Nostalgia 3.

The last post on Nostalgia that I wrote was in September last year. I find it strange that there have not been other triggers that could have led me to write other posts since then.

Be that as it may, there is another trigger which brings back so many memories that I have been revisiting many incidents that I had experienced those days.

A Facebook post showed this image with the question “Do you remember?”

I had responded with “As a travelling salesman in the sixties of the last century, the holdall was an absolute necessity. I slept in trains, waiting rooms and once even in a police station with the permission of the inspector because I missed the last bus. The suitcase with the khaki cover shown below too was part of all regular travellers as the cover protected the expensive suitcase.”

The holdall shown above was a long canvass bag with a pouch at each end. One first placed a covered in cotton cover mattress like this in it.
This mattress was tucked into the pouches at both end and then, one end was filled with a pillow while the other was with a bed sheet and/or a blanket. It was then folded over from each end and then folded over once again in the middle, and fastened with buckles and straps on the top.

The holdall contained other pockets to keep other things like clothing or books or whatever and had a handle to carry it with ease.  The pouches on both ends inside were also used to store clothes and other materials below the pillow and the sheet/blanket.

The khaki cloth covered suitcase at the bottom was another familiar sight among regular travellers as, the suitcases were either made with pure or imitation leather and were very expensive. All luggage stores those days had either an in-house tailor or one close by who made the covers on the spot after one bought a suitcase. Believe me, these suitcases were covered because they were expensive and had to be protected to last long.

A tour normally would be of three weeks duration, sometimes taking a few days more on emergency calls.  We depended on the Indian Postal Service for Care-Of-Post Master mails and to receive and send money and mail.  We carried Postal Identity Cards without which we could not use those facilities.  We also had to strictly adhere to the pre-drawn itinerary so that mail could be collected.  One did not use the telephone those days unless in emergencies as calls were expensive.

Almost all the travellers of those days that I knew had the habit of reading and all major Railway Stations had book stalls that sold books and magazines besides daily newspapers.  That and where one could, seeing movies in the local theatres were the only ways to fight loneliness.

In retrospect, when I now compare today’s travellers to those of then, I can’t but wonder how we and I particularly survived those adventures sleeping where we could, using laundry facilities where we could and eating food in all kinds of outlets.

Have you ever used or come across such holdalls and covered suitcases?

Memory And Food.

A facebook post showed this image and asked if the reader had ever had it.
I responded that I had indeed had and would like to have it again if I could lay my hands on some.

Having posted that, I just could not recall the name for the sweet to send for and so posted the image on some WhatsApp pages of local friends and asked for its name and where I could get it.

I got two responses and typically for Pune, one gave me a name popular in the Old City and the other, the name popular among a particular type of vendors. I discovered that the latter is more popular and that it is Goad Kandi Shev.

While I was going through all the above adventure, I also remembered a similar sweet being made at home and again, no matter how hard I tried and googled for it, could not get the name. So, I took the help of WhatsApp again and sent to my sister and a childhood friend who too promptly sent me the name Manogaram. There is a family in Chennai who make many South Indian preparations at home and offer them online and I ordered for two packets of the same which came earlier today.
It is made of different material but my readers should be able to see why I was reminded of it because of its shape.

The Online shop offering this is named Sweet Karam Coffee.  Karam is pronounced Kaaram, and means savoury. Whenever the mood takes me, I get some snacks from them and I recommend them to all my friends too.

Do you have such memory failures on names of food?

The Guru!

My former colleague and friend MLB surprised me with a post on Facebook with a dedication of this song to me with the comments: “One of my favourite songs. I dedicate this song to my Guru Ramana Rajgopaul. 🌺🌺❤️🙏”

I have known MLB for nearly half a century and both of us have much to be nostalgic about the “good old days”.  That he suddenly decided to surprise me with this dedication is really very touching and I am deeply thankful to him.   Quite why he dedicated this particular song about a boxer is a mystery to me.  I have, not to the best of my recollection, ever taught him to box nor ever boxed with him!

It is my turn to dedicate this post to him.

For those interested, the lyrics for the song are:  Here is another mystery.  Why is it called The Boxer?

