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Being Me--12

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

By now our Menagerie included an Alsation Dog named "Pasha"----a very bad tempered beast---but a very good Night Patroller for the entire street!!!Then there was "Cutie" ,a tiny Skye Terrier Bitch---sweet natured and loving.The main "Star" of our home was our pure bred Siamese Cat named "Polar Bear"---a really snooty animal---reduced by Ritu to being called plain "Pussy"!!Polar Bear was originally owned by a British family---and when they returned to England needed a home.Ritu begged and begged Daddy so very piteously that he gave in and brought her home---thinking she was a Tom!!Now he didn't realise that Polar Bear was preganant though Mummy kept wondering at the Cat's ability to gain weight on a daily basis----till the day she used Mummy's best Pashmina Shawl to give birth to her six Kittens in Mummy's closet!!There was such a pandemonium that day----Cutie ran into the room just after the birth let in by an impatient Ritu----barking excitedly and Mummy who was with Polar Bear trying to find a way to extricate both her and the Kittens from the Closet---got so badly scratched on her hand that she needed six stitches!!These six Kittens were so beautiful and cute---pale beige with Cocoa Paws,Ears and Snouts they had each inherited their mother's mis matched eyes---one Emerald Green---the other Sapphire Blue!! Ritu promptly named them in the following manner---Mintoo,Pintoo,Chintoo,Tintoo,Kint
oo and Bintoo---and those poor Kittens began getting smothered by her affections.They quickly replaced her Dolls---she began dressing them up in Doll's clothes and would wrap them up---actually swaddle them up like human babies!!Despite Mummy's spankings and Amma's entreaties---nothing worked---everything always came back to square one---till one day things came to a head!!It had rained heavily the previous night and the Garden was soggy---the Lawn sopping wet.Madame Ritula as usual walked into the Winter Sunlight with her charges and let them play---till she realised how muddy and dirty they'd become!!So before any one could chastise or scold her, she quickly swooped down on them and scooped up all her charges,rushed them into the Bathroom and put the Plug in the Basin.Then she filled the Basin with cold Water----and one by one dropped those poor hapless Kittens in!!The terrible mewling that followed brought Amma rushing in post haste---and then the those poor Babies were rescued,wrapped in thick Turkish Towels and dropped in front of the Heater which was switched on pronto---to help dry them out!!That was the one and only time that Amma lost her cool---in the entire time I'd known her!!She caught hold of Ritu and shook her hard wailing all the time"Yeh kyaa kiyaa Bawaa--Billian mar jayengi toh teraah toley kee Billian banani padengee Sahab ko--woh bhi chhey--Billi maarna Paap hai Bawaa!!"Meaning if these Kittens die---your father will have to make 6 Cat figurines of 130 gms.Pure Gold each---for killing a Cat is considered a Sin!!That day Ritu got it right, left and centre---by evening with the exception of Mintoo the rest were all given away by Mummy to whoever wanted them on first come first serve basis---and Ritu was thoroughly spanked and scolded--and left feeling very sorry for herself!!Very soon this birthing of Kittens became a regular feature in our home---snooty Polar Bear became plain Pussy and stopped discriminating about the pedigree of the Toms!!
