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ಮೂರನೇ ಕ್ಲಾಸಲ್ಲಿ ನನ್ನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತ ಸುರೇಶ್ ಮಣಿ ನನಗೆ ಹೇಳಿಕೊಟ್ಟ ಪಾಠ ಇನ್ನೂ ನೆನಪಿದೆ.
ಮಣಿ: ಕೋಳಿ ಕೂಗಿತು.
ರಾಮ: ಯಾವ ಕೋಳಿ?
ಮಣಿ: ಬಾತು ಕೋಳಿ.
ರಾಮ: ಯಾವ ಬಾತು?
ರಾಮ: ಯಾವ ಕೇಸರಿ?
ಮಣಿ: ತಿನ್ನೊ ಕೇಸರಿ.
ರಾಮ: ಯಾವ ತಿನ್ನು?
ಮಣಿ: ಏಟು ತಿನ್ನು.
ರಾಮ: ಯಾವ ಏಟು?
ಮಣಿ: ಗಾಂಧಿ ಏಟು.
ರಾಮ: ಯಾವ ಗಾಂಧಿ?
ಮಣಿ: ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧಿ.
ದಿನಕ್ಕೆ ಹತ್ತು ಸಲ ಈ ಆಟ. ಯಾವಾಗ್ಲೂ ನಾನೇ ಏಟು ತಿನ್ನಬೇಕು ಅಂತ ಅವನಾಸೆ. ದಿವಸ, ಮನೇಗೆ ಬರಕ್ಕೆ ಮುಂಚೆ, ಶಾಲೆಯ ಗೇಟ್ ಬಳಿ ಅವನಿಗೆ ಹತ್ತು ಏಟು ಹೋಡೆದು (ಒಂದೆರಡು ಕೊಸರು ಕೊಟ್ಟಿ) ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳೋದೇ ಒಂದಾಟ!
Mom to son:
L.A.-ge hogi L-A- meerbeda.
Mom to daughter:
Erode-ge hogi ee road mareebeda.
don’t know about bengaluru-mysore corridor,
or mumbai-bengaluru corridor
but ನಮ್ ರೋಡಲ್ಲಿ ಇರೋರೆಲ್ಲ ಕಾರಿಡಾರೇ!
This morning, for a short stretch, to my left was an AUTO and to my right was an ALTO.
Remember those olden day taps with a long white cloth tied to it?
You’ve seen the I-PAD. Remember the WE-PAD (Wooden Examination Pad)?!
It’s that time of the year, when exam pads make a quick entry into every student’s life. During my school days, we would inherit the exam pads from our elders. Hence the wooden pad would have been used by our uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers and finally reach us.
The dark brown pad (with rounded edges) would have a smooth surface on the front and a rough textured surface at the back. The front would have a ‘SRI’, ‘OM’, names of some of the previous owners written in various styles, in blue or green ink. Black or Red ink was considered inauspicious! I had written “Da- 2 small vertical lines- Raj” in a self designed stylish 3D font in Kannada when I got the pad sometime in 3rd standard. Before that, I don’t remember using one. I had used blue sketch pen to write this.
I somehow hated to use the pad just for what it was meant for. Hence, as soon as the exams got over, I would use the pad as a cricket bat, a frisbee, a sword, a fan, a TT bat…. and thus the dark brown pad would have some broken edges by late April. I would also test my endurance levels by putting my fingers under the clip… 3 seconds and the fingers would be removed! The pad would have one small needle like thing near the clip. And this would scratch atleast one of my fingers during every exam. During 6th standard, I remember pasting a poster of Rajkumar at the back of the pad.
It was a huge inspiration for me!
My son’s plastic Ben-10 pad brought back these memories this morning.
Plastic pencil box always looked weak. And that too if it had a single opening. A magnetic pencil box was a fantasy. I was unable to come to terms with myself for a week when my first brother-in-law gifted me one when I was in 2nd standard. It had totally 5 openings – 2 each on both sides and one in the middle, that made the box look like a small diary book. My friends here were in awe with that box.
Friends in “far off” Cochin school also got to see my magnetic box. I remember boys asking in Malayalam: Idu evadannakitti?!
When I graduated from that to the powerful Geometry box, the main attraction were the Compass, Divider, Set square, blotting paper, and of course, if you managed to have a Hero Pen, then you looked a true HERO!
And then came the Ink sharing programme!
The only place
which has offered
a ‘level’ playing field
for a Shastri, Poojara
is ‘Test’ Cricket!
In some old hotels, even today, Bournvita, Horlicks and Badam Powder bottles are not inside the kitchen. They’re kept next to the Cashier.
Book Cricket, and other types of Cricket I played!
During 4th and 5th standard, ‘book cricket’ entered our lives. I remember playing it quite intensely with my pal Hanuman in 5th standard. As I contracted Jaundice during that time, I was not allowed to go out and play (missed school for quite some days). I used to play book cricket alone after writing down the names of the players (one team was always India, the other varied Eng, WI, Aus etc..) on two pages (it resembled almost a complete scorecard).
