Friday, October 15, 2010

It's been a really long time since I posted here. But the memories have to come and so strongly, that you want to write about them.
Today, just randomly, I remembered the flat that we stayed in last, while in Calcutta (Kolkatta). It was a gracious, spacious old flat. We were on the ground floor. There were four bedrooms, with attached bathrooms and what came to my mind were the beautiful copper boilers in each bathroom, for hot water. They were huge, by today's water heater standards, and the water was heated by piped-in gas. When you wanted hot water for a bath, you had to turn the main jet out from underneath, light it and then slowly turn it back in, when the burner ring, under this great big boiler, got lit. My mother instructed us all to be very careful when lighting it, as she warned that otherwise there could be an explosion!  This pictures is the nearest to what our water heater looked like (as I remember).

There was a cooking range in the kitchen,with a large oven, which too was powered by piped-in gas (natural gas). Only my mother lit the oven, as she considered it too dangerous for anyone else to do.

I also remember that there was a long corridor running through the house, from which all the rooms led off. This corridor was a scary place to traverse at night, especially for my younger sister. As there were 4 bedrooms, and we didn't need them all, one bedroom was hardly ever used. For some strange reason, we invested this room with all the scary night things children are afraid of. Now one had to walk down the corridor quite a way, to put on the corridor light. But even when the light was on, somehow the part of the corridor, near the unused room, seemed much darker. To get to our bedroom, or my parents bedroom, we had to go through this darker area and pass the unused room. So, if my mother asked one of us (usually me, being the older one there)to get something from her room or ours, it was an act fraught with terror. My mother had no patience with such stupid fears and expected action pronto. So, I would run past this room, without looking in. But, over time, I managed to conquer my fears by forcing myself to enter that room and put on the light, usually accompanied by our family dog [:-)]. But it remained scary for my younger siblings for quite a long time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Beatles--formed 50 years back!

I see that I haven't written a post here for around 6 months now!! I guess there were no specific memories that came up.
But for a while now, I've been thinking about the Beatles and yesterday I saw a program on India Today's Headlines Today, a tribute to the Beatles and that really brought back ever so many memories.
I did all my growing up to a background of the Beatles music. In India, in the 60s, original Western music took a long while to reach our shores. What I seem to remember is that 1964 was the time, anyway, when the Beatles came into my life. In the Calcutta of those days, there used to be a radio progamme of English pop at around 7.30 pm. I don't remember now if it was there every day of the week or only on Saturdays. But I do know how I loved it when the Beatles played. Elvis was very popular in India and strangely Country Western music was also very popular among those who listened to English music. But I remember that I was ready to get into an argument with anyone who decried the Beatles and their music, or said that Elvis was better :-)
At that time, of course, there were very rarely printed lyrics available and what we all had to do, was sit with a pen and paper and try to figure out the lyrics, If one was lucky enough to own a record, then it became easier to get the lyrics, as you could listen to the same song umpteen times. (You must remember at that time there were no audio tapes, where one could pause a tape). So I remember the excitement when my mother bought one of the English women's magazines--Woman & Home I think it was--and it had lyrics to a number of the Beatles songs. My brother and I carefully cut that out and kept it very safely. Incidentally, in that compilation was the lyrics for 'From me to you'. There is a funny story attached to that. My brother--he may have been 11 or 12--insisted that the words in the song went, "I have long arms to hold you and keep you by my side" and all my yelling at him that that sounded totally ridiculous, he just wouldn't agree, because he said a senior in his school had sung those words. So it gave me great satisfaction to show him the correct lyrics, when we got that compilation.
A large part of my studies were done with music playing in the background, and I recall my father getting really upset about that.
Later, when I got into University in Chennai, we could always listen to Radio Ceylon, which had many more programmes of Western pop.
I am, naturally, still a BIG Beatles fan and my children all listen to their music and love it too. I've added the video bar of their music, to go with this post.