Old times

I dream of a library…

Growing up, my first library was the local kirana(grocery) store that used to keep a big stack of Hindi comics like billu, pinky, chacha chowdhary, phantom, commando Dhruv etc.

Characters of Diamond Comics Indian Comics Magazine

Characters from my first ‘library’ books!

Then from 2nd grade onward it was school library, where I got introduced to Noddy, Ruskin Bond, Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Heidi, black beauty, little women and many more. That was also when the nearby book club had Tinkle, Champak and Chandamama. In junior classes we had to sit on the ground around a low table and in senior classes there were proper table and chairs… I so looked forward to library period, half an hour of stories! 🙂 Continue reading

Categories: Books, digital living, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

And that’s how the story goes…

बस इतनी सी थी ये कहानी…

yaadshehar-yaadon ka idiot box

That’s how Neelesh Mishra ends his story every evening. His show ‘Yaadon ka idiot box’ is the only show that I look forward to, on the radio. The regular FM channels are now just a few songs in between a lot of advertisements. And these days in Gujarat, it’s become particularly difficult to listen to radio as its predominantly mudslinging between Congress and BJP.

‘Yaadon ka idiot box’ is a radio play narrated and enacted only by Neelesh Mishra. The stories are regular, everyday stories from your or my life. The characters live in a fictitious small town called yaadshehar (यादशहर) created by Neelesh Mishra himself. A small town where all of us had once lived. Its neither too far nor too close. It’s in a time when  only Sharma uncle’s house had the telephone in the whole locality and everyone would go to Sharma uncle’s home attend calls. There were black and white televisions with wooden shutter doors (Oh! How I wish I had a picture of our’s). I still remember how mummy used to clean the screen and then close the shutter :). Every night after the prime time shows.

antique black and white TV with shutter

I don’t have a picture of our antique B&W TV, but this one comes fairly close 🙂

I discovered ‘Yadon ke…’ By chance and now, as much as possible, I try to be cooking during its airtime so that I can listen to it without any interruptions :D.

I don’t know if many would remember “hawamahal”, a radio play that used to (& still does) come on Vividh Bharati ( the DD equivalent of radio). Hawamahal is mostly comic story lines and there is a whole cast with different characters being played by different people. Unlike ‘yaadon ke …’ there is no narration.

When we were kids, we lived on the 1st floor and had a huge balcony-terrace. There was a tall eucalyptus tree, extending way beyond our terrace, on one corner. Every night after dinner, all four of us used to sit in that corner, enjoying the night breeze and listening to hawamahal on our antique radio! It was a red and silver color radio set, with three buttons, one for tuning, one volume and one power.

Those were the days of black and white TVs with wooden shutters & no remotes (there was only one channel so no issues of changing channels:)); small radio; one telephone and those were the days when we had time to sit together and enjoy a radio program and not just limit it to drive time.

I miss my childhood.

I miss my childhood, nostalgia

It was so much fun back then!

Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Lies of our childhood

Never tell a lie (else your nose will extend like Pinocchio!). This was and still is a consistent teaching from my mother. But during this vacation, while trying to make my 5 year old niece eat her food, I realized that our childhood is full of lies.

why I lie to my kids

Oops! I swallowed a seed!

And as innocent we are as children, we believed in them. I don’t remember even once challenging them. Things like don’t eat the seeds of a fruit else you will have a plant growing inside. I still remember on days when I accidently swallowed a seed, I actually used to dream at night that there will be branches and leaves coming out of my ears and nose when I wake up.

Or don’t go outside the gate alone; there is a baba on the street who takes away children.

The maximum lies were in food items. I used to hate yellow moong dal and love yellow urad dal. To make me eat that moong dal , my mom said it’s chota urad (small urad dal) and after that I ate it.. Despite the fact that I still didn’t like it’s taste, just because it was the smaller version of a dal that I loved I ate it. And this is the lie that I believed in till I went to college and fellow students in the mess told me that there is nothing like a chota urad and that this is moong dal.

Then another one that I remember was for arbi (colocasia). She made me eat it saying it was potato! Though I am proud to say they weren’t able to fool us for baingan, lauki, torai, tinda etc (eggplant, bottle gourd, snake gourd etc) :D.

A recent retort by Nandini (my niece) to didi made me realise not only were we innocent, we were also outright stupid :).

Here’s the incident:

Didi: Nandini sit upright.

Nandini: No. I want to eat like this.

Didi: You should not eat while lying down.

Nandini: Why mama?

Didi: If you eat while lying down; all the food goes in the donkey’s stomach.

Nandini: It’s okay mama. Even the donkey should get to eat.

Lies parents tell to their children

It’s okay mama even the donkey should get to eat!

There was obviously no reply to this one and we all just started laughing. Laughing at her response or laughing at the fact that all through our childhood our mother was able to fool us with this! 🙂

And then there are the bigger lies of Tooth fairy and Santa Claus. Of course these lies were for our own good. I sort of agree to a fellow blogger’s argument that it’s not lying; it’s parenting!