The runs were scored by flipping the book open at random and the last digit of the right-side (even-numbered) page was counted as the number of runs scored. 0 (and sometimes 8) were assigned to special rules, typically a wicket was lost when a person scored 0 and scoring 8 would be substituted for a No ball run and an additional chance. To give an example, if the batting side opened the book at page 26, then 6 runs would be scored. For the toss, what was generally done was that both the players open a page and the one whose last digit is greater wins.
Other types of Cricket that I played: Hand cricket and leg cricket! (self explanatory)
And one of my neighbourhood friends, Umesh, had this indoor Cricket board game, where wickets were placed on a green circular piece of clothing, toy fielders were positioned, boundary ropes were kept and the batsman (i.e. you) had a tiny bat to hit the ball which were, shiny ball bearings, that would be dropped from about 5cms height by another player. If the ball went into the small opening near the feet (V-shaped) of the fielder, it was out. If the ball bearing touched the ropes, it was a boundary.
“There was a bit of pressure on me. I just got married, and my wife was worried I should perform. We knew that the new ball would do a bit.”
- Double Centurion Cheteshwar Pujara while receiving the MOM award today.
“India deserve a lot of credit.” – Michael Clarke
(Most Indians nowadays are living only on Credit!)
ಒಂದ್ ಕಾರ್ ಇನ್ನೊಂದ್ ಕಾರ್-ಗೆ ಡಿಕ್ಕಿ ಹೊಡೀತು. ಬಂಪರ್ ಜಖಂ.
ಡ್ರೈವರ್ ೧: ಬಂಪರ್ ಹಾಕಿಸ್ಕೋಡಿ.
ಡ್ರೈವರ್ ೨: ಬಂಪರ್ ಪ್ರೈಜ್ ಎಷ್ಟು?
ರಿಕ್ಷಾ ಡ್ರೈವರ್ ಗಳಿಗೆ ಶ್ಂಕರ್ ನಾಗ್ ಬಿಟ್ರೆ, ‘ಸಂಜೆ ವಾಣಿ’ನೇ next favourite!
Wherever I see LAKME , I invariably read it as LAKUMI.
‘Yorkshire Weather’ since morning in Bengaluru. Perfect for Cricket, Frisbee and a long leisurely walk in the market.
The strong yet subtle smell that surrounds you in a petty shop – a unique mix of Banana (Pach Baale), Fresh Newspapers rolled between glass bottlles, Magazines hung on thin wires, Cigarette smoke, Chikki, Chewing Gum, Modern Bread, Notebook…. cannot be recreated/ replicated anywhere!
ಪೆಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಅಂಗಡಿಗೆ ಜೈ!
Just like a Principal peeping into a class and walking away, the sun peeped once in Bengaluru disappeared.
After years of wear and tear, the Geometry box lid would start moving horizontally, a la Chiranjeevi while dancing! Once the Geometry box lid started acting loose, we would put a piece of paper and close it so that it sat tightly!
Blue & White Hawaii slipper and a ‘safety pin’! Made for each other (no more)!
I played with a short and fat scooter tyre and also a slim and trim cycle tyre… with which tyre did you play?
Ajji calls her grandson, who is listening to his i-pod, and asks him to buy get her a new Panchanga. The boy goes to a shop near 8th cross.
Boy: Uncle, Ondh Panchanga kodi.
Shopkeeper: Ontikoppal kodla?
Boy: Bisi idre kodi.
(Boy thought the shopkeeper was offering him tea in a cup).
MET Dept. is getting a clearer picture on the Weather in different places through FB posts than the INSAT-1B* picture!
*FB posts are also a kind of IN-SAT…coz we sit inside and write!
ಬಾಗಿಲಿಗೆ ಹಾಕಿರೋ ಬೀಗ ಸ್ಟಕ್ ಆದಾಗ ಗಂಡ ಓಪನ್ ಮಾಡಕ್ಕ್ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಪಡೋದು ನೋಡಿ ಹೆಂಡತಿ ಸಲಹೆ ಕೊಡ್ತಾಳೆ:
ಎಣ್ಣೆ ಹಾಕ್ ಬಿಟ್ಟ್ ಟ್ರಯ್ ಮಾಡಿ!
While in school, doubts would crop up on a Sunday evening, a day before the exams! Some of us would study late into the night. Seeing this rare occurrence, one or the other member in the house would invariably utter this phrase: YUDDHAKAALE SHASTRAABHYAASA!
On the last day of the exam, we would frantically run behind our seniors, asking, begging them to sell their textbooks to us, for half rate. The condition of the textbook would decide the final rate. Dirtier the book, lower the price.
By 9th and 10th std., even the GUIDES would be in demand! Remember MBD Guides (Malhotra Book Depot)!
