Monday, November 05, 2007

family holidays!

not since we were kids, did we go out of bombay for the vacations...the family with the familiar military green hold-all. we'd troop to dadar station by noon to take the train to nagpore each christmas holidays. i still remember waking up to milk vendors yelling dodh-dodh-garam dodh at wardha jn in the wee hours of the morning. nagpore would always come after ajni eeaarrllyy in the morning, foggy n cold...n me always reluctant to get up. aziz bhai our "regular" cyclerickshawwalla would always be there for us...we'd pile up the rickety rickshaw n poor ol azizbhai would heave us from the station to mohannagar postoffice.

waiting impatiently at the gate, were my dad's two sisters n niece...this was the family house! we were all born there which made it so special to go back there each year. a huuge house it was, tho' just half of it was now occupied. a back garden with fruit trees for us to climb n me to chase squirrels. a front flower garden overrun with weeds and a ritual task to clean up! the living room opened out onto this garden. my favourite room. here were these big bw portraits of my dad's parents looking down on us. an upright piano which propped more family pics. n there within this wooden case - the music system! a grundig 78rpm turntable, a tape spool deck, a warmly glowing tube radio and this really big unweildy amp...of course i couldn't lay a finger there...i'd look intently digesting every glowing lamp n moving needle...

sometimes, my uncle - dad's brother would be visiting fro germany. he was a priest there n travelled a lot. after dinner, me tucked into my razaai, he'd hang a white bedsheet on the wall n pull out this really neat projector n slide after slide he'd bore us with stories of people he'd met...i'd wait for the scenic shots...remember seeing my first snow! i'd sleep till late morning often refusing to get out of bed coz it was too cold n still dark! my aunt - anna (no not aa-naa but un-naa) would dip her finger in her glass n let me lick it...i'd cringe but it warmed my insides ;)

i'd run up n down the approach road rolling this truck tyre (or at least it seemed like that then) all morning till lunch!! then there was the club. singing, fancy dress competitions, dad playing billiards (dunno if i actually remember that or from what i've heard!)...and one mandatory trip to mahrej baag (which i discovered so many years later was maharaj bagh). mica, so much shinny mica we walked on. and one trip to seminary hils...again poor ol azizbhai was summoned n again he'd pull us uphill n we'd jump off n push the cyclerickshaw up...on the morning of our departure, we'd go to jubilee bakery for cardboardboxloads of the best ginger biscuits n macaroons on this planet! sometimes, we'd carry back to bombay sackfuls of oranges...but olly, my cousin sister would get really upset when the time came for us to leave...she'd grit her teeth n start to cry...n then we'd all cry before leaving for the station...

tomorrow, we all go to bangalore to spend diwali with my niece who's studying there. missing in action: my dad, my bro-in-law anil, my brother jim and c!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what a stunning piece this, ajay. more to come? waiting.
cheers, mona