Sundays in Thane in the 1960s

I have been born and brought up in Thane. Though today it is a bustling metropolis, fifty odd years ago it was a small cluster of villages and everyone knew everyone.

I loved the fact that hens and ducks and pigs roamed the streets and that you could hear the church bell peal in the mornings and evenings.

Growing up in Thane in the 60s was special, but the Sundays had a magic of their own. . No mater what the weather, it could be pouring cats and dogs, but Sundays for me even today are always days of sunshine and happiness. If I had to give Sundays a colour, it would be yellow, a lovely smiley sunshine yellow.

Sundays are meant for a lazy snooze in, but I love being up early, especially on a Sunday, knowing that the whole day stretches before me; mine to do what I like; no compulsory chores; just my lazy “me” day.

Sundays have a special smell, coffee, bacon and eggs and mummy’s favourite perfume. As a child, Sunday mornings meant getting ready to go to church, all dressed up and pretty and if I promised to behave well, I got a spray of Mom’s perfume on my wrists. This was a very precious gift as Mom’s perfumes were always hidden in her cupboard which was always locked. So not only did we get to use her perfume, but she had to open the cupboard to get it out and that afforded us a glimpse of that magical place where she kept all her lovely silk saris and jewellery.

Sundays were the days when the whole family sat down to a leisurely breakfast together; Grandpa Willie, Grandma Mary, Dad, Mom, my sisters and me and our dogs Laddie and Trigger, under the table getting scraps of food from everyone.

Sundays always saw a stream of regular visitors to our house. No sooner was breakfast over, than Giprya would be at our door. He was an old vagabond of indiscriminate age. He wore a long oversized black overcoat that someone had given him. He had a battered worn out waking stick too, which I think, he used more to hit out at the stray dogs that barked at him than to help him walk.

His face was thin and gaunt, framed with an unkempt salt and pepper beard. To our utter fascination, he wore earrings. He was always accompanied by his mangy old dog that went by the generic name of Kutriya.

After Giprya, came Mai, an old bent woman, with shockingly pure white hair. She wore old baggy dresses and smiled her toothless smile when we gave her food that she liked.  And boy, she sure had a temper. Once my grandmother gave her some leftover vegetable made from bitter gourd. She looked at it suspiciously and asked Grandma what it was. On being told that it was karela, she overturned the bowl and dumped the contents in anger at Grandma’s feet. Though the adults were affronted by this, I, at five, found it absolutely fascinating that she had the guts to do that to my grandmother, who could be pretty tyrannical when she wanted to.

Then it was the turn of the dhobi. I love the ritual of him and Mom sitting and counting the clothes and arguing about a bed sheet he had not returned or a shirt of Dad’s that he had not ironed well enough.

While this colourful parade of visitors graced our door, Grandpa would be in the back yard, deciding which hen would go into the pot for our lunch that day. We always watched in wonder as he deftly wring the neck of the hapless hen and dressed and cut the bird.

Lunch was a grand affair, with “dal curry”, rice, “appars”, cutlets, salad and either mutton or chicken along with a fugath; and of course dessert. The meal was cooked by Mom and Grandma, using recipes handed down over generations.

Though Sunday was a holiday, it was the one day no one would be outside playing. Playing with friends was for the weekdays like lessons and school. Sunday was totally family time and it was generally spent at home.

In the evenings, we would go over to Grandma Bessie’s house. Mom’s sister would come with her family. The adults including Grandma Bessie and Mom’s brothers would all sit to play Carrom or Scrabble or some other games where all the kids too could join in.

My uncles, Newman and Oscar, who were bachelors, would compete in the kitchen, to produce the most exotic dish. We loved these competitions as we got to taste things like mushrooms and noodles and other dishes which did not otherwise form part of our diet.

The grand finale of the day was being rocked to sleep by Grandpa Willie .Though it’s been almost 45 years now, I can still hear his voice as he sang lullabies to us.

Yes. Sunday’s were truly magical and maybe it is the memory of the Sundays of my childhood that spills over to make Sundays feel special even today.

 

 

This post was written in response to the prompt on Friday Reflections . Friday Reflections is a link up hosted by Shalini at KohlEyed Me, Corinne at Everyday Gyaan.

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Here’s how #FridayReflections works:

    1. Write a post using one of the prompts for the week provided below.
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Prompts for 1st June  2018 are:

1. Write about a place or city you love.
2. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”- Eleanor Roosevelt
3. Picture prompt. (Image credit : Shalini Nair)

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We look forward to reading your posts. Please attempt to visit and comment on all the posts linked here. Do come back on Monday and vote for your favourite.