ಗುಂಡಾಯನಮಃ. ಗುಂಡೋಪಂತ್. ಉಂಡಾಡಿಗುಂಡ. ಗುಂಡಪ್ಪ. ಗುಂಡನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಜೋಕ್ಸು. ಗುಂಡನ ಇಟ್ಕೊಂಡು ಗಾದೆ (ಎಲೆ ಎತ್ತೋ ಗುಂಡ ಅಂದರೆ…)
ವೀ ಲವ್ ಗುಂಡ!
ಅಡ್ಡ ರಸ್ತೇಲಿರೋದು ತಪ್ಪಲ್ಲ. ಅಡ್ಡ ದಾರೀಲಿರೋದು ತಪ್ಪು.
Next time we meet Bheem, would love to gift him a box full of Laddoos! It was fun meeting Chhota Bheem at Dholakpur with my son yesterday! Sonny and his cousin had fun seeing Bheem dance to a remixed ‘Bheeeeeeeem song’. The acrobatics by the African team was simply mindblowing, as was the lazer show. The show was such a hit that me and V loved being with the kids, and we were cheering Bheem & his team! Thanks to POGO for giving us MAX fun at Koramangala Indoor stadium! Needless to say, V had won two free Passes for this event! We really enjoyed it when the guy on stilts carried N! Height of excitement? Maybe!
It is difficult to exactly say when this fellow entered our lives. He first befriended my sonny, and then my better half…and finally me. Chhota Bheem entered into my son’s life sometime in 2008. N was then going to Kidzee. After coming back, he would be eating fruits while Bheem would be eating laddoos! Hearing V hum the ‘Chhota Bheem song’, I felt I was missing the action. I immediately got hooked.
A quick look at the starcast:
Bheem: Bheem is an adventurous and fun-loving 9-year-old who is gifted with extraordinary strength. Bheem loves food and has a certain craving for laddoos, which in fact, give him a surge of energy and make him even stronger than he normally is.
Chutki: Chutki is a seven -year-old girl. She is Bheem’s closest friend, and assists Bheem on their adventures.
Raju: Raju is a cute and courageous five-year-old, whose role model is Bheem.
Kalia: Kalia is a 11 year old bully. He is also very greedy and tries to become rich by cheating. Kalia has two silly followers, Dholu and Bholu, who sometimes help him in his plans and at other times completely abandon him.
Jaggu: Jaggu is a talking monkey. Jaggu has his own special way of solving problems, using tricks and his amazing sense of humour.
Dholu and Bholu: Dholu and Bholu are identical twins and followers of Kalia Pahelwan. Though they are not strong themselves, they bask in Kalia’s strength and are arrogant with the other kids.
Kichak: Kichak is a wrestler from Pehelwanpur. He is jealous of Bheem, since Bheem is more popular than he is.
Raja Indraverma: The King of Dholakpur is Raja Indraverma. Though a valiant warrior, he is also hinted to be a coward at times, as he relies on Bheem for every crisis in the kingdom.
Princess Indumati: Raja Indraverma’s daughter is Indumati. She is a nice, caring princess. She also won the trophy along with Chutki in the episode “Girls versus Girls”.
Daku Mangal Singh: Mangal Singh is a daku (dacoit) who used to terrorize Dholakpur when he was free.
Floating Dhooni Baba: Dhooni Baba is a sage who lives in a cave. He has a body smeared with ash and seen meditating floating in the air.
Tun-Tun Mausi: Tun-Tun is the mother of Chutki. She owns a laddoo shop where she sells yummy laddoos that Bheem so much loves to eat all the time.
Professor Dhoom Ke Too: An Inventor. He often ends up getting problems with his Inventions, like getting his inventions stolen or malfunctioning.
Shivani: Bheem’s foster sister is Shivani. She lives in Pehelwanpur and a runs a dhaba there named “Shivani ka Dhaba”.
Ususally, boys and girls watch separate cartoons… but Chhota Bheem has hooked them all! The way kids followed He-Man a quarter century ago, kids now follow Chhota Bheem! In fact, all three of us love watching Bheem and his team beat up enemies who come to Dholakpur from far and wide.
Aside: I love it when V mimics every character from Chhota Bheem! She’s simply too good at it!
I was back home by 6 in the evening this Thursday. No sooner had I stepped in to my room, my wife suggested, “Why don’t we go to Sankey for a walk?” I was not too keen. She said, “I have been inside the house all day. Let’s go.” I said, “I’ve been out all day. Let’s sit in the balcony!” No response. I finally said, “OK let’s go. But no walking in Sankey Park…only sitting and chatting.” She agreed.
It’s not Sankey Park that I’m against (Not long ago, it was just Sankey Tank). It’s the roads leading to it. Horrible traffic on 17th cross and 18th cross roads, main roads included. But once inside, Sankey park is heaven, well almost!
