Wednesday, November 28, 2012
In the late 70s and early 80s a Drive-In Theatre opened up at Bandra. The shows would begin at 7 p.m. and each Friday evening would see our family on it's way to catch the latest Bollywood releases--first show on the very first day!!I'd cook Dinner and pack a Picnic Hamper into our Car and along with our pair of miniature Lhasa Apsos we'd be off!!!Milind would tease us about the number we were.He'd say "you two,your daughters two and your Dogs too two--you're a family of Twos"!!We had our favourite Parking spot--and our favourite Snack wallah too to deliver our hot fresh Popcorn, Samosas and Sandwiches during the Movie--Dinner would be eaten during the Interval.Today when I look back I'm appalled at the amount that we all used to put away--including Sudhir--for despite his slight build and slim and trim physique he was a hearty eater those days.No wonder I was obese--all that Mutton and Chicken drowning in rich Butter and Ghee based Gravies packed on the kilos on my frame!!
While Sayali was over enthusiastic about wanting to learn driving Lotta was just the opposite--completely uninterested!!However since they did everything together they attended the local Driving School in tandem too.This was in December 1992-- a difficult period thanks to the horrific Riots that took place during that time.Despite that Bombay Life always came back to normal--a little tense and wary--but as normal as possible--for Bombay truly is a city that never sleeps!!Sudhir would take us all out for afternoon spins after Lunch in the Christmas vacation---and give both the Girls turns to practice their Driving Skills. Lotta was getting married on 14th. February 1993 and he wanted her to be reasonably confident driving by herself by then.She however had other plans.Not interested in driving at all she tried her level best to wriggle out of these Drives---and finally one afternoon gave us all such a scare that Sudhir never again asked her to drive!!!One afternoon she just blindly drove on despite the Traffic Lights blinking Red--and luckily there was no mishap because it was a Sunday afternoon--otherwise I guess the four of would have been looking down Earthwards from the Sky!!!
Sayali was an entirely different kettle of Fish!!Over confident and over enthusiastic she thought the bloody Car would take wing if she pressed the Accelator hard enough--and mastered the intricacies of by lane Driving---navigating and zooming through the narrow by lanes in the old parts of Bombay with aplomb and insouciance!!According to my Krishna Bai --who had seen Sayali grow up--Sayali drove like a man!!After the Riots ended, Life became normal and routine was re-established.By now Lotta was married and living in the same Complex but in a different Building.Whenever she'd come over to spend a few days with us,Sayali would drive us all to a place called Sukh Sagar near the Chowpatty Beach in South Bombay.This place is called by the name of the building it is situated in--a South Indian man began this way back in the late 70s--serving fresh Fruit Juices extracted by passing the Fruit through a manuallypowered Juicer.By the late 80s he had graduated to using electrical Juicers--and the best part about his Juice was that each Fruit had it's own,individual Juicer---hence the Juice would be extracted fresh before our eyes--and would taste purely of that particular Fruit only!!
This had been our favourite haunt for Juice since the Girls were very young--but now because Sayali loved to drive we began heading towards this place for late night Fresh Fruit Juices on a daily basis .By now he had begun serving Snacks to go along with the Juices--and his hot grilled Chilly Cheese Sandwich was to die for--and served on a first come first serve basis!!His repertoire was further enhanced by tall glasses of creamy Falooda--Bombay/Mumbai's favourite cooler--a creamy,yummy treat that one just can't get enough of!!I loved these nightly drives--if lotta was with us Sudhir and I would sit in the back seat holding hands.Sudhir would sing his favourite Songs--and the Girls would join in--each with her own version of the same tune!!After manfully trying to drown them out he'd give in,grumbling about how no corner of his life was free from interference!!Then realising what he'd said he'd turn around and tell me "not you Komli----after all we're one right?" very sheepishly.For me those drives have turned into some of my very favourite moments with him--for he was free to share everything that I showed him because he wasn't driving!!By now Meha too had made an appearance and these nightly drives would be punctuated by excited raucous squeals of "Ghoda" each time she saw a Horse or "Moon!!Moon!!" in my ear for she'd sit on my lap--it's a wonder I didn't turn deaf thanks to those ear splitting squeals!!