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In a Lighter Vein!!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

There was loads of Tension during the Riots---what with scarcity of Necessities like Fresh Milk ,Vegetables and Fresh Fish---all in short supply!!The Milk available outside was Water+Milk+Arrowroot Powder---but whenever possible we used even that---for we were in a hapless and helpless situation---as they say "Beggars can't be Choosers"!!Thanks to the Curfew most times we were reduced to relying on tins of Milk Powder and Cans of Condensed Milk for making Tea----a huge problem for Sudhir who NEEDS only Fresh Milk in his Tea!!Well in this case we had no choice---but eating only Dried Fish,Pulses,Beans as well as Onions/Potatoes was becomingt repetitively irritating---I mean one does need Fresh Fish and Meat---as well as Vegetables and Salads too!!There would be a scramble to secure and hoard these items whenever it was safe enough for the Shops to open for a few hours-----my Freezer was totally crammed to the hilt with packets of Sausages,Bacon,Chicken and Goat Meat as well as Fish---and the Larder loaded with tins of Sardines,Milk Powder and Condensed milk----I literally distributed loads of these latter items when the situation became normal!!
Not just that we'd all be cooped up at home with very little Entertainment except stepping on each other's toes---my two daughters together with Ritu---the three were enough to turn any sane person mad!!These three would crack stupid jokes--totallly absurd ones---and then giggle away for hours together---all the three just ate,slept,irritated me when they were awake and then slept again!!As if that was not enough they'd cheat at every Game of Carrom,Boggle or Scrabble---creating such a pandemonium---enough to deafen anyone sitting in the same room!!Add to that our little Darling Da Tuna(Tina)---my tiny miniature Lhasa Apso.Strawberry Blonde with huge Sherry coloured eyes with a dark ring around them she used her good looks to her advantage.Perpetually hungry Madame Da Tuna would just have to look meltingly at any of her subjects and she'd be in clover!!Thanks to this she was fat as in fat---and waddled around the house when not transported room to room by her subjects.Pampered to the extreme, she'd turn up her snub nose at Dal and Rice when the Meat Stocks in the Freezer ran out---till finally in desperation Mummy came up with the Idea of adding a tiny bit of Dried Fish to it----the smell was enticing enough for Madame Da Tuna to wolf the much despised Dal -Rice down!!Despite all the discomfort there were plenty of light moments too!!
This is one Incident I'll never forget!!There was firing going on in the narrow lanes and by lanes surrounding our Complex.The first time the Police opened fire in our vicinity they warned us on the Public Microphones they carried to stay put in our homes---just in case any bullet accidentally went astray.This was enough to panic Ritu--all of 105 kgs.then.She began rushing through the house pulling all the Curtains shut---calling out that the Curtains would surely deflect any bullet that strayed our way!!After she finished drawing all the Curtains and her panic subsided a bit she became aware of the fact that all of us were convulsed with laughter---much to her chagrin!!Not just this both Sayali and Ritu are Comic Raconteurs---while Lotta is their ideal Audience---giggling away uncontrollably to each of their Anecdotes!!Not just that---many are the nights we spent by Candle Light with the Music System playing softly in the background---sitting just totally still--driftng with the Melody!!
For me this was an opportunity to finish wrapping up all the Wedding Gifts that we were giving to Mehul's Family---as well as all of Lotta's Trousseau---luckily I'd bought enough Wrapping Paper and Cello Tape before things went out of hand!!Even if I do say it myself---all the Gifts turned up beautifully wrapped---so much so that Manju Ben--Lotta's Mother-in-Law said she was hard pressed to unwrap her Gifts---according to her it was vandalism to open the Gifts!!
I have to admit that though it was a terrifying period in our lives it enriched our lives too---the enforced captivity brought us even closer to each other and made us bond even tighter!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PARM01 7/21/2011 4:00AM

  It is always a pleasure reading your blogs!!!! Thank you for sharing your stories.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 7/19/2011 10:16AM

    Poor Ritu, I would have been laughing with you!