Putting others in our boxes

Today as I walked from the library where I conduct my creative writing classes to the auto rickshaw stand, I saw an old couple and a younger woman talking on the footpath. Judging by their body language they were either neighbours or close acquaintances; not family though. That kind of closeness was missing.

They were speaking loud enough for me to hear.

“We go to Dr.A.”, said the elderly gentleman.

“Oh!” said the younger woman, who I guessed to be in her 40s. “Why don’t you go to Dr. B. He is at XYZ hospital.”

“We are perfectly comfortable with our present doctor and satisfied with his treatment.”

“But you must visit Dr. B once. He is really very good.”

“So is our doctor”, said the old man a trifle impatiently.

With that they were no longer in my hearing zone and I went on my way pondering the innumerable times I have had similar conversations in my life.

How many times have well meaning friends and relatives tried to tell me that every other doctor is better than mine; every other home remedy is better than the ones I use; every other place is better to shop at than the one I patronize; every other author is better than my favourite one.

Why do we always try to force an opinion down people’s throats even if we are aware that it makes them uncomfortable?

Why do we need everyone to fit in “our” boxes? Why don’t we like it when other people’s boxes are of a different shape and dimension to ours? Why do we need them to come into our comfort zone even if it means that they have to leave their own?

Is it because we are afraid of them being different from us or because we are scared to be different from them?

What do you think? Do share your thoughts in the comment section.

 

This post was written in response to the prompt, “Write about an interesting conversation you overheard recently” for Friday Reflections

 

Friday Reflections is a link up hosted by Shalini at KohlEyed Me and Corinne at Everyday Gyaan. 

Here’s how #FridayReflections works:

  1. Write a post using one of the prompts for the week provided below.
  2. Use the hashtag #FridayReflections. Please follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group.
  3. Add your link to the linky below.
  4. Use our #FridayReflections badge to encourage other bloggers to join in too.
  5. Visit and comment on the posts of other bloggers linked here.

Prompts for 5th January 2018 – choose any one:

  1. Write about an interesting conversation you overheard recently.

  2. “As long as you feel like a victim, you are one.” – Morgan Freeman

  3. Picture prompt – credit (Corinne Rodrigues)

Endlessly

 

I walk through the house

Listlessly

It seems so big somehow

And so empty.

I strain my ears.

Is that your voice I hear?

That laugh that was so typically you.

I close my eyes and I can breathe in the scent of your body,

Feel its warmth surrounding me.

I reach out and can touch you,

Feel the texture of your skin

So achingly familiar.

I open my eyes reluctantly

To find myself alone

As I wait for you

Endlessly.

 

 

This post is in response to the Friday reflections prompt of the week: “Sometimes waiting is the hardest thing of all.” – Luanne Rice

A golden dragon, that’s who I’d be.

dragon-238931_1280One of the prompts on this week’s Friday Reflections was “ If you were an animal what would you be and why?”  Writing in response to this prompt makes me feel like a student in one of my creative writing classes. How often have I asked them to write on this topic, but never have I attempted to do so.  Ah well, there is a first time for everything and so here goes!

If I had to choose to be any animal in the world, I would choose to be a dragon; a beautiful golden dragon!

The reason I’d be a dragon is because I was born in the year of the dragon, but even before I knew that fact, dragons fascinated me. I never saw them as horrible evil creatures meant to be slain. To me, they were magical creatures who had tremendous power. They were the wisest of all beasts and the most regal. In fact the true king of the beasts would be the dragon not the lion.

And why a golden dragon? Because it is the most intelligent and pure of all dragons.  They are magical and can change their form at will. Though they are immensely strong, they prefer talking things over rather than using force. Their mission is to end evil and that is something I rather fantasize doing.

Whenever I imagine a golden dragon, I see a creature of great strength yet with such grace of movement that it is beauty in motion. Combine it with a mind of rare intelligence and what more could you want to be?

I imagine myself soaring across the moon, and swooping back down in a breathtaking dive. I imagine changing forms to tackle evil and making the earth a better place.  Oh what fun I would have belching out fire at corrupt politicians, paedophile priests and other such scum of the earth! I would be magical and good and powerful!  What other reason is needed to be a golden dragon?

What animal would you choose to be? Do leave your answer in the comments. I would love to know!

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You may also like to read my other blog post https://thequillofthephoenix.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/book-review-fighting-for-tara-by-sunanda-chatterjee/

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