Me and my wife love to walk. But our requirements are different. My wife loves to walk – as they walk inside any park. The serious types. She doesn’t like to walk in crowded areas.
But I can’t walk just for WALKING sake, least of all in a park. I can walk long distances (which I have done several times) – say from Malleswaram to Jayanagar or all around Majestic, looking at shops, hoardings, people fighting on roads, looking at the street dogs, crows sitting on the electric pole, the beggar, the cops hiding behind a tree to catch the erring drivers… you got my point right? I can walk when there are lots of distractions on my way. I suddenly stop near a Lassi or Gulkand store when I see one. Or stand staring at film posters for a few minutes. Some of you might not classify this as ‘walking’. For me, this is better than plain ‘walking’.
On the way to Sankey, I saw a teenager shouting at someone over the phone. I so much wanted to stand and listen to him, but my wife pulled me along.
Once inside Sankey, wife again asked me if I wanted to walk – like the hordes of people inside. I told I would rather sit on a bench and enjoy nature’s beauty, and observe people.
Now finding a vacant bench in Sankey park is as difficult as finding a sparrow in Bangalore. Fortunately, we found a lady getting up, and we sat immediately. Being summer, the bench was quite warm. The bench I found was just under the place where a portion of the title song of ‘Nodi Swamy Naavirodhu Heege’ was shot [between 0:51 to 0:57 seconds with the song duration being 4:28 minutes.]
Quite a few people looked serious walkers. They had no partners, and they were not looking left or right – just straight ahead. It is a pleasure to see some people walk or jog. They have that athletic gait, and look so elegant. They mean business.
Suddenly there comes three MRF ladies. All three are talking at the same time in Hindi. Looks like they are cursing someone.
There are several walkers who are constantly fiddling with the earphone or the mobile. Some elderly men are wearing formal wear that has faded so much that you cannot guess what colour it was originally, chanting and walking with their bodies bent in different angles.
Some young girls in bare minimal clothing are walking and jogging and also pulling the top near the waist as much down as possible. But that poor little top – how much can it come down, when it is stitched to cover only till the navel.
A couple are controlling the naughty fellow from almost touching the duck – which has had enough of ‘Kadlepuri’ for the past 15 minutes. It swims away in spite of lots of ‘puri’ floating around it.
There is suddenly a huge gang of people – grandpa, grandma, Appa, Amma, Uncle and aunty, kids plus cousins plus maids to look after the aged plus maids to look after the kids. In the gang, kids appear first fascinated by the ducks, followed by their parents – who have the ‘I have seen lots of ducks look’ on their faces, uncles and aunts adjusting their dresses, followed by the maids with deadpan expression and finally the grandpa and grandma who look so very happy to have come out of the house…
A few men and women are exaggeratedly walking with their outstretched hands as if there is no tomorrow. Maybe they want to make up for the lost time over the years.
Amongst all these people, there are some who can be categorised as ‘show-off’ walkers. It seems they are not bothered to lose some weight or get fit, but their aim is to look in disdain at those who are SITTING! They take 8 steps between the benches, turn ‘Left’ and give a disgusting look at those who are sitting, look ahead, 8 steps, face turns ‘Left’ and disgusting look, 8 steps…. after 10 minutes they surface again! But this time they turn ‘Right’ to give the horrible look! Their main aim is to look down (literally) on those who are sitting. Or perhaps, the expression on their face is ‘like that only’ always!
On the way back home, we treated ourselves to a delicious tender coconut on the other side of the footpath. My wife doesn’t know that that was just an excuse to look at Dr.Rajkumar’s poster near the 18th cross Auto stand for a few minutes!
During my schooldays, by the time our Summer holidays started, a month of fun and frolic would have been over for my friends studying in other schools with State syllabus. When their exams got over, our school (Kendriya Vidyalaya) would still be completing the last chapters or would have just begun ‘Revisions’!
Now by the time our exams started, there would be complete chaos opposite my house, where the matches would be played or the sittings and discussions would take place – in short, opposite my house was our ADDA.
Mine being an old and small house with a huge empty space in front, which ever place you shifted base to study, it made no difference as I could hear the score after each ball. This was all the more frustrating because only my body would be in the house while my mind was on the street – I would be under ‘house arrest’, made to study forcefully! In this atmosphere, I would be made to spend one whole week. In the morning, while going for the exam, they would be playing. While coming back from the exam, I would see them pouring water over the head and still playing. Until 7 in the evening, they would be cheering and booing each other. Then they would sit till 8pm and only then go home. It was sheer torture to sit and TRY to STUDY while the main action was happening elsewhere. I was not allowed to see my favourite CHITRAMANJARI on Thursday. I prayed god (not for my exams) but for the only reason that no Rajkumar movie should be telecast on Saturday till my exams finished!
