Handmade Toy Violin.

Every now and then a street vendor goes around hawking handmade toy violins on Indian streets playing catchy and popular tunes to entice unsuspecting buyers. Earlier this morning, one such vendor went by our home playing one of my favourite Hindi film songs.

Unsuspecting because, while he will play quite well any piece that you will select, you bring it home and try to play on it you simply will not be able to and inevitably the piece simply gets thrown away. I speak from personal experience.

Here are two such vendors showing off their skills.

Diwali / Deepavali At Home.

Since the day before yesterday, we have been in our annual Diwali mood and today is the culmination with two more days of tapering off to come.

Some photographs taken just a few minutes ago showing the festival of lights in all its glory at home, starting with one of my daughter in love Manjiree, lighting up a few lamps that had extinguished in the wind.

Victoria And Abdul.

My friend and I were the only two viewers and so the multiplex decided to show Victoria and Abdul to us in their Gold Class theater which gave us reclining chairs and a smaller auditorium but also charged three times the normal price. Having gone all that far sacrificing our siestas, we decided to see it any way.

I am glad that we did. I shall come to the rating part of it later but Judi Dench does not disappoint. I had never Ali Fazal before and I was impressed with his performance as well.

The story is very human and touching but weak for all that. A highly unlikely one, it tries to white wash a bit of the colonial era with little success.

If at all you wish to see it, see it for the histrionics of Dench and Fazal besides some excellent photography.

I would rate it at a mere three out of five stars.

Memory Trigger 20. Oil Bath.


In my community of Tamil Brahmins, the deepavali day starts with the lady of the house applying oil on the head of all members of the family. Everyone then goes to take a bath and comes out to partake in the festivities that would follow.

My late mother used to do this for us when we were children and after we grew up whenever she was with one of us, she would do the same. The last time that she did it for me was in 1998, the year before she bid us all goodbye.

During the mid seventies, I was posted to a company gated community where some young Management Trainees were housed in Bachelor Quarters and the ones from Tamil Nadu used to spend a lot of time in our home as ours was one of the two Tamilian homes in the compound.

One such bachelor of those days, parted company with my then employer in 1982 and dropped out of sight. Before that, I had visited him during a vacation at his home to meet his parents and have very happy memories of that visit when I was extended an amazing hospitality and gifted with a reed mat by his father which lasted for over forty years.

This friend from those days, suddenly rang me up last week after having obtained my telephone number through a very circuitous but persistent effort and threw me for a literal toss! After having caught up with all that had happened since then in our lives, we asked about verious people of mututal acquaintance.

Hearing from him after 35 years was an amazing experience and both of us went on a nostalgia trip talking about our days at the compound. He particularly remembered the two occasions when he had the privilege of getting oil applied on his head by my mother and spending Deepavali with us at home enjoying the goodies throughout the day.

Just another story to bring back old memories and regrets? No, the punchline is in the friend’s name. Mohammed Iqbal.