Memories

Christmas

As a percentage, Christians account for just 2% of India’s population, however, when I look back, Christmas seemed to be celebrated more widely than the numbers would suggest.  Perhaps the fact that I studied at Jesuit schools and had a lot of Christian friends leads me to this conclusion.  My primary school (up to 3rd grade) was on a January…

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Memories

The Apollo Gym

    I remember my first visit to the gym at my university at Clemson.  I was awestruck by the facilities and the equipment.  Times have changed but in the early nineties, I don’t think national level athletes in India had access to such facilities.  The contrast was stark to the gym at my undergraduate college in India.  The gym,…

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Books, Memories

Brer Rabbit

  An enduring memory of my childhood is that of lying in bed on a cold December night in Bangalore, sometime around 1973 with the lights switched off and my brother telling me stories of Brer Rabbit.  These were written by Enid Blyton and involved the escapades of a rabbit who was constantly outwitting the trio of Brer Fox, Brer…

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Memories

A bag of Pistachios

While rummaging through our pantry the other day, I came across a bag of Pistachios.  It was a 3 lb bag from Costco and we had consumed about half its contents. The presence of the bag had obviously been forgotten and it was lying hidden behind some boxes.  The contents had turned rancid and I threw the bag in the…

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Memories, Music

Requiem for the Cassette Tape

They made their appearance in India in the mid-to-late seventies.  The next step in the evolution of music players – the cassette decks.  They ranged from the compact mono players and “two-in-ones” to the larger cassette decks that came with graphic equalizers and powerful speakers.  They were middle and upper-class status symbols, usually occupying a prominent place in the house.…

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Memories, Music

The Street Singer

The phrase “Street Singer” evokes nostalgia for lovers of old Hindi music.  And by old, I mean really old, for this is the name of the 1938 movie starring the singer-actor K.L. Saigal.  It contains gems such as “Babul Mora”, “Jeevan Been Madhur Na Baje” and “Lachhami Murat Daras Dikhaye”.  Yes, I admit, I listen to Hindi songs from the…

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Memories, Sport

A Pair of Shorts

Each year, as my school’s annual sports day rolled around, I would get excited.  I really had no reason to.  While I played cricket and soccer in my neighborhood, I would never qualify for any of the athletic events.  I loved sports though.  I followed the Olympics (past and present) and Asian games closely.  Jesse Owens, Al Oerter, Jim Thorpe,…

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Memories

Diwali

My brother crept up to the Vishnu bomb, paused for a moment, lit the fuse with an incense stick and ran back to where I was standing.  There was a chill in the air.  The sun was yet to rise and the street lamp cast our shadows on the street.  The bomb exploded with a flash and as the sound…

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Memories, Music

Jamaican Farewell

If you asked me to name my favorite Hindi song, I would be hard-pressed to give you an answer.  I’ve been listening to Hindi songs as far as I can remember.  If you asked me my favorite English song, I would say “Jamaican Farewell” by Harry Belafonte.  The word favorite is subjective.  How does a song become one’s favorite?  In…

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Memories

Khartoum!

I can’t remember much of what I learned in high school but bits of trivia that I read at that age are still fresh in my mind.  Its useful for the odd dinner conversation but nothing more.  However, it helped me out during my school days.  My only claim to fame as a schoolboy was that I was a member…

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