By the last day of my exam, I would have been tamed by the four letter word – EXAM. But just as we came out of the school gate, we would enjoy the 10 paise Guava, 25 paise Joy Ice Cream stick, throw stones at the Mango tree in the opposite house and eat one or two and hit each other with the rest, buy pickles from Krishna Stores or GK Stores opposite the bus stand…. Wow! We would act as if we had really achieved something great by studying, attending, writing and coming out of the exam hall intact, in a single piece!
This thought in mind, someone would suggest we ought to treat ourselves with Veg Sandwich at the nearby JB Bakery. That would be 75 paise for a double sandwich. We would have a by-two! The assistant boy whom we all knew quite well, would be more than happy to give us hot sandwiches and Dil Pasand, just out of the oven. I would suddenly feel an urge to have a Masale Dose at Agarwal Bhavan, diagonally opposite our school back gate. But sipping a Torino, I would literally feel ‘fullfilled’ in life!
We would walk near the Sankey bridge after playing some cricket inside the school – the exam pad acting as the bat. After the exams, our mind would remember just two dates – the day of the results (usually May 2nd or 3rd) and the reopening day (usually June 26th or 27th). To complete the final rites, we would bid adieu to our close friends, while tearing the exam sheets into pieces and throwing them on our year-long rivals, who would be chased out of the school front gate, only to be seen hiding near the back gate!
Back home, we would behave like KINGS! “I want Thums Up”. “I want to watch TV from start till the end”. “I want to see Rajkumar’s film in Geethanjali TODAY ITSELF, and again tomorrow!”. “I want to go to Janatha Hotel”…
On the day of the result, we would again see our classmates. Our Princi would tell us to read useful books and do some projects during summer holidays and then announce the reopening date. He would mention a couple of names and everybody would clap till the said persons would come on stage and shake hands with the Princi. Our class teachers would distribute the Report Cards (one year Pink, the other year Yellow, or Light Green or Blue) While some of us would get a stern look while receiving the Report Card, some others got a ‘Keepi tappppp’ or just ‘Gooooooood’!
Mother would start making my favourite Kobri Mithai once the results would be announced at home. She would be able to see the marks card only by late evening, when she would be slightly free after entertaining several visitors while cooking, serving and also making sweets. She would wipe her hands dry and hold it so very delicately and read every letter on the marks sheet. She would give the sweets after telling me to do better the coming year. I would say a quick “Yes, Yes” and would be more bothered to eat the sweet!
Although I never attended any Summer camp all my life, Summer would simply fly! Me and my friends would have loads of activity lined up, when we were not wielding the willow. If we got bored with Cricket, we would switch to any of these -Hide and Seek, Lagori, Soor Chand, Kings, Ghost stories, Gate-Gate or Tree-Tree, Tennis (using palms) – lines drawn using a brick piece on the road… There would be doubles games also while playing Tennis. Some of the smashes would take the ball down to the edge of the road or to the empty site full of parthenium plants. There was also a game where we would shout, “Crocodile Crocodile, which co-lo-r dooo youuuu choose?”
When some friends would go out of station, then our dear Ajji would always pitch in by playing Chowka Bhara or Pagade with us. I have never understood how to play Ali Guli Mane – too complicated! Always had this notion that only girls were better at it.
Mango smell and mango dishes would over power you during summer. Manvinakayi Chitranna, Mavinahannu Gojju, Mavinahannu Seekarne, Mavinakayi Uppinakayi, Mavinakayi Chutney… and apart from these, just eating the raw mangoes with chilli powder or ripe mangoes till the ‘Vaate’ was bald and white was sheer fun with my cousins, who would loyally visit us every summer!
Overnight, our house would become the destination for Carrom or Chess matches. These games were, to begin with, not in my favour, as all elders would say “you are young, we’ll take you in the next match”… and that never happened. Sometimes, I felt like getting rid of the Carrom or Chess board!
Rains would have started, thus bringing end to Summer. And my friends would have already finished a month of schooling, as their classes would have begun by May end itself. I would still be absolutely unaware that it was a week into June!
Suddenly, I would have a desire to buy a new bat. I would wait for months for my father to fulfill this wish. My father would one fine day make a bat himself using some old wooden plank. An old cycle tube would be the ‘grip’! I would play with it only inside my compound, not very happy to take it out for the matches on the street, where branded SG bats would be in demand. [Only once did my father buy me a bat from a shop in Malleswaram. My misfortune that the handle and the blade got separated a week later! It would be back to the old bat.]
Rubber ball – Magenta or Red or Blue, with an ASIAD APPU logo printed on a yellow patch would be bought for two rupees from Popular Stores. Tennis ball was a rarity. Still don’t know how much one costed then (in the early and mid ’80s)! Would ask my uncle in the US to get used tennis balls when he visited. That itself was a luxury.
Having lived in a dream world for over two months, I would one day see my father dusting my old school bag – the military type – yellow color with two pockets at the front and two buckles which had sharp metal edges. I would ask him – “Can I get a new bag this year at least?” He would look at the bag once again and reply, “This bag can last till your college… and if you keep it properly, even your son can use it!”