Daddy's younger sister---Kusum Atya's family had just shifted to New Delhi from Lucknow and they visited us in early 1965.Both my cousins---Meera 2 years older than me and Vaija 9 months my senior---thought they were very "Sophisticated" compared to us Country Bumpkins---because they'd studied for a while in one of the famous Boarding Schools of Mussoorie---a beautiful Hill Station in the then North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh.We were meeting each other after a long gap of 5 years---and both of them turned up their noses at our Pets---saying that it was cruel to keep Animals as Pets!!!Besides they also laughed at our Agriculturist neighbours-----while enjoying Auntyjee's excellent Yoghurt,Butter and Chhaas!!Later in the year Meera came down to spend part of the Summer Vacation with us---and that was when we set her straight!!
Mummy was a so-so housekeeper---always relying on her Domestic Staff to keep the show running---but unfortunately Amma's ailing father became serious and she had to leave to nurse him.This was a big blow to all of us---specially me ---and the Farewell took place in a flood of tears!!We were not accustomed to so many things---mainly being by ourselves---and besides Ritu was a real terror---needing to be watched constantly!!Ritu loved drinking Mummy's home made Squash by the Bottles---and would only drink it in Daddy's Crystal Glasses---despite being warned again and again against using these.Finally one day a glass finally broke---and all 4 of us were terror struck---Punishment would be meted out to all 3 of us---Ritu for breaking it and Mikki and me not preventing her from using it!!Mummy was very slipper happy---and meteing out spankings was her favourite pastime!!That was when Meera had an idea---we'd dispose off the Glass on the Garage Roof for the time being and then get rid of the broken Glass later---since there was no option we agreed.It was done and forgotten---till a few days later we were very rudely reminded of it.
On a lazy Sunday afternoon when our Parents were out visiting,as usual Ritu climbed on to the Garage Roof to pick a few ripe Grapes from the Muslin Bags---and while climbing down stepped squarely on the jagged edges of the Glass---incurring a very deep cut on her Sole!!!This began bleeding profusely and howling at the top of her voice she somehow managed to climb back up to the Terrace and limp into my Bedroom---leaving a sticky trail of bright red Blood behind her!!It was Mikki's quick thinking that worked--I was totally stunned and Meera fell down in a swoon at the sight of Blood!!Mikki quickly wrapped Ritu's foot in a towel and elevated it on a footstool---and urged me to tie a Tourniquet around her leg--- which I did---but the bleeding just wouldn't stop!!It was Mikki who called up our Parents at the place they were visiting to inform and ask them to get home post haste.Luckily they were at our Family Doctor's home and he accompanied them back.The Bleeding had reduced but it stopped after an Injection from Doctor Uncle---and then Ritu was carted away to his Clinic to get her foot stitched and bandaged---ending up with two more shots---one of Tetanus and the other a Painkiller.Mikki and I washed away the Blood from the Floor---letting Meera stay unconscious till we were done----we'd lost patience with her regaining consciousness---seeing the Blood on the Floor---and swooning again umpteen number of times by the time Ritu was attended to!!
This incident made our Parents sit all 3 of us down and tell us that one should never shy away from telling the Truth----for suppressing it could lead to unnecessary complications.There Honesty was always the best Policy---and no matter what the consequences---one should always stick to the Truth!!This left such a deep mark on my mind---that if I try to lie I get caught out instantly!!I have lived my Life since then following the Principle"Honesty is the Best Policy!!"