And come to think of it what would childhood have been without the ‘Lion’ who was always hiding behind the sofa ready to leap if you didn’t finish the bite!

Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Every time I hit that “publish” button…

Today my mind was on fire with ideas of things to post about on this blog.. and I knew I had to jot those ideas down else I will soon forget them. During my recent visit to Gurgaon, I saw my sister still carried a diary in her bag which she used to write random thoughts that came to her mind during the day.. When I asked her “Why don’t you use your phone for that purpose”; she replied saying “because I feel I should write otherwise we never actually write down anything”. And I totally agree with her, a lot of times I feel I’ve forgotten how to write.. Once when I was in 4th standard I had come 3rd in a calligraphy content in school and right now I’m ashamed to tell that to anyone because if they see my handwriting now, pple will say I’m joking!

So I decided to write down those thoughts in a diary.. and I knew I had a new, small handmade diary somewhere. While searching for the new diary, I found an old treasure!! I found my travel journal during our Brazil and Europe trip in 2008. It was so much fun reading those entries now; it was almost like revisiting those places.. I was back in the Rio carnival dancing to samba tunes; I was back in Brussels tasting amazing chocolate flavours at Pierre Marcolini; I was back in Paris being astonished by the Greek gods and other exhibits in the Louvre.. Oh! I can’t express the joy of reading the diary again :). Anyway, so it was during that time that I had finalised the idea of this blog and I actually have an entry on the day my blog went live.. I smiled on reading that entry.. how excited I was …just like a child who has found a new toy :). Here’s the first entry that I wrote about this virtual diary in my real diary almost 4 years ago!


Even to this day every post on this blog is an excitement for me…. Every time after hitting that publish button; I have this anxiety that whether people will want to read, what I wrote? Whether what I wrote is good enough? Writing didn’t come naturally to me and that one of the reasons why I wanted to start a blog because I wanted to learn it! Earlier I used to spend a lot of time over each post, trying to get the language correct but now it’s become easier… I guess it does get easy with time. I realised it’s okay to make mistakes in language as far as you are writing something that you want to share… that you would like to read if someone else had written it on their blog.

How do you feel when you hit that ‘publish’ button on anything? Would love to read your experience 🙂

Categories: Old times, Travel | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

In loving memory of Amma and Bauji

This is my diary entry dated 05/02/2012. I wrote it in train on my way from Jaipur to Baroda. On reading it again I thought I should share it with the rest of family. There is no structure to this writing, I wrote as things came to mind and I’m not editing the entry (except for adding the pictures). There are so many things that I got to know only after reading his diaries, here’s sharing them with you.


Today was Bauji’s tervi (havan after 13 days of death). I reached Jaipur late last night from Jodhpur. Everyone was there, all the sons, daughters, son in laws, daughter in laws and the grandchildren. One amazing thing about Sanaganer home is that no matter how many people come, there always space for everyone to sleep. 🙂

Last night till around 2am me and menu bua were reading bauji’s diaries. In his 2006 diary when amma was not well, bauji has poured all his emotions. We all knew he was tensed at that time and obviously worried about amma, but that he was afraid, that he was questioning the purpose of life? The diary showed a completely different side of Bauji to me. Bauji kept a regular diaty of every expense (as low as Rs 2), who came to visit, what is happening in the house, amma’s entire treatment – doctors, diagnosis, medicine details everything. But most surprising to me were the gazals he had written. Meenu bua said that she knew Bauji did amazing shayari, but I’m sure none of the grandchildren ever got a whiff of that. As kids we knew him as a strict grandparent who was always after our studies! (at least for the ones who grew up in Sanganer). Amma was the softer one and I think they both purposely maintained this “Good cop, bad cop” routine 🙂

Here’s a scanned copy of one of his writing’s

Ravi panditji came for the havan. Ravi panditji (earlier his father) have been coming to our home for every pooja/havan that I remember. His father and him have conducted every wedding in our family in Jaipur. I cried for Bauji for the first time today (after his death). During the aarti at the end of havan, I remembered how amma-bauji used to insist that we join for evening prayers, even at the time when there was no temple in Sanaganer and amma had her idols in a small room. How they both used to read excerpts from Geeta and Kalyan (a periodical on religious teachings) and explain the meaning.

As kids we often found these pravachans boring but used to sit through them, just to keep amma-bauji happy but never paid any attention. It was always in from one ear and out from another J. However, I think its because of those sessions that today I know anything about faith. That today I believe there is a god. While a follower of Hinduism, Bauji believed that all gods are one. In one of diary entries (circa 1998) he has written that he went to chaura rasta bazaar (the book market in Jaipur) to find a book on common teachings of all religions but couldn’t find any. More recently (circa 2011) he wrote “God is one”.