That was enough to bring you back to this world. And that meant it was time for school!
Will be fun if you could share your Summer Holidays flashback with me!
Some of the below mentioned activities are advisable for children, some are not, while some are fine with parental guidance.
It’s time for more nostalgia on RwB. Wherever you see or read today, the one word that hits you is REUSE and RECYCLE! Just remembered a few things that we used to reuse as kids. So here goes:
Empty Cigar packs : This was between 1st standard till 3rd standard. Me and my friends dutifully hunted for used cigar packs on the footpaths, roads and near any petty shops. As soon as we got a few, we threw away the torn or soiled ones, while the OK looking ones were wiped and taken into the ‘secret production chamber’, that no parent knew where it existed! The packs were carefully made into a walkie talkie phone, which when you held in your right palm (between the index and thumb fingers facing you), would open up. The main tools used were a strong rubberband and a ball point pen (blue and red) to customise the phone to your requirements!
Any cousin or relative to visit the home would be shown the proud possession! And when they asked to give our phone for them to hold, we wouldn’t let them touch it,and we would run away to our production chamber to make some changes, lest our enemies duplicates the hi-tech phone!
Cycle tyres : Around the same time, it was a pastime to play with thin cycle tyres (Some boys would have small and plumpy scooter tyres, which made a ‘tob-tob- noise when you hit them). Cycle tyres were quite easy to get, as the nearby cycle shop owner would happily get rid of unwanted tyres. When Amma used to send us to buy a soap or when we suddenly found a 25 paise (on the window sill, with which we bought a Double Bubble Gum), we would hit the tyre along side (either with our palms or with a smooth chota stick), and as we turned so would the tyre, which obeyed us only when we had that small stick). As we stood at the shop, we would hang it on to our right shoulder, and would be back home in a jiffy if the house was down the road! Where most of today’s cars are parked on the roads would be our rightful lane to play the Tyre aata!
Magnets and Ball bearings : When with the cycle tyres, I remember collecting a box full of ball bearings (again this came free and easy, as there would be plenty of them lying in and around the cycle shop, some visible, some hidden in the dark soil, some shining, some black and out of shape…)
There was nothing as fascinating as seeing the ball bearings stick on to each other (similar to 3-4 people holding on to each other on a cliff, one holding the other’s leg) when a Magnet made its presence. The ball bearings would wobble when the magnet moved near it. Magnets would suddenly be in so much demand, that the round badge like things that Amma had purchased from 8th cross Rayara Gudi, and pasted on the metal window frame in the kitchen (or later the refrigerator) on which were Krishna, Rama, Raghavendraswamy, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswathi etc. etc. would all be left to pile up on each other in the shelf as the magnet behind them would have been robbed!
Coloured Glass pieces : This was a very short lived hobby. Maybe during 2nd standard till beginning of 3rd standard. When we used to play Mann-aata, we would suddenly get dark brown glass pieces, while digging. While walking to the bus stand with Amma, I would chance upon a yellow shining glass piece. I used to collect these and watch the world through them. Such a surreal feeling!
Film Reel : Lengthy film reels would be thrown on roads, which we would collect and try to see if we could see the characters moving when we moved them really quickly. Negligible movement! Unless I found a reel with Rajkumar in it, I would not bring these into the secret production chamber. And I never found a reel with Rajkumar in it!
Scud Missile : These were clearly during the Gulf war, when I was in 9th standard. All that was required to make the scud missile was a small wooden plank (as big as your palm), 3 small nails, a rubberband and some matchsticks. The 3 nails would be partially hit on the plank to make a triangle. Two nails would be wound by a rubberband. A matchstick would now be placed, ready to be shot. When one of the nails having the rubberband around it would become hot (due to the heat transferred by another matchstick), the scud matchstick would fly into the air, to the enemy’s camp!
Hand made Cork ball : When in 4th standard, me and my friends spent considerable time in the summer trying to make our own cork ball. For this, we would go in search of Gobli mara / Rain tree (Acacia).
Once we collected lots of pods from the tree, we would then climb on to the parapet of my friend’s house to crush the pods (Why there? Who knows!). We would suddenly realise that Oil was missing - so we would ask our friend Umesh to get some oil really quickly – he would sometimes get cooking oil, sometimes coconut oil. Now the grinding would start until it became a fine paste with a smooth texture. We would then make a ball, pouring oil on our hands and rolling the stuff in our hands in a circular motion. Then, it was the turn to keep the ball for drying on top of our house for a week.
After the exercise, we would wash our hands usually with 501 bar soap (used for washing clothes). However long we washed, the smell of the pods would stay for atleast for a day!
Grandpa’s Walking stick : Every house would have a walking stick -either Thatha’s, or your father’s Kashi Yatre stick, which would suddenly be more important than the cricket bat… because the stick would turn into a hockey stick overnight!