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EACHDAYAGIFT 4/3/2011 11:28AM

    You really should write a book for children about all these antics! My favorite stories to read when i was little were those of children defying the rules and doing all sorts of things I didn't dare to do, then holding my breath as they either got away with it or reaped the consequences. Your cousin's repetitive swooning cracked me up, too! Were your parents prematurely gray from living with you imps????

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ZANNACHAN 3/24/2011 12:52PM

    Wonderful stories!

When I was a little kid, I used to dress my poor cat up in baby clothes too... once I broke my mom's antique baby buggy by putting the cat (dressed in baby clothes) in it and trying to roll it down the stairs emoticon

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PARM01 3/24/2011 3:06AM


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SAASHA17 3/23/2011 11:40PM

    thanks for the fun read....

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BOVEY63 3/23/2011 1:18PM

    Another great blog!

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ATMANI 3/23/2011 9:37AM

    emoticon Thanks for a good read!

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Being Me--11

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Both my sisters were totally different individuals----Mikki was quiet and withdrawn while Ritu was gregarious and lively----Mikki had a lot of Hair---very,very thick and strong----Mummy discovered too late that her Hair absorbed most of her nourishment---and once she realised it Mikki's hair was cut immediately---but her height didn't go beyond 5'2"!!!Ritu was a really big baby and today stands a majestic 5'9" tall in her socks---and has a statesque figure to match!!As for me, I stand at average height 5'5" tall---but thanks to my ample girth appear much shorter!!Mummy was more of a "hands on" mother with both Mikki and Ritu----me I was a totally different kettle of Fish!!
By now I'd turned into a friendly,people person---a Day Dreamer but vry naive and trusting---never occured to me to question anyone's motives!!Thanks to this I'd make a lot of Friends who took me for a ride and the disillusionment was very hurtful---but I 've never learnt my lesson---till today!!!I always trust my gut feeling---I like or dislike people on sight----and while I'm right in my evaluation 80% of the time---I do trip up at times!!Guess that's what makes Sudhir so protective about me---that's why he keeps me on a tight leash!!
Ritu was a holy terror---her antics were as funny as they were baffling!!!Mummy had this beautiful Make-Up Set---a Christmas Gift from Le Corbusier and many beautifully shaped bottles of Perfume----which he'd buy in Grasse---some of them being special Blends.Now Ritu was fascinated by the Liquid Foundation Bottles.Everyday she'd apply a little to each of her Dolls' face---and add Water to the Bottle to bring it back to the original level!!Mummy couldn't understand how the Foundation kept getting thinner by the day---till she caught Ritu red handed!!That did it---for 30 minutes Mummy was chasing fat little Ritu around the House and Garden---but finally she had to give up---exhausted and panting!!For fat little,butterball of a Ritu sped like the Wind--despite her girth!!Ritu's antics were also extended to the Perfumes---she'd literally douse herself with Perfume---and then wonder how she got caaught---the idiot never realised that she'd smell to high Heaven!!!Even today she has the capacity of running through a 100ml. Bottle in a month!!Her Perfume announces her arrival long before she appears!!
Mikki was a whiner---a habit that got worse with age---she used to be always complaining about something or the other---mainly concerning either Ritu or me---and because of her being delicate, Mummy was the most protective about her.I steered clear of her----preferring to have less complications in my daily life!!Mikki had one redeeming feature though---a cool,calm and clear head on her shoulders----from a very early age!!!To date I've never seen her panic---she instinctively makes the right moves in a crisis---an ability in her that I truly appreciate!!

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EACHDAYAGIFT 4/3/2011 11:15AM

    What a picture you paint of butterball Ritu and her antics, your mom chasing he to no avail. My eyes are still watering from a good laugh. And, hey, another thing we have in common: I am 5'5" tall, too! With too much girth, but it does fill out the wrinkles!

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RATIONAL_EATER 3/22/2011 5:21PM


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ZANNACHAN 3/22/2011 2:32PM

    Sounds like you weren't the only little devil in your family *grin*

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BOVEY63 3/22/2011 2:03PM

    Sounds like Ritu had a little of the devil in her too! Love the story!
Like you, I am sometimes too trusting but the way I look it is that if we find good 80% of the time - just think what we would miss out on if we didn't trust so much.

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SAASHA17 3/22/2011 11:46AM

    thats such a fun story..I can imagine it all:)

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ATMANI 3/22/2011 8:13AM

    Wow, what a nice memoir! Thanks for sharing.

