We used to hang around the Chepekayi mara in our Ajji’s house in Basavanagudi, whenever we were there. We used to hang upside down many times. It was a real Kothi Cheshte.
I was (and even now) fond of Guavas – that too ‘kasakatte kayi”.
Kite flying was one of the pastimes. Cricket, Goli aata, Gilli dandlu, Eyes spies, Jootata, Lagori, Soor chendu (a free for all ball hitting game ), Cycling, viewing cinemas in tents (apart from cinema theatres), SKC in the hotels with my father, Carrom, playing Cards (in summer holidays, we have played non-stop for 9 hours on many days), gossiping with cousins on Ajji’s house metlu were the favourite pastimes. There was always company.
I had also a craze for matches(the labels on the matchboxes). I had a collection of nearly 700 matches.
Radio held the sway. Telephones were extremely rare. Only the rich had them. For story books it was Chandamama, Balamitra, Kasturi, Uththana, Koravanji was another small booklet published. Harikathe was popular during Ramanavami celebrations. Going to temples was as common as visiting friend’s houses.
Summer holidays were heaven, where it was just aata, oota and niddhe , with most of the time spent with cousins. Visiting all relatives was a second habit.
Deepavali would start a month earlier with bursting crackers and end a fortnight later.
All these are childhood memories etched during the 60s. I do not remember much of the later decades because they were less intense for me.
There were no traffic lights, all roads (except avenue road which was one way- perhaps the earliest) were two way roads. We could cycle, bike or drive through Lalbagh to Double road, Jayanagar, Basavanagudi. Lalbagh even had a restaurant then. (We were very fond of the Masala Dosa there). Lalbagh had only a fence around it and not the present compound wall .
I have even taken my cycle to the Airport and stood next to the run way when an aircraft was taxing off .(this was in early 70s- where in I sneaked through the fence on the Agaram side)
This apart the innumerable festivals were celebrated with gusto by my parents. Ganeshana habba meant visiting all neighbourhood houses. We used to cover Basavanagudi, NR Colony, Thyagarajanagar, Nagasandra areas in our circuit.
My uncle’s favourite song was ‘Meri pyari pyari soorat ho, kisee ki nazar na lage, chasme baddur’ .He was fond of Saigal . Later on it was Hemanth Kumar, Manna dey, Rafi,Mukesh. Of the females it was Suraiya, Noor Jehan, Geeta Dutt, Lata, Suman Kalyanpur ( Her songs are haunting- including the Kannada songs- ‘Bellane Belagaayithu’- I think from the film “Sangolli Rayanna”).
Films in Kannada- Anna thangi, Naandi, Gaali Gopura etc., by Kumarathrayas (Raj, Udaykumar, Kalyankumar) were famous. Pandaribai, Harini, B.Saroja Devi, Jayanti, Narasimharaju, Balakrishna, Vadiraj were the rage of the day.
Well let me stop. Otherwise it becomes another Nostalgic saga from my side (if it hasn’t become one already).
In the end I would say…( to repeat the words of a famous song)
‘Those were the days, my friend
we thought they’d , never end.
For ever and ever.