Thursday, October 28, 2010

For Tvisha - 2nd Grade, Age 6 (1972)

Dear Tvisha,

My first Television experience

This was the year the black and white television was introduced for the first time in India. All the programs were broadcast by a broadcasting station called Doordarshan, which was owned by the government. There were no cable companies.

There was a neighbor of ours, Capt. Mani. He was the first one in our apartment building to own a TV back then. He and his family were kind enough to let a lot of the kids in the building to come to their apartment daily in the evenings to watch the shows on the television. As you can understand television was like a magic box for us, something we had never experienced in our lives.

The shows we used to watch regularly would be a 30 minute program that showed Indian movie songs. Every Sunday evening we would get to watch an Indian movie. And twice a week they would show the Flintstones, a show I used to love.

Shopping and Chocolates

My mother (your paati) used to take me shopping to the local mom and pop stores around our neighborhood to buy regular non perishable groceries, coffee, etc. Like most kids I used to love chocolate candies with my favorite being Cadbury’s. There would be a fight with my mom every time we used to go to the shops, where I would want chocolate candy and she would vehemently deny me the same. But the shopkeepers, especially the shop from where we used to buy freshly ground coffee, would give me a free chocolate, usually Cadbury’s Eclairs if I listened to my mom and behaved well. That was funny.

So you see daddy loved and still loves chocolates just like you do. The chocolate candies I use to like and eat the most then used to be the Cadbury’s milk chocolate bars and Cadbury’s Plus bar, a chocolate bar filled with semi hard raspberry Jell-O inside. I am sure you would have loved that particular kind :-).

Broken Bones

This was the only time I have broken any bones in my body, and hopefully will be the last time. I got my right hand fractured. My brother Krish and his friends were playing a version of tag it in our friend’s apartment, running around at a good speed in the very small apartment.

I, who was very small in size compared to the others wanted to participate as well. I slipped while running and fell. At the same time one of the guys stepped over my right wrist and broke my wrist.

I didn’t cry by the way, but was in extreme pain. We went to the doctor and got my hand in a cast right away. What was worse than the pain due to the broken wrist was the itching sensation on my hand inside the cast, and I couldn’t do anything about it but bear it. Grrrrr!!

All Aboarrrrd

The trains that ran back and forth all over Bombay and from Bombay to other cities in India used to pass by very near our apartment building. As a kid I used to love the sound of the trains passing by at a high speed with their horns blaring. We had to resort to real trains since we didn’t have Thomas train amongst us in India during that time :-).

The railway tracks were pretty close to our building, a couple of blocks away on the other side of a park. We used to go to the park to play, and sit and watch the trains go by.

There was one particular train that I was very fond of, called the Deccan Queen. Unlike the other trains, this train had special colors (beige top and navy blue in the bottom) and was the pride of the railways. It used to run between Bombay and Poona, and covered the distance in less than 3 hours. There were only a couple of stops between the two cities.

One could get all kinds of delicacies in the train to eat which you couldn’t in rest of the trains. There was a kitchen in the train and orders for food would be taken before the train left the city and would be delivered hot and fresh shortly. The train used to pass by exactly at 5.25 pm every evening. It still does :-).

If you remember when you were just around 16 months old on your first trip to Bombay back in 2007, I took you to the over bridge from where we saw the Deccan Queen go by, although not at a very fast speed that day. I know you love trains, and I was so excited by the fact that I could let you also experience a part of my past. Between now and then, the only difference is that now the colors of the cars are red, white and grey.

We also used to make a lot of trips to South India. My mother liked to visit the temples and her relatives, and every summer vacation the whole family would go on such trips. Krish and I used to fight for the window seat in the train.

Apart from the train ride the biggest thrill for us used to be watching the engine pulling the train cars from our seat windows when the train took a turn. And the engines were so grand looking, either electric engines, engines powered by diesel, and steam engines. Nowadays when we travel all we see are electric engines, and the days of the steam engines are long gone by and the diesel engines are almost extinct. Oh Tvisha, I miss those days!

- Appa