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Being Me--10

Monday, March 21, 2011

During the beginning of the War we got new neighbours on the other side.The Unclejee was attached to the Secretariat as Agricultural secretary and the first thing he did on moving in was to turn the Servants Quarters into Cow and Water Buffalo sheds---tying up 2 plump Jersey Cows in one and 2 fat Buffaloes in the other.The Upper Storey turned into a Hatchery and Hen House---the Terrace into an open Air Grain House and a Tractor ploughed up the Grass Lawns---the Garden became a miniature Farm!!
The Family moved in on the Ground Floor---and our lives changed dramatically!!!Overnight we got introduced to foaming Fresh Milk---adding a half cup of Water to it before warming it,oodles of Freshly Churned home made White Butter,thick Creamy "Dahi" or Yoghurt---all available at a nominal price---and buckets of cool,fresh "Chhaas" or Buttermilk---absolutely free!!The Miniature Farm began growing Crops of Maize,Shallots,Potatoes,Peanuts----and this really fascinated Daddy.He saw an advertisement in "The Illustrated Weekly of India"s Advertisement Pages the name of a Seed Shop named "Vishnu Sadashiv &Sons"---situated in Poona.He like the sound of it---and off went a Money Order with a large list of Seeds----I still remember his little Jig of Joy when the Seeds were delivered by Post!!The poor "Maali"( Gardner) literally rued the Day our new Neighbours moved in---for his "Saheb" went a bit more mad than usual---and started working alongside him with a Hoe and Spade to produce masses of luscious Fruits and Vegetables from the Garden!!It didn't end there---Flower Beds were turned into larger Beds---and Maize,Shallots,Potatoes and Peanuts sown there!!As soon as the Plants started showing above the Ground--my impatient father would heave these up to view the progress under the Soil--mainly with Potatoes and Peanuts!!He really drove all of us mad with his blow by blow Daily Bulletins---the moment we saw him approaching the 3 of us would scatter in 3 different Directions---we were that fed up!!
I was the oldest and after all he was my Father---besides due to our regular Treks and Hikes we shared a bond of Friendship as well---so I'd help him in all his Projects.He taught me the Artistic way of using my hands---be it making Model Houses,Painting,creating objects from Plaster of Paris,Wood Working or Clay Modelling---we did most of it together!!He also taught me the art of packing---even today I can pack a whole lot of Stuff into my Bags---a skill that has stood me in good stead each time I travel to meet my daughters---my Grand Daughter calls my Bags"Ali Baba's Cave"!!Therefore we were partners in Crime---and he taught me love Nature from a very young age!!Both of us discovered that we had Green Thumbs---and got excellent results from the Seeds we planted!!The only Crop that failed was Peanuts---all thanks to Daddy!!Each morning and evening he'd religiously pull up each Plant---and if a tiny peanut had formed---pluck it,wash it and pop it in his mouth!!How could we reap any Peanuts----after such activity???
Not just this Daddy made Wine at home too.Le Corbusier whom we called "Grand Pere" had brought special cuttings of Grape Vines for his cousin Jeanneret Uncle.He gave some of those to Daddy and these were planted to form a cool canopy over the Garage Roof.Each year Mummy'd stitch Muslin Bags for the Green Bunches that formed---Daddy tying these over those Bunches in a specific manner---something he forgot he'd taught all 3 of us too!!It became our favourite activity during Summer---when the Grapes started ripening--- to climb down to the Garage roof from the Terrace,open the Bags and pluck out the ripe Grapes---retying the Bags in exactly the same way as Daddy!!Poor Daddy never could understand how despite a bumper Crop his tally of Bottles of Wine never went beyond 15-20!!

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EACHDAYAGIFT 4/3/2011 11:10AM

    I think your Dad and mine would have gotten along well. My Daddy also did a little jig of joy, his change jingling in his pockets. He can't stand to wait for things, and he said if he hadn't been a hospital administrator, he thought he would have liked to be an architect. At middle age he took up art and is an accomplished pastel painter. i have happy memories of being my Daddy's helper that I don't have with my Mom... she didn't have the knack of relaxing except by herself with a book.

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ZANNACHAN 3/22/2011 2:23PM

    Heheh, sounds like you have lots of good memories.

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PARM01 3/22/2011 2:01AM


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BOVEY63 3/21/2011 12:47PM

    I love reading your memories - especially those of the bond you and your father shared.

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SAASHA17 3/21/2011 12:10PM

    oh when u said ur dad taught u to pack, I noticed, we have something similar again..hahaha My dad can pack anything and everything and under 23kgs in 1 suitcase...hehehehe..and I travel light like him too:)

Yum I love home made butter with sugar spread on toast:) Yummy...

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RAIN454 3/21/2011 11:28AM

    I love hearing your "daddy dearest" stories...me and my dad have a similar relationship...we're very close and growing up, I would never leave his side...so from one daddy's little girl to another, have a great day!

