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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Verbal Portraits

We have read a book named ‘Ganagot’ which were biographies of people whom PL met/were related in real life.  Being ardent fan of PL, i had this idea to pen down some characters in real life like PL. Hope I create that generic feel out of personal experiences as in the original book.

Every night after 9 PM few music channels on TV and few FM channels play old songs.  Whenever I hear the eternal songs from films like Anaadi,  Madhumati, Chori Chori, my mind rides upon  a time machine to  reach a house very close to the foothill of Parvati (Those outside Pune will not now that there is a small hill which is used for exercise purpose since ages named as Parvati. There are few good temples and views on the top of whole city.) Those were the early 80s. DD was just gaining popularity. Households were buying black and white TVs from companies like EC, Dyanora, Crown.  Every Saturday they used to play a Marathi movie and on Sunday a Hindi movie. Those Marathi movies were either old mythological movies or musical dramas which we used to hate then, or biographies of the saints of Maharashtra, family drama, movies based on local dance called tamasha, few great comedies. We also had few great programs lie Gajra : a collection of good literary pieces. But the star of the show was Sunday movie invariably an old one.  I as a child loved contemporary Amitabh or Mithun movies with customary fight sequences. Never as i child i realized that its impossible for single man (that too having lean physic of amitabh) can defeat 20 odd villains in a fight to win over a lady. Maybe thats why we really believed that to win a lady you need to hit 20 people at a time when you grow up. Old movies were boring and that too if you were asked to walk say about 4 kms from sadashiv peth to parvati , it was a tough ask.  But then it was an incentive to visit Sabnekaka’s home as we had separate room there where we could watch parvati, road  while elders saw movie in the hall. But then you got to get interested in movie plots if you had to see. I remember being perplexed by vyjayantimala double role in Madhumati while i enjoyed songs. I found Raj Kapoor funny.  I was impressed by Devanand in Guide and Jewel Theif  (never believed Ashok kumar to be villain an any point till it was exposed  in the plot But the darling was Kishore kumar with comical presence and voice. Road from sadashiv peth to parvati had another incentive of detour to sarasbaug to play and eat bhel. We were promised of a return journey by auto which depending on movie length was fulfilled when it was really late (late meant 9 30 then). But then we used to enjoy whole Sunday movie experience thanks to warm hospitality of sabne kaka and kaku with great food and comments. Sabne kaka is gentleman personified. He is professor in Maths and statistics. He had written many books. Very soft spoken quite contrary to image of maths as a subject and that too as a teacher. I really wish i attended his class at Garware college where he used to teach. Later when i grew up, i came to know the trustee role he played in helping us grow in modernized housing. I don’t want to elaborate but that itself was rare those days. As we gout our own TV , these sessions ended. Infact since mid 80s DD viewing was another experience as we all know. Sunday movies were shifted to Saturdays. Then in 90s private channels and satellite tv came. Rest as they say is history with explosion of entertainment and media. But still whenever i hear a song from madhumati or chalti ka naam i still remember those Sunday evenings.  Other day i had chance to meet Kaka. Kaku is no more. Sabne kaka is still the same as in those memories. Look forward to his blessings as always....

There is a beautiful song in Marathi sung by  Aasha Bhosale asking kids to ride a train to reach house of maternal uncle ie Mama.  We as kids looked forward to reach a quaint place called Dombivali next day the exams ended.  Train journey used to be an adventure if we had no reservation or great if we had one. High points were eating chikki at Lonavala, Diwadkar wada at Karjat or omelette cutlet  from pantry, counting tunnels and viewing terrain in ghat section. Imagine getting down at Karjat station and filling water bottles from local taps. Our kids are not allowed to have anything except bottled mineral water. Dombivali is another intriguing place. We had to get down at Kalyan and catch Mumbai local to cross distance of 10 kms.  The place is urban civil nightmare as we see today but then it used to be heaven. Reason chance to meet grandparents, aunts and meeting cousins and yes Manoharmama our only maternal uncle
Forget open gutters, humid climate, mosquitoes, many people cramped in a small house, these were collateral damages for much bigger gains. Gains chance to live life fully as it comes as exemplified by Mama then.  Dombivali and for that matter entire Mumbai and suburbs are great places to be for an ardent cricket fan like me. There was a small ground in front of house. During evenings there were many cricket matched played with full pitch bowling and in the evenings many groups sat in the open but humid air mainly discussing cricket. Maybe few discussed other things in life but i doubt. Mama is also ardent fan and he had great friends who claimed expertise in everything involved in cricket. Those were pre 83  and TV days when cricket was not as big as it now in hinterlands. But Mumbai being Mumbai then it was difference. That’s where we learnt nuances, history, and the passion about cricket.
Mama used to teach students at ITI. So also is technically qualified. He is connoisseur of music be it Hindi films old and new, Marathi and even English POP songs then. I still remember him introducing us to tracks like funkey town, ossibissa and Boney M. He got Dyanora TV which used to display much better pictures than what we saw in Pune maybe Mumbai had better transponder. We had one atop Sinhagad in Pune. And yes it used to be down for hrs as we used to wait watching ants on TV. Then we had rukavat or vyatay ie formal apology by Doordarshan to explain technical snag. He also is a tennis fan. He is foodie: Knew places around for good fast food as well genuine cuisine. He was the one who taught us famous pav bhaji recipe from Mumbai. And he insisted on Bad shah  masala and amul butter which was rarity then. He was the one who used to guide us to TV, cricket, films, music and eating out.  I am sure these things are the things which we define our mainstream entertainment and our life even today.
As we grew up, and he took on responsibilities of household, elders and daughters ably helped by our Mami. There was a change in address and town as well where he has to live away from family. He had a leg problem. But i heard he made his little heaven there as well.  And we also moved on in our own lives, careers. Visits got delayed. Outlooks changed but passion still is same.
Life has moved on for him. He is now retired happily and both daughters happily married and now he is a grandpa. I wish new generation also has same guidance from him to live life fully. That’s why his sisters call him Rasik which can be loosely translated as Connoisseur

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