I feel I’m lucky I grew up with grandparents. I remember the sweet smell when amma made laddus or halva. I remember how she used to make the gadmad sabzi (a dish prepared 2 days before Diwali and has more than 50 vegetables). That day we will have around 30-40 people for lunch at Sanganer and the dish was packed and sent to relatives. The year before she died, she had asked chacha to make the dish and she was supervising. (Did she knew she won’t be there the next year? Was she ensuring the tradition continued?).

Amma-Bauji used to play rummy for 50p a point. Amma taught me how to play rummy but I never managed to earn much from them :). Cards is also a tradition in Sanganer. Whenever all the brothers and sisters are together, they have to play cards!

Theirs was a love story set in 1940s (Imagine!). Ravi chacha told this story when we were visiting him in Ahmedabad . Bauji used to take tuitions for amma’s brothers  and in return amma’s mother asked him to eat in their home and so started their association :).

As I was growing up, the amount of time I spent with amma-bauji somehow became inversely proportional with age. Growing up, school, friends and tv became more entertaining than spending time with them. I remember after coming back from school, we used to rush to our room on the first floor. Amma used to call us (shouting hard so that her voice would reach our rooms) to come down and we would keep saying after lunch, after homework, 10 mins, 15 mins L.

I wish I knew then, what I’ missing now. I always took grandparents for granted. Where are they going? They would always be there telling their stories, I can always sit with them tomorrow. It was only today that it finally hit me that the tomorrow will never come. For me, one entire generation is gone. When I read bauji’s diaries, the fact that he wrote down who all came to visit and where did the grandchildren go for studies/ after marriage, I realised that all he wanted was for us to spend time with them.

The fact that amma-bauji, nana-nani are no longer there brings home the realization that mummy-papa are also growing older every day. As we get busy in our careers, in raising our families, we pay little attention to our time with them. I don’t want to have any more regrets.


Categories: around us, Family, Old times | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

End of an Era…

Maharani Gayatri Devi

Maharani Gayatri Devi

O! come lets sing of MGD, shout till the rafters ring.
Stand and shout and cheer once again, let every MGDian sing.
Then sing of all the happy hours.
Sing of the carefree days.
Sing of all who may be absent, yet linger in our hearts always.
Of the trees, of the lawns.
Of the pool in it’s glorious loveliness.
Of our staff, of our head.
Of her Highness who started this school for us.
Of the games, of the chums.
Of the council that upholds the rights for us.
Of the Red, of the Blue.
Of the Green and the Orange always.
Then sing of all the happy hours, and of the carefree days.
Sing of all who may be absent, yet linger in our hearts always.
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DD days..

DoordarshanI just realised the title of my last post (…kyonki har ghar kuchch kehta hai)is a potential Ekta Kapoor’s K-series serial title! 🙂 Sometime back I had an urge to watch the old DD serials and I searched all over the net in vain. Couldn’t find any of those that I was looking for. However found Fauji and watched all the episodes again, not that I’m a SRK fan but just for old times sake ☺ Well my search wasn’t totally waste. I found so many old ads that I used to like. In fact I can watch TV only for these ads. I saved the ones that I could to enjoy them over and over ☺
Some of my favourites:
Dhara : “par ghar pe to mummy ne Jalebee banai hai” … “Jalebeeeeee”
All the Cadbury ads (esp the cricket one and also the one with samir soni) “Kuchch khaas hai hum sabhi main”
Oh! I loved Samir Soni, the doodh doodh ad must have really increased milk intake. Atleast I started drinking without giving mom any trouble after that ad.
Amul Butter
Gold Spot .. the zing thing. I think Gold Spot has become extinct now. Haven’t seen the bottle in ages.
there were so many more ..
And then there were the short films on DD. Ek Chidiya, Baje Sargam, Mile sur mera tuharama.
Where have the creative minds gone now? Why are all the channels full of family dramas where everyone is just busy plotting against each other? Women dressed up as if they are part of a wedding even while they are sleeping, the camera keeps doing the back and forth thing, people don’t talk about money under some Crores! ☺ One just can’t associate with them any more. Where are the simple, more closer to life shows of DD? The comedies like ‘Yeh jo hai zindagi’ or ‘Zabaam sambhal ke’ even though it was a copy of the Brit comedy ‘Look who’s talking’ it was great and then there was ‘Dekh Bhai Dekh’. Where are dramas like Hum log, Buniyaad, Kashish, Farmaan, Neev or kids programs like ‘Potli baba ki’ or ‘gayab aaya’. Thrillers like Byomkesh Bakshi and Karamchand. Then there was Rangoli and Chitrahaar.. and who can forget the Sunday morning Ramayana and later Mahabharata. If you happen to go out at 9am on a Sunday morning, you’ll see only deserted streets.
The signature tune (even though it may be thought of as a sad tune) and the swirl..
Missing the good old Doordarshan days.

Categories: Old times | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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