Comment edited on: 3/21/2011 11:29:17 AM

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ATMANI 3/21/2011 8:30AM

    Nice memories. Thanks for sharing.

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Being Me---9

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fresh,Soft Puran Polies!!

Hot,Spicy, deep Fried Kachories

Crispy,Golden Spicy Samosas---Stuffed Pastry Triangles!!
The raucous sounds of Holi revelry are floating up from the Garden---all the youngsters are having a FUN time dunking each other in the Water in the Fountain!!!This reminds me of the Holi revelry that I enjoyed in my childhood----though for the past 40 years I've not played Holi---it is something Atya did not approve of!!
In my early childhood my Parents both enjoyed playing Holi--in Chandigarh's small Community it used to be a Red Letter Day--filled with Song and Dance---Fun and Frolic!!!Lots of Snacks and Sweets were prepared a day earlier---the highlight being the Traditonal Maharashtrian "Puran Polies" that Mummy used to make fresh---serving these hot from the Skillet to everyone who visited our home.Those days there used to be huge Metal Syringes to spray Coloured Water on each other---and these were refilled with Watered in various Colours stored in Buckets.Dry Colour Powder too was used liberally---being rubbed vigorously on the Face and Hair.We'd go from house to house---playing with the Colours and eating the Delicious Snacks and Sweets laid out on large Tables under the Trees----that kept us till evening----Dinner used to be a Bowl of soup with Toast!!!
Mummy never learnt her Lesson---she'd be awake at the Crack of Dawn,bathed and her Hair washed to begin making the "Puran Polies"----light as a feather and melting in the Mouth perfection---and a huge Pot of home made Ghee(Clarified Butter) would be kept ready next to the huge pile of neatly folded stack of Polies---along with the other Snacks coming piping hot from the Kitchen---supplied by Narayan Singh our Cook.Each time new groups of Friends popped in, Mummy'd be drenched in sprays of Water--her face and Hair sticky with Colour Powder----coloured vibrantly in Parrot Green,Yellow,Blue,Red and Orange----by evening each one of us would be unrecognisable---till we bathed!!
Those days we'd form "Tolies" or Groups with a "Dholaki" or Drum playing along accompanied by high pitched Singing we'd make the rounds----throwing Colour on all and sundry!!Daddy was a fabulous Singer---and mostly Lunch would be served in our house---with the "Dholak" playing and Daddy singing to it's rhythm--- K.L. Saigal and other old Songs and Ghazals---this Session would continue throughout the afternoon----with Refreshment Breaks in between!!
As I grew older I began shying away from mixed crowds of Boys and Girls---not liking the furtive groping that the Boys indulged in---the slogan being"Holi hai Bhai Holi hai--burraa na maano Holi hai"---meaning that please do not Mind Folks---it's Holi!!I never really understood how that gave anyone a licence to furtively grope and feel somebody else---I considered it a violation of my privacy!!!A result of this was using both my Lungs as well as my Slippers with gusto---I'd become an expert in this since early childhood---and now coupled with my wiry strength I made large Red marks on the person of the Undesirables---and since my reputation preceded me---The Undesirables preferred to steer clear of me---much to my relief!!
Those days Holi came in early April---but sometimes it would be in March ---and the Weather would be cold and chilly as well as rainy at times---not deterring us from having Fun though---even if it meant falling sick for a Week .When Daddy was the Principal of the Architecture College(he was the Founder-Principal) his Students would spend the entire day with us---for he was extremely popular and well loved by them---so much so that after he died, his old Students bestowed a Scholarship in his name by gathering a Fund to do so----for deserving 2nd. Year Students !!!Even today the whole Memory is as bright as if took place just yesterday---the Atmosphere charged with Fun and Frolic--colourful Dust suspended in the Sky--the smell of hot "Kachories" and "Samosas" hanging in the Air---and the melliflous tones of Daddy's voice washing over us in hushed,pin drop silence---his Students forming a circle around him!!Those days have long gone---so have my Parents and most of those Uncles and Aunties----but the Memories live on!!
I have been very lucky to experience the "Joie D'Vivre" of almost everything---and my mind has allowed the unpleasant experiences to filter away---except maybe the memories of War.I have danced joyously atop captured Pakistani Patton Tanks and mingled with victorious Indian Soldiers with boxes of Sweets for them----but I have also seen and experienced first hand the Terror and Devastation of War---while working a Volunteer Letter Writer for injured Soldiers in Hospital during 1965.Those Soldiers that died were lucky---for no Medals or measures of Appreciation can replace lost Limbs or Organs---the person who lives is honoured but as Time passes by is forgotten---his pain belongs only to him and his Family---for no matter how grateful a Nation---some things cannot be shared!!The Stoicism of those Soldiers impressed me deeply----there were no open admissions of Pain----they taught me that showing Pain is a waste of Energy---bearing it with Fortitude is what makes it easier to bear---a Lesson that has helped me become stronger and more positive in facing Life!!

