Nostalgia 7. The Oldest Thing In My Home.

A post on Facebook asked this question:

This took me back to 1975 and a very dear friend AC, who also happened to have been my boss at that time. He was retiring and moving to Andorra and was simplifying his possessions to suit the accommodation that awaited him in Andorra.

I was a struggling young man with a small family and had very little furniture. AC knew this well as he had visited our home often. He asked me if I could do him a favour by taking some furniture off his hands and offered two massive arm chairs and a quarter century old chest of drawers. A favour? Those were God sent gifts and I grabbed them with both hands and much gratitude.

The two armchairs, as old as the chest of drawers gave up their ghosts long ago but looked somewhat like this one below.

The Chest Of Drawers however continues to go strong and sits comfortably in my bedroom just short of three years to reach its Platinum Jubilee.

What is the oldest thing in your home?

Gangubai Kathiawadi.


Kamathipura is Mumbai’s Red Light Area and has been that since time immemorial. If you were born and have lived in Mumbai like I have, there is just no way that you will not come to hear about it. It is also located in such a place that many people pass it while on their way to and from places of work or on other errands.

Despite my association with Mumbai since my birth and having lived there the longest before I put down roots in Pune, I had never heard about Gangubai and this movie forced me to go back in history and read about her.

Seeing the movie, was a mind blowing experience for me for its accuracy with period costumes, vehicles, trains, train compartments etc and I kept going back down memory lane on many occasions.

The story about the Mafia Queen as she was once called, who strove to ensure safety and dignity for the sex workers of Kamathipura is in itself another remarkable lesson in history for me. Seeing her come alive through the excellent acting of Alia Bhat under excellent direction of Sanjay Leela Bhansali is something that I will not forget very soon.

I had not been to a movie since well before the onset of Covid and sitting through this one has been another landmark achievement as it were.

I am grateful to my DIL for having persuaded me to see it and to my son for sharing the experience with both of us.

I urge my Indian readers to see it if they have not already seen it and my overseas readers to see it too as I am advised that it has been released overseas with English sub-titles.

It has been a long time since I reviewed a movie in my blog and it gives me great pleasure to give this a rating of four and a half stars.

Sales Calls.

My curt responses to many sales calls on my cellphone have reduced the number of calls that I receive to perhaps one or two in a week. I find them most annoying as I am sure are all my readers.

I get calls pitching new flats, health insurance policies, loans, etc mostly but, today I just burst out laughing when I received a call promoting a Matrimonial Site.

There was this very sweet voice saying, “Sorry to disturb you sir but, I am calling from xyz Matrimony.” My initial reaction was to burst out laughing which must have puzzled the lady and when I eventually told her that I am 79 years old, even she burst out laughing, apologised for calling and disconnected.

Have you been approached on a telephone call by a Matrimonial site?

Nostalgia 5.

My daughter in love went shopping for vegetables yesterday and saw freshly arrived ground nuts, called peanuts by the Americans, and knowing my weakness for it, bought a pile of it.

I got it steamed in a pressure cooker and sat down to shell them.

That is when nostalgia kicked in taking me back to my childhood when my mother used to ask the four of us siblings to shell the nuts. We used to call that a picnic as, while shelling for storage, we used to keep popping some as we went along. I did not pop any while I shelled because I am still recovering from a tooth extraction but, am looking forward to doing so soon enough from the shelled and refrigerated stock.
Apart from the picnic nostalgia another memory of a late friend kept coming up. That of VB, a dear friend who used to get the snacks for our parties. He used to specially get these boiled groundnuts for me and inevitably say, “Nuts for a nut from a nut!” It has been a long time since I remembered him.
Here is a stock photograph from Alamy showing Indian village children having a picnic like we used to have in our childhood.

How do you like your ground/peanuts?

Phone Box At The Edge Of The World.

After reading my blog post Landline Telephony, my sister Padmini asked me on WhatsApp if I had read the book Phone Box At The Edge Of The World. I responded that I had not and asked her if it was worth reading. She promptly responded with an “Yes.” I value her judgement on literature and promptly bought the book to read on my Kindle device.

I have not been reading fiction except for two of my favourite authors who write Action Books, and this totally different genre came as a big surprise to me.

The book from the very first page grips one and the pace keeps increasing as one progresses. The contents pull just about every string in your emotions as you proceed and in short a totally engrossing book.

As hard to imagine the set up claimed to be real of a non functional phne box in Japan used by people to talk their hearts out, characterisation and descriptions take the reader to a very different place than the normal fiction does.

An Italian writer writing about a Japanese situation adds spice to the experience and the translation into English is admirable for not losing nuances.

If you have not read it, please do. Well worth the expense and the time spent on it.

The Weather.

For the first time since I started to live in Pune thirty two years ago, the summer season has forced me to instal an air conditioner in our drawing room.

Two factors are cited the foremost being global warming / climate change and the deforestation on the mountains that surround our city. The cool breeze that used to come down from there, has disappeared and now we are paying the price for that folly.  We get hot winds instead.

The past two weeks have been particularly bad as apart from the heat, in the high thirties low forties during the day, humidity has been high for our plateau climate and that has made it more uncomfortable for us. Dry heat is less debilitating whereas the humidity saps one of one’s energy.

As I write this, it has been over cast and the high has been 38 deg C and forecast to be 25 deg C during the night. Humidity at 51% is very high for us.

As my readers know that I am a Pluviophile and I am impatient for some heavy downpours. Our monsoon season that normally starts by early June seems an eternity off.

How is the climate where you live?