me up, the class teacher would complain to her about my inability to stay focused in the class. It would really upset my mother very much, though she would try her best in the house to make me understand. Sometimes she would get so frustrated that when I missed some number while counting, she would poke the tip of the pencil on my fingers making me understand how to count correctly. My father was known to be more strict, so  seeking his help was out of question. My mother was always very patient, but somehow with a child who cannot understand the basics, she was bound to be  irritated. I have no complaints against her, it is just so funny when I think about it now, for her poking my fingers with the pencil point used to hurt me so much, that it would bring tears to my eyes, and  I would wish that I could be smart as the other kids of my class.
So, everyday since, the class teacher would have something or other to complain about me, my mother started to avoid getting caught by her. The class teacher's name was Miss Williams, and both of us changed her name into Pulliams (Pulli means tiger  in Tamil, and just for rhyming purpose we used to call her Pulliams).
My mother would bring lunch to the school, and we would play hide and seek with Miss Pulliams.
I was a real problem child, in other ways too, troubling my mother, making a big fuss about eating too. Poor thing she would bring tasty Rasam rice with a very tasty potato curry, but would have me making a fuss about it being very hot and spicy, she would cajole me into eating saying she has put lots ghee, and the potatoes were roasted very well and had no chilli powder  in them, and if everything else failed she would threaten me, saying she could see Miss Pulliams coming  our way, and that would be enough for me to swallow everything  in one go.
Then , there was the problem of using the School toilet meant for students which would always be stinking, and I would not like to go there at any cost. So my mother had to smuggle me somehow to the staff bathroom, without being caught by any of the staff. So much trouble my mother had to go through for such a worth less child.

Then came the tantrums while going back home. We used to live in a flat on the third floor, and I
would create a big drama saying that I cannot climb so many steps, unless she bought me a slab of Cadbury's chocolate (it used to be the thin slab) from the shop that was just next  to the staircase.
I don't think I would have done all these for my own children.

I used to get whooping cough a lot during that time, especially during the night, and my poor mother would be awake trying to comfort me all through the night, and on top of  it  I had the habit of sleeping with my fingers holding one of her ears tightly.

As we grew up, we always confided everything to our mother, for she would keep everything from our strict father. She did so many things for us without complaining, whereas, we were so engrossed with our own lives, we never thought of asking her what she wanted, or what we could do for her  to make her life a little more bearable.

Mothers stand for unconditional love, they don't remember the troubles they had gone through to make our lives comfortable, they are happy if we are happy.
Can we say for ourselves,whether we have been good mothers, I doubt so.
They did not have the facilities we have these days, yet they were so patient and tried to be the best mothers. Today, we have all the facilities, yet when it come to dealing with  our children  in a matured way, we find ourselves failing.
Today we tend to be more self centered, not that every mother is like that, but most of us tend to be like that only.
 I salute all the mothers who understand their children and do their very best to not only be good mothers but also be good friends with their children!!
Happy Mother's Day!