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ZANNACHAN 3/22/2011 2:27PM

    Hmm.... samosas..... love those....

Holi always seemed like a really fun holiday. I hope you have a wonderful time this year!

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RAIN454 3/21/2011 11:27AM

    Wow, Komal...thanks for making hungry!! emoticon
lol, the food looks so good and the stories are just as entertaining. I love being Christian but you guys have so much more fun and exciting holidays (lol..no pun intended)

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EACHDAYAGIFT 3/20/2011 1:25PM

    I just watched an episode of a show we have called "Outsourced" which is a light comedy set in India, and it was about Holi, and I thought, Oh, Komal told me about this! But they didn't mention the yummy food!

Luckily, I have never lived with war fought where I lived, although the terrorist attacks make one prepared for anything at any time, anywhere. But I am glad that, though we have fought wars in my lifetime, I only see the danger and sadness on the news and in magazines...bad enough. I have been involved with Quilts of Valor, which is devoted to honoring each returning soldier with a quilt of appreciation. But my circle of friends decided we wanted to focus on the older vets for this year's project. Those in veteran's hospitals who have no family and feel forgotten. So I am making a quilt for one of them right now and I hope it will let him know that his country is still grateful for his sacrifice.

Comment edited on: 3/20/2011 1:26:18 PM

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*MADHU* 3/20/2011 9:11AM

    HAPPY HOLI emoticon

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Being Me---8

Friday, March 18, 2011

It was pretty easy to purloin Planks---in nos.of 2-3 and hide them in the secluded spot we'd chosen.This activity kept us occupied and mischeif free---the Parents didn't know what we were up to---and Amma had her hands full with Ritu---a holy terror if there ever was one!!We dug a deep ditch---10 feet square and began standing the Planks upright in it.Each Plank was then solidly tamped in with the dry Soil and when all the Planks had been put in place watered both morning and evening---to form a strong base.We used shorter Planks to form a Window and left out some Planks at one corner for the Door!!!This way the Walls of our shed stood up---and then came the Roof.Planks were laid in a haphazard fashion to cover the enclosure----we first covered the opposite angles by laying the planks slanting across two adjoining Walls----this reduced the distance and thus allowed us to cover the remaining opening with horizontal Planks----covering the entire Roof easily!!!I wasn't an Architect's daughter for nothing!!!
Our next job was to hunt for a Tarpaulin large enough to cover the Roof---and we were lucky enough to find a large piece that had fallen in a corner at the Bungalow site---fitting our needs perfectly!!The last thing was to create a Mud Roof----the Grass would be cut regularly in every Garden by the Government Gardners---this activity would take place at night---and the Grass would be stuffed into Gunny sacks---to be carried away the next day.We stole these Gunny Sacks from our Gardens and dumped the Grass in the Pit dug out for burning Branches and Leaves in Autumn----mixed it with Mud and Water and spread the Mixture over the Tarpaulin Cover to form a thick Barrier.This was baked hard by the Sun---and gave us a perfect Roof!!
This Shed was a cool haven during Summer and we covered it's floor with thick Woven Cotton Mats or "Durries"----folded to make it thick and soft.We also purloined small Cushions from our homes---ensuring something to prop up our necks when we stretched out in there---each one of us engrossed in our current Books.A stool stood in one Corner with a Clay Pot or "Matka" filled with Drinking Water---covered by it's very own Clay Dish and 3 Steel Glasses for drinking Water!!In another corner there also was an Iron Stove or "Angeethi" belonging to Neelu----it was tiny but stuffed with Coal and Wood Chips it could really generate Heat during the Winter---besides we kept a Tin of Cocoa and another of Drinking Chocolate along with Gauri's Ceramic Play Tea Set in there---using Water for making and drinking hot Chocolate whenever it took our Fancy!!