Magnifying glass : Commonly called Lens, we would keep it in our small pockets, take it to school, not to use it for what it is actually meant for, but to burn paper or dry leaves during Lunch break (January till March.) I think this was during 5th standard.
Matchbox : Collecting and sharing different matchbox covers was a hobby between 1st standard and 4th standard. But by 6th standard, only men of steel would learn the trick of using the ‘striking surface’ in various ways. Firstly, we would cut the piece and paste it onto the shoe heel. A match would always be hidden, unknown to the opponent. During a face off, the stick would appear out of no where and be rubbed on to the shoe… the lit matchstick would be put off by blowing it in a very stylish way, with the eyes seeing the opponent and only the lower lip moveing (as close to what we had seen our hero doing in films!)
[Got caught doing this during SUPW class... made to paint 15 more chairs than others as a punishment]
Another use of the matchbox was to put small insects into it and release them in school / classroom!
Peppermint cover : This was one of the earliest tricks that humans learnt. After the chocolate / peppermint is totally chewed and swallowed, the cover would be pulled tightly by both hands and held close to the lips and blown. Beginners would get a ‘tussss’ sound, First graders would get a screeching noise while the Experts would be playing with the whistling sound!
Broom stick : Ramayana made us desperate for bow and arrow. The lucky ones would get a nice and strong stick of an unknown tree which would act as a bow while we (cursed souls) would have to be happy turning a broom stick into a bow and another broomstick for an arrow. Highly dangerous… we never managed to cause any accidents, but always heard someone tell us that some one in Rajajinagar/ Yeshwanthpura / Subramanyanagara lost an eye… we never believed it…but still we were scared of hurting each other!
Edges of the footpath towards the road : This was where we sat after playing cricket, and drank ‘Chombugattle’ water!. We would discuss about the game, rag, tease, eat bubble gum… While playing, if the match was ‘single side fielding’, then the batting side would sit usually on a compound wall behind the batsman (Usually there is one everywhere!).
Empty Bottles : These were used mainly during Deepavali, to light Rockets. In our days, we used to send some horizontally on the roads, what with such less vehicles.
X-Ray sheets : To watch the sun during Grahana, we would hunt for Ajji’s Xray sheet (that she had been given after her recent visit to Jayadeva Hospital near City Market). Once we started asking for the Xray sheet, Ajji would think it was being asked to discuss about her health, and she would quickly and obediently give it, taking it out from the bottom-most part of the ‘kabbinada pettige’, only to be later told that her Xray has become a toy for the young brutes!
Newspapers : Some of us would use newspapers for various things – to bind books, to make kites, hit flies, light the kerosene stove / hande-vole-uri, as a chart sheet to make collage, to fold and keep a piece of the newspaper under the shaking part of the Godrej bureau / shelf / almirah…
Soap cover : After taking out the new soap bar, the cover would be opened and kept under the clothes, for a few days, so that the aroma spread across the clothes.
Dairy Milk Foil : The aluminum foil one found in a Cadbury Dairy Milk, would be neatly kept in a school notebook, after rubbing out any crease on the foil! The metallic sound it made every time we held it was music to my ears. Even today, when I eat a Dairy Milk (which is the BEST chocolate in the world), I cannot forget how many foils I must have preserved in my childhood!
Bangalore Press Calendar : “The empty space behind the Bangalore Press calendar was where we wrote and practiced our tables, handwriting…” father used to tell this. For me, any empty space is worthy only to be drawn. And draw was what I did behind the calendar sheets! (Good, there was no back to back printing then!)
Old socks : This was after we came back from school, and without removing the school uniform. 6th and 7th standard. The tennis, rubber, cork or leather ball we had would be put into the socks and tied to a high beam / grill. Kept hitting the ball with SG bat to get the perfect shot, feet movement and posture!
Used Dalda / Farex Tins : Rangoli powder in my house, neighbour’s house, or any one’s house would all be kept in either Dalda or Farex tin only! And these tins with Rangoli would be stolen to put the crease on our pitches i.e. my house compound!
Cleaning the comb: Bottom portion of any used Agarbathi would be used to clean the comb. Later on, used and dead toothbrushes would be used to clean the comb. Another typical sight was seeing my opposite house Ajji using a matchstick to clean her ears.
Old Ball point pen: We would love to fix the small pencils to the bottom portion of the ball point pen and write our home work faster than normal. Got a kick out of this simple act!
Winding the Pencil : We would twist and wind the pencil box using a rubberband and a long pencil. When left alone, the pencil would rotate, thus making us feel our pencil box is a helicopter! 3rd standard project.
Another activity was piercing the eraser with the pencil and hitting the table or the friend unecessarily, with our new tool! 1st standard assignment.
Eraser / Rubber as a seal : We would write our initials in reverse on the ‘rubber’ and print it on our text book /note book, hands, thighs, sometimes crazily on our forehead…. thus sealing our fate literally! 2nd standard.