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Memories of Terror--2!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I got my first taste of Fear on 7th.January 1993.Thanks to the Riots everything had been disrupted and the entire City had gone mad!!!The Slums all along the Sea shore had illuminated the entire shoreline with 200 hundred Watts Bulbs over each doorway---literally turning the night into day!!Like the Wolf their reason was "Better to see the Enemy clearly!!"Bombay--a City that never slept was desrted by Nightfall---daily turning into a Ghost Town!!
However a restless calm prevailed and this prompted me to venture out to collect Saries already bought and paid for---which were still in the Sari shop "Rangoli" at Dadar East---having been retained by them for the Fall -Beading and Roller Pressing procedure.There were almost 25 Saries but only 10 of these were ready when I walked in that morning.It took them about 10 minutes to pack these up and promising Delivery of the rest soon they offered to find me a Cab.That done I was helped into the Cab by a Shop Assisstant and as we pulled away---all Hell broke loose!!Rowdies and Hooligans armed with Swords,Tube Lights and Choppers burst onto the Streets brandishing their Weapons and pelting Passers By with stones!!My Cabbie was a middle aged man---a Muslim.He literally stepped on the Accelerator---all the while telling me not to worry---he'd get me home safely!!
Luckily we reached home to Prabhadevi in 15 minutes---the most tense 15 minutes of my life!!By now the wave of Terror had spread to our area too and I was worried about the Cabbie who drove me home.On the way back we had passed some burning Cabs.He however was unconcerned and turned around to face me. I was surprised to see him wearing a Red "Tilak" or Vermilion Mark on his forehead."Behenji--main sirf Ooperwaaley ko maantaa hoon aur Allah --Eeshwar donon Unkey naam hain--meri Taxi mein Ganesh Ji viraajmaan hain----aap meri chintaa naa karein---mujhey kuchh bhi nahin hoga!!"He said "Sister I believe in God----He is known by different names--besides I keep a small Idol of Lord Ganesha in my Taxi ---so Sister do not worry about me--I will be safe!! "
This Cabbie stuck in my memory for a very long time---for me he had been the face of God sent by Him to rescue me----but still I used to wonder how he was.A few years later I hailed a Cab near Dadar and started giving the Cabbie my address when he stopped me------saying "I know where to go--I am the same Cabbie who drove you home during the Riots!!"This is the way God works---and I'm grateful to Him for putting both my Conscience and my mind at rest.This taught me that even today there are still people---total Strangers---- whom we can still trust with our lives!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MILLISMA 7/26/2011 1:14PM

    Komal, I can't imagine what you were going through. You most certainly did have God watching over you and the cabbie. How interesting that you should meet again and how wonderful that he remembered you!



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PARM01 7/19/2011 3:09AM

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BOVEY63 7/18/2011 12:50PM

    So wonderful that you met the cabbie again and that he had survived the riots.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 7/18/2011 10:06AM

    What a beautiful story, and a satisfying end that you not only met him again, but he remembered you as clearly as you remembered him.

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Memories of Terror--1!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Writing about !993 reopened a chapter in my mind which I would really love to blank out---unfortunately it is too deeply etched in my mind!!This incident is about 7th.December 1992.Lotta had just got engaged to Mehul on the 6th.August 1992 and the Wedding was set for 14th.February 1993---and preparations for it were in full swing.Lotta's Trousseau was being assembled and all the rest---Utensils,Clothes, Shoes,Purses----everything was being purchased after great deliberation---for she wanted exclusive stuff!!In the Engagement Video Tape Sayali saw herself on the T.V. Screen and was appalled at her size--all of 78 kgs!!She decided that it was time she did something about it and joined the "Talwalkar's Gym" at Matunga near City Light Cinema.Being a new convert to gymming and getting the initial results she was very serious about the whole thing!!She would first attend Gym and from there go for her College at Ruparel---which was nearby.A stubborn little Cuss---she is worse than the proverbial Mule when she digs her heels in!!
7th.December was a Monday---and just the previous evening the Babri Masjid had come down-----a politically managed event.Early morning as she was preparing to leave my sixth sense was sending me signals and I repeatedly told her not to go---but being extremely adamant she brushed me aside---saying that I was worrying unnecessarily---nothing was going t0 happen over just another Political Issue!!She left and so did Sudhir a while later---Lotta and me were left behind and I was extremely restless and worried----and feeling helpless to boot!!By 9.30 a.m. the Riots broke out and by 11 a.m. had escalated into a free for all--looting and arson was turning rampant as Hooligans and Rowdies took over!!
Hearing this I rushed out of the house----Lotta trudging doggedly beside me----getting to Sayali was the only thought in my mind!!
As we reached the main Road there were no Taxis---Buses were infrequent and crowded so much that people were really clinging on to the Doors and Windows!!I was at my wits end in terror---all I could see was my daughter---who really needed me the most but I didn't know how to get to her or where to find her!!Lotta kept hugging me tight and wiping the silent tears that coursed down my cheeks when a friend of mine---Kanta--- saw us.She was going to pick up her son from School and offered to take me to Sayali's College---this offer was Godsent!!Just as Lotta and I were stepping into the Car I heard Sayali's voice calling me---and as I turned--there she was!!
Thanking Kanta I rushed to Sayali and gave her a hard slap across her face---and then I totally lost control!!The three of us came home with me crying and shouting all the way---badly shaken by the entire thing!!Sayali got the spanking of her life---though she was all of 18 years old then---but that I told her was the LAST time she ever defied me!!It was only when I calmed down that she told me the horrors she'd witnessed!!Crowds led by Goons and Rowdies ransacking,looting and torching Shops as she ran all the way home---the Police Force trying to control the situation---a Police Patrol Car picked her up along with four other young girls and brought them home---she got down when she saw us.She was lucky---because a mad Crowd is uncontrollable and the fate of anybody caught it it's clutches can be terrible.The only positive aspect was that she learnt to trust my Sixth Sense---and that trust stood her good stead a few months later!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MILLISMA 7/26/2011 1:17PM