I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station
Running scared
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places only they would know
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie, la la lie la lie
Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
La-la-la-la-la-la-la
Now the years are rolling by me
They are rocking evenly
And I am older than I once was
And younger than I’ll be
But that’s not unusual
No, it isn’t strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are
More or less the same
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie
Lie la lie, lie la lie la lie la lie, la la lie la lie

Nostalgia 2.

My friend DM who lives in England posted this on his Facebook page:

“We went for a walk this p.m. and were reminiscing…. got to comparing our childhood with “These days”…. We came up with a list of things that were not available to we mere mortals back in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s….
Aubergines
Papayas,
Chinese Gooseberries (now called Kiwi Fruit)
Kumquats
Lychees
(all sorts of things…)
Funny how I can recall the fruit..
So…. what didn’t you have when you were growing up? What was only available in tins (cans)?”

I had responded with:
“The only thing that I remember coming out of a can was a cooking medium called Dalda. Everything else was bought and consumed with hardly anything being stored other than rice, pulses and flour. We did not have refrigerators. So everything perishable was bought at need and used up immediately.”

And DM’s response was simply mindblowing and brought back other memories with which many of my regular readers will connect.

“My parents bought their first ‘fridge in (about) 1958. The mechanism started to leak gas two days after the warranty expired….. other wise we had a stone shelved larder in most of the cottages we lived in.

A lot of foodstuffs were preserved by bottling (canning), beans were salted …. we even salted runner beans in the 1970s when we were first married….other tricks were used… eggs were preserved in isinglass (from sturgeons’ swim bladders) and milk was kept cool buy dint of evaporating water from a cloth covering the bottle or can.
We were never rich enough to afford the land to build an ice house…

 

To reflect back on those days without refrigerators and other modern conveniences has been quite a nostalgic trip. It took me to many other thoughts some of which can be found in this blog post.”

Gone Fishing.

My friend SG had this to say on his Facebook post: “This is probably a sure sign that I am getting old, but I absolutely love “Gone Fishing” with Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse. Stunning locations, gentle banter and great fishing – what’s not to like?”

That took me back to the early nineties of the last century and Chris Rea.

I posted this in response to SG and we then exchanged the following messages.

SG: Please watch the programme if you can. It is on BBC 2 here, I think. It is hosted by two aging comedians in their early 60s who are recovering from life threatening health conditions, so a lot of meditations on life and mortality (all presented in a light-hearted way).

I: I have seen a few clips on youtube recommended by some friends. Quite interesting but, not my cup of tea. I am not as old as you are.

(There is over two decades of age difference between us.)

For those interested, the lyrics for Chris Rea’s song:

I’m going fishing
I got me a line
Nothin’ I do’s gonna’ make the difference
So I’m taking the time
And you ain’t never gonna’ be happy
Anyhow, anyway
So I’m going fishing
And I’m going today
I’m going fishing
Sounds crasy I know
I know nothing about fishing
But just watch me go
And when my time has come
I will look back and see
Peace on the shoreline
That could have been me
You can waste whole lifetime
Trying to be
What you think is expected of you
But you’ll never be free
May as well go fishing.

Chris Rea interview – summer 1991, for the song ”Gone Fishing”.

“I know a lot of people have remarked to me they have listened to the record, “I like that song, that’s what we should do, just go fishing, forget about everything”. The funny thing about that song is as I say in the song, I don’t know anything about fishing. he bottom line of the tune is that when you get to the last day of your life and you look back, and you see how many hours you’ve spent in traffic-jams, pushing and shoving, how many hours you’ve spent elbowing people out of the way and being elbowed out of the way; You just thing to yourself I wish I had all them hours back, cos I may as well have gone fishing…”

Hard Life.

An exchange of messages on Facebook between me and my good friend Rajinder.

Rajinder Kumar Sharma

This life’s hard but it’s easy if you’re stupid

Ramana Rajgopaul
It is very easy for me Rajinder. I leave the rest to your imagination.

Rajinder Kumar Sharma
Ramana Rajgopaul I talk about humans and not about Mahatmas.
Pranam.

Ramana Rajgopaul
You know what would have happened had you been within arm’s reach don’t you?

Rajinder Kumar Sharma.

I would have hugged you.

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Another friend BKK sent me a message on WhatsApp and asked me why I had left fb.

(I had left a WhatsApp group in which both BKK and I were members.)

I responded that I am still on fb.

He is too embarrassed over his goof to respond. I however hope that he does so that I can have some more fun.