Exam pad : Invariably, every boy’s exam pad (brown color with metallic clip) would be broken in at least one corner. That was because it would be used as a cricket bat after the exam!
Cardboard in the Agarbathi pack: would be used to as a make-believe telescope…which would be used on a hot summer afternoon as we stood in the middle of the road to see if the Joy ice cream gaadi is coming or not! Seeing through it, we always believed ‘objects looked closer than they appeared otherwise’.
Blade and Compass : To make carvings on school furniture (Some of my teachers follow this blog…so no more details)
Tamarind seed : We would have this in our pockets anytime of the day. We would rub it on the wall or the ground and keep it immediately on the cheeks or necks of those who would annoy us.
Notebook Cover : The hardbound covers of our previous year’s notebooks Lekhak, later Vidya Lekhak, would have the pages torn out, and the hard cover would be used as a table tennis bat.
This post has become much much longer than what I actually thought initially. If you’ve read it fully , thanks for getting till here. Hope you have enjoyed this post. Let me know even otherwise.
It is that time of the year when grandparents stop watching serials and parents cease to talk loudly. There is a ‘smashana mouna’ in every house of the street. One particular room will have the light burning longer than usual. ‘Boost / Complan / Bournvita’ is supplied continuously to the victim inside the room. Mother is awake along with the victim. Ok…you might have guessed it by now – the victim is none other than the boy or girl studying for the exams.
My son has his exams from next Monday. He and his mom are academically a very successful team. Both are preparing well for the exams. Power goes. I hear my wife ask me (without raising her head from the textbook) to get the emergency lamp from the shelf and switch it on. My son just then says: Appa, why can’t we get a UPS for our house. Why only for the Comp?
I tell him: Isn’t it a great feeling when power goes when you are studying during exams?
He gives me a weird look. Gen-Y, you see! (They are called so because most of their sentences starts with WHY!)
Cut to the time when I was studying. Exam season. Power cut around 7pm… just when we have started to study “Aadhi Maanav”. And you could hear joyous sounds from many houses! (Some poor souls were cursed to say ‘Two-one-za-Two’ till 20 when there was a powercut!) We all (blessed souls) used to gather on the road, under the electric pole (which acted as wickets), to continue our unfinished game of Cricket. “3 balls 4 to win”, Vijay tells. Gopi disputes. “4 balls 3 to win… the last ball was a wide when we went.” Harish is taking strike when Ravi shouts Harish was run out in the previous over. Power comes. We hear a mom shouting – Ravi, baaro! Each one is blaming one another for the delay… the game is unfinished still.
We go back to our homes shouting loudly that during the next power cut, there will be no more arguments – match will resume at 4 balls 3 to win. Power never goes. And most of us are forced to study that night. Some amongst us were very brilliant – in the sense they hardly came out to play, while some of us were very clever – we hardly went home to study!
Honestly, some of us loved it when power went, and indulged in simple pleasures like playing cricket, antakshari, chatting, hide and seek… The only time we didn’t want a power cut was when we were watching our favourite films / programs / Cricket match on Doordarshan!
Today’s kids hardly know the difference between having power and having no power as most houses have a UPS connection. In most apartments, there is just a flicker when power goes, within no time the lights are on.
During class tests, assignments, we had the audacity to tell the teacher the next morning that due to power cut, we could not study / complete the project, and even managed to get away with the excuse! The UPS has snatched away an important excuse from today’s kids.
I sometimes feel ours is the last generation that enjoyed the power cuts (how much I prayed for one during exams). Ours is the last generation to have seen a host of things: mainly Rukavat ke liye khed hai (Adachanegagi kshamisi), Over to Delhi (Ideega Dehalige) – on Doordarshan; Enne snana on Sunday; standing in a queue in front of Ration shop at 5 in the morning for Rice-Sugar-Kerosene every fortnight; Calling the beggars roaming in the night shouting ‘Kavala Thaayi’ to take the leftover food; seeing Amma-Ajji bargain with the Steel-Paatre Saamaan fellow in the afternoon over an old silk saree and a small steel tumbler; sitting on the lawns of an illuminated Vidhana Soudha on a Sunday evening and enjoying Garma Garam Kadlekai, going to the Bank just to read the various newspapers, pressing the flat toothpaste tube with a metal stick (kept to break a coconut) and trying to squeeze out some toothpaste, taking the transistor (with a thick cover with holes) to the bathroom so that we didn’t miss our favourite song… the list is endless!
We have seen the stingy side in our parents and grandparents who tried to value even a ‘Sabeena Powder Cover’, and we are seeing today’s ‘USE n THROW’ generation. The former overvalued everything, the latter undervalue everything…. perhaps the invaluable insight we can take is that give the value each one deserves - nothing more, nothing less!
Hope I post this before the power goes! The UPS is already beeping!