    So thankful to hear that all of you were okay....could have been much different.

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BOVEY63 7/18/2011 12:48PM

    What an awful ordeal to live through. So happy Sayali was okay.

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PARM01 7/18/2011 3:02AM

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RATIONAL_EATER 7/16/2011 1:55AM

    Seriously, they are so lucky to have you as mother .I am sure they know that too .

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RATIONAL_EATER 7/16/2011 1:55AM

    Seriously, they are so lucky to have you as mother .I am sure they know that too .

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RAJASHREE108 7/15/2011 1:44PM

    Oh my God.. only mothers will go through this panic. I just can't imagine the terror you must have gone through. I have gone through the frantic searchings with my sons but at least there were no riots or anything! Only the Almighty protects.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 7/15/2011 9:37AM

    I can't even imagine the helpless terror you experienced, caught between wanting to keep Lotta safe and needing to find and rescue Sayali. Thank goodness for your friend and the police, helping to bring things to a safe conclusion. You must have aged a year or more in those hours!

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Getting used to living with Terror!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yesterday there were 3 co-ordinated Bomb Blasts on different locations in Mumbai----each exactly 5 minutes after the first!!!It took just 10 minutes----6.55 p.m.--7.05 p.m. to disrupt Life in 3 extremely busy localities---and killed 21 counted so far---and 130 injured.Let's just hope and pray that all the injured survive !!!Since 1993 we get hit like this every three years----and we survive!!Each time the "Spirit of Mumbai" resurrects itself and rises from the Ashes like a Phoenix---and this is the Triumph of the People on the Streets----not the Administration!!The memory of the horrible Riots which started on the 6th December 1992 and went on for 2 months after that----were a terrible thing to witness!!
Burning,Looting and Killing each other in mad rage caused the innocent people on the Streets terrible hardships with many losing their lives, property and livelihood in this insane period.Barely had the Situation limped back to a tense normalcy when the devastating Bomb Blasts took place in 1993.Remembering the first Blasts still sends shivers down my spine!!The total chaos, anarchy and hostility preceding these led to those devastating Blasts!!It was 12th. March 1993 and Sayali had just finished her last High School Board Exam Paper.Mummy and I had gone to her Examination Centre at Wadala to pick her up---and on the way back we passed both the Plaza Theatre and the Shiv Sena Bhavan--both Landmarks of Dadar (W)----literally minutes before the two simultenous Blasts that took place there!!We picked up Lakshmi--Sayali's best friend since Kindergarten---from her home at Shivaji Park and drove on home to Prabhadevi.Sayali wanted to drive down to Town to enjoy the carefree feeling of having finished her Exams and was to do so immediately after dropping Mummy and me home.Suddenly a tremendous feeling of Dread came over me and every instinct in my body was urging me to stop the two Girls from leaving---so I insisted Sayali to first freshen up,eat something and then leave---to which she agreed very reluctantly---after an argument that lasted a full 5 minutes!!Just as I unlocked the front door--a deafening sound sent shock waves ripping through our Complex----shaking and rattling the Buildings badly!!!
Propelled by a growing sense of Doom I rushed up to the Terrace and was transfixed and numb with horror at the sight---columns of thick Black Smoke rose from the Northern and Southern side of us!!Had Sayali left she'd have been right in the centre of it!!!I could see the evidence of the devastation that must have occurred but I stood frozen to the spot and dumbstruck----too shocked to react!!As soon as sensation returned I rushed home---and tried calling up Sudhir to tell him that we were fine---and Sayali switched on the T.V.----to our horror and dismay there were 13 Blasts in all---throughout the City---Bombay was burning!!The Cell phones and Landlines were jammed so no Communication was possible at all---all we could do was hope and pray----and hang on tight to our Faith!!The number of dead,badly injured and maimed was very large and Blood was in short supply---- but the appeals from the Hospitals for Blood Donation got such an overwhelming response that within 24 hours the Blood Banks were overflowing!!!
That was the first occasion and perhaps the worst so far.There were continuing Incidents since then but Bombay/Mumbai has stood firm---all religious animosity forgotten----as each Community has learnt a Lesson taught by the Riots and the Blasts---we need each other to survive---and united as one People!!Since then Bombay/Mumbai hasn't looked back!!We suffer through these Terror Blasts and Attacks with grim and stoic Dignity---all the Citizens of Mumbai---rich or poor---whichever Status,Class,Religion or Community they belong to---- bond tight together as one-----helping each other to pick up the pieces and limp into the Future--leaning on each other for support!!
The badly battle scarred "Spirit of Mumbai" lives and survives still---Hallelujah!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MILLISMA 7/26/2011 1:23PM

