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?

Nostalgia 6. Badge Of Honour.

My regular readers will be aware of one of my physical limitations that has bothered me for a dozen years now. It is called Right Ulnar Palsy and it makes it difficult for me to hold things tightly in my right hand. This caused two problems for me earlier today and the second one is this.

That is me with a stained white t-shirt unable to take a better selfie with my right hand.

The first one was what caused the yellow stains in the first place. I was eating mangoes as dessert for lunch. Since our cook was off on holiday today, our char cut the mangoes. Had the cook been there, she would have cut the mangoes without the skin and the stone completely scraped off and I could have simply had the fruit from a bowl using a spoon.

With the mangoes cut differently, I had to eat the mangoes like this:

After seeing the first slice being eaten if you go to 1.40 minutes, you will see how the flesh from the stone is consumed.

My ulnar palsy played up and the stone slipped out of my hand and fell on my t-shirt. That is the stain that you see on the first image.

Why nostalgia?

During my school days, as soon as the mango season started, the first classmate with a stained vest under the uniform shirt was given a badge of honour by the rest of the class. One of course had to deliberately stain the vest to earn this badge! I never did get the badge of honour though as, I could not afford to get the vest stained for fear of punishment from a martinet for a father!

Have you had some mangoes lately? How did you eat them?

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.

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?

Landline Telephony.

This post has been inspired by this fascinating report in The Guardian. Having used these Phone Boxes any number of times during my visits to the UK, I can relate to the writer’s take.

I have a landline connection from BSNL. I have had the pleasure of using this number since December 1990 when we moved into our current home and it is a simple number to remember. I have two instruments, one fixed and another with a portable handset kept conveniently close to my recliner chair.

Unfortunately however, except for one friend who too has a landline, nobody other than the phone company ever calls this number.  Many of my friends who used to have landlines have surrendered their connections for various reasons.  I use it to call landline numbers of shops and establishments from where I need some service but, even these are simpler to reach through my mobile phone.

Cable TV, WiFi providers, water conduits and drainage chutes all fight for underground space and inevitably, the landline telephone cable gets cut repeatedly and it takes for ever to get repairs done to it and so, most of the time we are without a landline connection.

I have been nostalgic and am also more comfortable with the landline but, the sheer convenience of the mobile phones and the fact that most of the time the landline does not work, has made me also to reconsider my position. So, I tried to approach the BSNL to surrender my connection but find no way of doing it online and perhaps will have to go personally to their office to do so. I am however determined to get it disconnected one way or the other.

Are you still using a landline telephone? What is your experience?

Food, Exotic Sweets.

For those of you who do not know, I am an Indian with roots in Tamil Nadu. Yesterday was Tamil New Year Day. Rather than go through the hassles of making a traditional sweet to bring in the new year, I decided to get something that my daughter in love would not have ever had before. Since my late wife had her roots in Andhra Pradesh, I decided to get something that she had liked very much and had ordered for it well in time.  The goodies came from a village called Atreyapuram and are called Putharekulu.
The rolls that you see inside are not tissue paper but, look like it.  They are sheets made out of rice and this video will show how it is done.

The version that I procured contains different types of sweet stuffing and one of them exclusively dry fruits.

Incidentally, as I write this, it is Bengali New Year. My daughter in love is half Bengali and half Maharashtrian. The Bengali half, her mother, is with us to celebrate both the new years. She in turn has made a traditional milk / vermicelli sweet dish called Payesh for the occasion.

These are the most satisfying treats that I am having after a very long time. Brings back many memories including one of actually seeing and helping in making putharekulu being made at my late wife’s maternal home. And the Payesh is the icing on the cake too! Total bliss.