I Am So Old.

I received this as a WhatsApp message and I immediately went all nostalgic.

Telephone.:
My earliest telephone was this:
I wonder if the generation that started with dial up phones even knew of this!

The next phone that I used was one were you lifted the handset off the base and waited for an operator to respond to connect you to another party within that telephone exchange’s area.
Or, for long distance calls called trunk calls those days, you went to the local Post Office to book one of the following. Ordinary, Urgent or Lightening with escalating charges for each. The dial less phone set would usually be in a cabin and one waited till the clerk signalled you to go there to talk.
Or, one used this:
The most frustrating part of this was when the time ran out and you did not have more coins to feed the beast.

By this time, that is around the mid nineties of the last century, one could get telephone connections fairly easily but, long distance dial up calls were mostly not subssribed to, as neighbours would otherwise pester one. One had to book a call and wait for the exchange to connect you to the called party.

Then came these:
PCOs or, Public Call Offices changed telephony in India by the late eighties. One could go to these booths and make International Subsriberer Dialling and / or Subscriber Trunk Dialling (ISD< STD)
Finally came the cell phones in mid nineties, and since then, the landscape is unrecognizable.

Radio:
My first exposure to a radio was this:
One was forced to listen to what Akashvani dished out with the exception of Radio Ceylon’s Binaca Geetmala. This was a luxury and this was replaced by a radiogram which had a radio and a record player built into it.
Then we moved on in succession to transistor radio, record player and walkman till the mobile phone made all these redundant.


Television:
The fist TV set that I bought was a Konarak Black & White as India did not have colour television till the eighties.
I then moved on to Colour TV and by 1983 had to invest in a VCR!
We would borrow Video Cassettes from libraries to watch movies which in those days was a great convenience.

Today, all those gadgets have disappeared and we use computers and cable television for our entertainment at home. For music, the choice that is available within mobile telephones is simply mind blowing.

Camera.:
The earliest camera that I remember seeing was my father’s Rolliflex.
When I was thirteen, I was gifted with this:

Unicode

Both used Black & White roll films which after shooting, had to be taken to a studio to be developed and printed. Colour films came much later and those became redundant with the arrival of digital cameras{
You couldn’t take selfies with any of them!  Those too now are redundant with mobile phones offering excellent built in camera facilities.

What a journey it has been!

Kooja.

This is called kooja in Tamil and Phirkicha Tambya in Marathi. It is a vessel with a screw on cap which used to be store and carry drinking water.

Pre-filled plastic bottles have now replaced these but, during my childhood this was seen during all train and bus journeys.

The following image is a caricature of an Indian politician with two yes men behind him.
Yes men are till today called Koojas in Tamil Nadu as they used to carry water for their bosses in such vessels.

In Hindi and other North Indian languages, they are called chamchas the original word still used in regular conversations means a spoon.

Have you ever been a kooja/chamcha or had one? I have both.

A Painful Experience.

Yes, I got bitten by a dog for the first time ever in my life.

I have grown up with pet dogs and have almost always had a dog or two at home and have also interacted with many pet dogs of friends and relatives. I have however not experienced what I did two evenings ago when a pet dog of a friend of mine decided that it would not be friendly and bit me hard on my hand that I had stretched towards it to pet and make friends with it.

It has been a very painful experience despite medication and treatment. I now realise how difficult it would be for someone with only one hand to manage alone in today’s world.

A great lesson learnt and to be thankful for what I have. Also gratitude that I have got away so lightly compared to some others who have paid greater prices for being careless with dogs.

This is the current state of my left hand. Swollen and with two band-aids covering the deepest of the wounds. There are eight more that have dried up which do not need band-aids any more.
Have you ever been bitten by a dog?

Memory Trigger – Caravelle.

Very often just a word can trigger off some long forgotten memory and bring back vivid images to one’s mind. At least this happens to me often and that is exactly what happened this morning when a friend recalled something from his past.

Before proceeding, my friend is a retired Indian Air Force Officer and is around my age.

He was relating a story to me about security arrangements in the IAF stations when he recalled a civilian aircraft landing in the IAF station where he was posted then. He mentioned that it was a Caravelle of the Indian Airlines and that immediately triggered off a vivid memory. I waited for him to finish of his narrative and explained to him my recollection and he too was amazed that a single word brought so much back to me.

It was July 1971, yes, fifty years ago, when my fifteen day old son flew an Indian Airlines Caravelle flight from Hyderabad to Bombay as it was then called. He was coming to his parental home from his mother’s maternal one and was being carried by his mother in her arms.

Airports then did not have all the rigmaroles that we have now.  My parents and I were waiting for his arrival at the arrival lounge from where we could see the tarmac where the flight offloaded passengers.

The tension was palpable as passengers started disembarking from the front door.  The last one got off and the ground crew started to go up the steps to clean etc and still no sign of my wife and my son.  The three of us started to worry.  There were no mobile phones those days to get in touch instantly with the person presumed to have missed the flight.  We then saw a sight that is still etched deeply into my consciousness.

My wife was the last to disembark and the memory that I cannot forget is her coming down the steps from the rear of the aircraft, taking a bundle from an air hostess who was escorting her, and walking slowly with the precious little bundle in her arms all the way from the aircraft to the arrival lounge.   The precious bundle swiftly changed hands. I was present at his arrival in Hyderabad so, he was no novelty to me but, to my parents, their first grandchild was, and I can still recollect the happy noises and cooing from them there in the airport lounge.

The most unforgettable aspect of that entire episode was the disembarking from the rear as is shown in the image below, alas not of the Indian Airlines Caravelle. I had flown Caravelles before and had never used the rear exit and did not even know that there was one.   Seeing this was a surprise to me.  You will see from the image above that there was only one door for the Indian Airlines aircraft.  My wife then explained that since she was carrying an infant in her hands, the Captain had arranged for this as a special case.

Other than Military aircrafts, I don’t think that this access is in existence anymore in Civilian Aircrafts. I had never used one ever despite having flown countless number of times all over the world. Have you?

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

Broccoli.

The image above could well be that of me and my younger brother when we were teenagers going to school in Chennai. We did not have a dining table at home those days and sat on the floor  to eat like most Indians even now do.

Just above our heads would have been a window facing our garden below. We were on the first floor as tenants and the ground floor was occupied by another family.

When anything that we did not like was served to us, both of us would simply chuck it over our shoulders through the window when our mother was not watching.

That is, till one day, the ground floor neighbour found the time to catch hold of my father to complain about food being thrown in his garden.

You can imagine the rest.

This memory came rushing back to me when I read this cartoon yesterday.