    I have been praying for you and your family ever since I heard this on the news. Yes, I hope all can learn to live together as one People. Stay safe my friend. Also praying that all remains peaceful.

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PARM01 7/18/2011 3:03AM

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ATMANI 7/14/2011 4:41PM

    Yes, there is something to be said about Mumbai spirit. As for me, I am still feeling very shaky...

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BOVEY63 7/14/2011 1:08PM

    Praying for the safety of all in your country.
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SAASHA17 7/14/2011 11:48AM

    I am pissed at all this..I mean why such hatred....Take care and my prayers with u...

Manasa

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RAJASHREE108 7/14/2011 11:28AM

    Was thinking of you and all my friends and relatives in Mumbai.. was a shock to see it in the World News. Your
blog made me proud to see the spirit of the people in the
midst of the terror. My deep prayers for Mumbai and her people.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 7/14/2011 9:15AM

    I am so sorry to hear of this. I'm so glad you and yours escaped harm again this time. Thank goodness for your sixth sense that spared your daughter and her friend. People may scoff, but I do believe that there are people who are especially sensitive, and that perhaps all of us have this ability but most don't have the ability to tune in to it. I have experienced it myself, from time to time, but never in such dramatic and life saving fashion. Thank goodness you listened.
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*MADHU* 7/14/2011 7:33AM

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AHODGES7 7/14/2011 5:30AM

    You have done an incredible job at describing what you are experiencing as you go through these extremely devastating times.
There are many people who will pray for you on a daily basis. I suggest you get an account with Facebook (with no photo of you or your family, and no information to trace back to you), and journal there, asking for prayers for the safety of your friends, family and all of Mumbai - and pray for this insanity to stop.
I will keep you in my prayers as well. I cannot imagine how you can cope with trivial things like watching your weight when people are dying around you.
May the peace that passes our understanding be with you and your loved ones.
Keep looking UP!
Andrea

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XXMILAXX 7/14/2011 4:59AM

    What a horrible thing to experience. We live in a sad world. Have faith, God will protect us.

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REDSHOES2011 7/14/2011 3:48AM

    emoticonIt is tough, I am sending good vibrations your way. I used to have a boyfriend from Lebanon and can remember the dread of him getting phone calls his family had gone under ground to avoid bombings..

