Sunday, December 14, 2014

A trip to Udupi

As always, my brother, on his trips to India, makes it a point to meet as many people as he possibly can, however short his visit may be.  He had Mangalore and Udupi on his agenda.  Since I was in charge of his itinerary, I booked his ticket.  A fortnight later, I decided to accompany him. I had not been to Udupi for over 35 years and there was that longing to connect to the past.  Earlier visits were with my parents and siblings driving 500 km in the old Prefect Ford over the Shimoga ghats. Stopping at travelers bungalows along the way.  Quenching thirst with 'goli' soda.  It seemed a long time ago.  Memories were fading.

The driver of the cab we hired from the Mangalore airport was elderly and I settled down to what I assumed would be a relaxed ride.  But he took off from the airport like a rocket and brought us to our destination in the shortest time.  I normally would have been scared out of my wits, but instead the two of us were looking out excitedly for familiar landmarks as we whizzed past at full speed.

The start of the road  that led to the house had high rise apartments.  Oh no, I thought, had the place changed that much !  That was so disappointing..... but just till we reached our destination.  There it stood, the house, as we remembered it.

It felt as if the hands of the clock were pushed back in time.  And we were so grateful to our uncle and aunt who lived there.  It must be a mammoth task to maintain a house of this size. But they had taken care to see that the house remained unchanged.  A few modern conveniences to make life easier.

                    The housewarming in 1917.The portico had not been constructed at that time.

Each room had a story to tell.  The front portico that used to be open earlier was where my father, as a child, had a very bad head injury when he fell off the parapet.  As years passed by, security issues cropped up and it had to be enclosed.

              The cool red oxide flooring, high sloping roof with Mangalore tiles on the outside and the wooden                  rafters inside. 

We were squealing with delight as we walked from room to room. It did not matter that we were not kids anymore.  Taking pictures.  Looking for objects that we could remember having seen. Memories came rushing back.  Where was the ship in the bottle?  The ship remained, and I suspect the bottle must have been broken.

The grand uncle's study had been out of bounds for us. Or was it that as kids we were scared to venture in.  He used to looked stern.  Even now, I stepped in hesitantly. My great grandmother's room was converted to a puja place.  The kitchen retained the old charm.  Of course, a gas stove and a refrigerator had moved in. I thought the lights had not been switched off only to realise that abundant sunlight was streaming in through the skylights in the roof.

The house stood on an acre of land.  There were tall trees of coconut, teak, jack fruit, bread fruit, sapota, mango, bay leaf, pepper vines, curry leaves, and the bilimbi .  They must have seen generations play under its shade.

There was a little raised platform in the compound where the adults would gather and chat in the evening. It also served as the centre stage for weddings.

The town has changed.  There is no doubt about that.  Tall residential buildings and malls. The small by lanes existed, that we as city bred kids thought , barely sufficient for humans and the occasional bullock cart. But now there were Audis, BMWs and Mercs that drove by.

The Malpe beach with its golden sands was as beautiful.  We chose a day and time when the crowds were thin.  There were people para gliding, and in speed boats.  Different sights. But same delight .

The Ajarkad playground where we would walk in the evenings and make little sand castles was still there.  Adjoining it was a huge stadium and a park.  The old radio tower still remained.  It looked a little sad and forlorn, but there were signs of some repair and I am hoping it will be restored to its old glory.

We mananged the Udupi Krishna temple visit choosing once again the time when there was no rush of devotees.

We were in Udupi for too short a time. As children, we had wanted to rush back to the city sounds.  But now we enjoyed the quiet.  I have to make the trip back there very soon.  To spend more time with my uncle and aunt.  To listen to anecdotes they have to share.  To walk through the rooms again.  And oh yes, the Gadbad Special Ice cream.  We were so well fed, that we just did not have room for the Udupi specialty.   There is always another time.  And I hope it will be very soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Door Darshan - the old faithful

I guess Door Darshan should have a new slogan.  In Indian English -  Take no tension, watch Door Darshan.

No screaming anchors, no disturbing visuals... news read in the same monotone.  In the 55th year of its existence, I have begun watching the channel again.  You can let it go on in the background and read a book peacefully.  Off and on, glancing up to take in the news.  It indeed is tranquil.  And there is no sarcasm here. Years ago, I was criticising it for just the very reasons !

They do not even give you the schedule of programmes.  And one is sometimes pleasantly surprised when there is a telecast of a good debate, good music, a good film. Which, believe me is quite often.  Door Darshan has the best archives of music, film, new reels and features.  And just as you get immersed in it, there is an abrupt halt and time for the next show.  Perhaps, if they really had a well thought of schedule, they would let the public know !

Door Darshan brings back memories of the family getting together in the TV room.  It was bonding time. From my old grandmother to the family help, and the dog.  Children on the mat.  The swirling logo and music that Hritik Roshan made fun of in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara - which my daughter would call the Dumtaka music - would bring all other activities in the house to a standstill.  Right from the agriculture programmes that began at 6 pm to the end with the news at night.  After which everyone dispersed to bed. Nothing was 24/7 those days.  The term did not exist.

Which brings me to the present.  The ongoing 2014 Asian Games at South Korea.  Door Darshan is indeed telecasting the Asian Games.  The 2011 edition.

What is the medal tally ?  Ignorance is bliss. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back to Blogging...I hope

This blog has been dormant too long... I may not have any readers left.  But then, what better to way to record your thoughts and get down to writing.

I was away from home for six months.  When I got back we had a new government at the centre, a new one at the state... which was fine.  I even got back to a new state, which was rather sad.  I have no idea if it will have any impact on the development of the region.  But it seems a part of me has been snatched away.  This place is no longer home.

Which brings me back to the book I am reading , Prison and Chocolate Cake by Nayantara Sahgal, the introductory chapter made so much sense to me.  Especially since all these changes in the past few months upset me.  No one else seems duly concerned, so why me, I wonder ?  At least the author echoes similar sentiments.  The book was initially published in 1954.  And later on in the reprinted version, she elected to keep the footnotes and not unnecessarily update it, which would have meant erasing the signs of the past.   She rightly mentions that updaters have done it with history.  Road names, town names are changed so very frequently. Statues are demolished and replaced.  For what she asks, to say that history began today ? That every generation has only a updated version of events not knowing what one went through to arrive at the present ? To wipe out traces would be to pretend they never existed.

Every time I am away even if it is for a month, I come back to find a building brought down, landmarks vanishing.  And I can find nothing in the city that I can associate with my youth.

Which is why, perhaps, I like to see anything that looks like it has been around a long long time. In London, I saw this milestone that was on one of our regular walking routes .

 So I looked up for it and came across this site - English Heritage - It says - Milestone - Cast Iron with an arched head. Retains the founders mark RU & J Barret 1834.

They even have a Milestone Society that has a record of all of them.

What I like best is, that it is there on the street.  No one has defaced it. No XX loves YY.  No pamphlets pasted over it. It might go unnoticed by many... but  it has been there since 1834 !

I even read that some of the earliest milestones are those erected by the Mughals and they were close to Agra.  Some have tried going in search for it, but the tourist guides have no clue of their location.  I can very well believe that.  Another relic disappeared like so many others.

I will sit and contemplate.  Go back to reading the book.  Like my blog posts, I had put aside books for more light and easy reading.  My success with both will be recorded here. Another post.. another milestone.
Related Posts with Thumbnails