There were other activities we indulged in as well---we all had Swings in our backyards---and we used these to jump high into the Back Lawn!!!We'd swing up really high---and then leap off the Swing at the highest point of it's sweep----landing in the thick Grass below!!!It's a mercy we didn't break our Bones or heads---like the Proverbial Cats we always landed on our feet---but today I shudder at the thought of what could have happenned had we got hurt---we could have been badly hurt or even maimed!!
One hot Summer's day we decided to cook us a meal of "Puri-Aaloo"(Potatoes with Fried Indian Bread) using Neelu's Iron Wok and "Tapeli" a beautifully formed Indian Vessel.We cut up the Tomatoes and Potatoes,kneaded Whole Wheat Flour and fired up the Angeethi.First we cooked the Vegetable---spiced with Cumin,Asafoetida and Turmeric,we cooked the chopped Potatoes and Tomatoes seasoning these with Salt and Red Chillie Powder in a thin gravy with Water.Next we rolled out thin Rounds and deep fried these in hot Oil---and there was a pile of these ready to eat in an hour.While we sat down to eat,Gauri's mother along with Mummy came round to see what we were upto----they's seen plumes of Smoke----and they discovered our Secret!!!That did it---we were all soundly spanked for playing with Fire---specially clothed in Nylon Dresses---and our angeethi was confiscated for good!!That put an end to our Cookery Sessions----buteveryone was full of delighted Praise seeing our Building Prowess----that Shed became the high point of our Vacations---both Winter and Summer!!!
By now the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War had begun---and the Black Outs became a regular part of our lives.Mummy was a member of the Red Cross---and she was allergic to a host of things---but that did not deter her from tying a Handkerchief round her nose and stitching away heavy,thick Black Curtains for both our General and P.G.I. Hospitals.Our beautiful Picture Windows were boarded up to prevent any damage from flying Glass and regular Air Raid Drills became a regular part of our daily Routines!!Deep Trenches were dug in the bottom of our Gardens and it was made compulsary to use them---while we were lucky not to become a Prey to Bombs or Air Raids---many People died or had near death experiences due to Snake bites in those----a very horrifying state of affairs!!

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ZANNACHAN 3/22/2011 2:31PM

    Heh, that trick with the swings reminds me of jumping off of swings when I was a kid, only we did it onto an asphalt parking lot at a nearby school. It's a wonder we didn't break something.

I've heard some stories of that war... I can't imagine growing up during it.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 3/18/2011 4:35PM

    This brought back memories. We, too, did the flying leap from the swings in our back yard...the closest I could get to flying, which i loved to imagine I could do if I just believed hard enough! I had a very spoiled, bossy neighbor, Lisa, who was my dentist's daughter. They were having a fancy new house built on a large piece of property, and she invited some of her friends over to build a clubhouse. This, we soon found, translated to, "you are invited to come over to provide slave labor and build a clubhouse for me." We didn't get far, due to many arguments,and the project was abandoned that same day. No one would fall for her tricks a second time!

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BOVEY63 3/18/2011 1:56PM

    Your words make everything so vivid. Awesome!

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SAASHA17 3/18/2011 12:13PM

    another enjoyable read. but cant even imagine what u mentioned about the war:(

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