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LESLIESENIOR 7/14/2011 3:42AM

    Hello from California,
I was so very touched by your blog. It is just after midnight here, and I was posting my blog before I fell asleep, when I noticed your blog and was drawn to read it. I know that God is powerful and loving. I will pray for you and your family in Mumbai. Your courage and bravery is so inspiring.
God Bless you all!
Leslie emoticon

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Remembered Taste--2!!!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

These "Dhabas" dot the entire Network of Indian Highways----mostly run by the Punjabis--both Sikhs and Hindus.Though these look run down and derelict at times the Cooking Area,the Pots and Pans and the Cutlery is well worn but sparkling clean!!Most of these have neighbouring Wells----and I still remember the taste of the Water we drank---in it's most natural form---from the Well to our Glasses!!We did not need any Filters--RO or otherwise and no one fell sick because of the Water in those days!!On our Treks I have often dipped my cupped hands in babbling Mountain Streams and Brooks to drink deeply whenever needed---and that remains a precious Memory to date!!
Today the "Dhabas" have smartened up----they're as clean as a 5 star Hotel---many like "Giani's Dhaba" at Dharampur on the way to Shimla well known and famous!!There are many "Dhabas" that cook only Vegetarian Fare---these are called "Vaishnav Dhabas" and serve wonderful,mouthwatering Vegetarian fare--cooked without using Onion and Garlic!!The "Vaishnav" Dhaba's speciality is it's stuffed Parathas---a large ball of kneaded,pliant Whole Wheat dough--called a "Pedhaa" is formed into a deep cup using the fingers to shape it.This cup is stuffed with grated spiced raw Vegetables or well mashed cooked dry Vegetable Curries---the edges of the cup sealed firmly together---and then rolled out after a sprinkling of dry Whole Wheat Flour into thick rounds.Now here comes the "Piece de Resistance"!!Instead of shallow frying these on a Griddle with melted Butter,these are slipped into a "Karahi' full of Ghee or hot Clarified Butter till fried really crisp and brown----fished out,drained and served with Pickles and large bowls filled with thick wedges of "Dahi" or Fresh Yoghurt in generous helpings to form a complete Meal!!!Sounds and perhaps is very fattening and Cholestrol ridden---but the taste---HEAVENLY!!!Besides the basic Menu many of them today also serve Snacks---like "Samosaas" and "Kachouries" --the former a Triangular shaped Pastry stuffed with a spiced Potatoes--Green Peas stuffing and the latter a round shaped Pastry stuffed with a spicy dry "Dal" or Lentil filling----both Items are deep fried in hot Ghee---and just melt in the mouth when eaten hot with spicy Green Coriander and Mint Chutney!!!Not just that, these also serve wonderful serve anothe Indian favourite called "Puri-Bhaji".The "Puries" are deep fried puffed rounds of Whole Wheat Flour served with a Potato preparation which cwn be "rasseydar" or thin Tomato based Gravy----or a dry spiced Potato Vegetable---the blend of the Spices differs from place to place---but the taste???It is literally to die for!!
All these "Dhabas" also serve Garbanzo Beans or "Chholay" ---aromatic,rich and dark these are redolent with the smell of Spices and Fresh Ghee---garnished with slivers of Fresh Ginger juliennes,Green Chillies and cubed boiled Potatoes---accompanied by hot,fluffy "Bhaturas"---deep fried leavened Bread.These also team well with another type of leavened Bread called "Kulchas"----both compliment this Dish beautifully---turning from the mundane into something quite DIVINE!!There are many ways of preparing "Chholay"---but I'm most partial to the "Pindi Chholay" and the "Amritsari Chholay" style Recipes.
This goes way back to December 1970.I had just been told that I was preganant when the news of my Parents having been in an Accident arrived. Sudhir had just begun his Christmas Vacation so immediately he booked us into a Deluxe First Class Coupe on the Paschim Express---and we began our journey from Bombay Central.This was our first journey together and we had a lot of Fun on the way---me with my greater experience of Train Journeys educating Sudhir about the various Culinary Specialities available at various Stations along the route!!Our Meals were served on the Train but that did not deter us from munching all through the Journey----the highlight being a dish of hot,spicy "Kulchey-Chholay" at Karnal Station---despite having had a hearty Lunch barely an hour earlier---I literally wolfed these down in huge gulps---much to Sudhir's amusement!!!Even today he still remembers my Gluttony---while I still relish that Taste and Aroma---lingering in my Memories as one of the best I have ever eaten in my entire Life---so far!!

  
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PARM01 7/7/2011 5:37PM

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BOVEY63 7/7/2011 12:57PM

    It is really something how food and memories go together. Last night I was with relatives on my Italian side of the family and much of the tall surrounded great-grandpa's homemade wine and great-grandma's awesome pasta dishes and homemade bread.

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