Dr. Nalini Nargundkar, 89 in a fortnight, has a clear memory of her journey from the town of Amalner in Maharashtra to Jaipur, Bihar, Vellore, Pune, Kothagudem and so on. This is the first chapter of her story, of her childhood.
Will add some pictures as and when I find them.
Will add some pictures as and when I find them.
Dr. Nalini Nargundkar
I was born in 1929 at my grandmother’s place at Dhule.
I spent my childhood in Jaipur. We went to Devas in 1936 where Manik was born. There I went to a school for a few days. But, it was just a time pass. My kaku sent me and mai to school so we should not trouble her. But it was a fun for me, Mai did not like it.
My real schooling started after we left Jaipur and shifted to Pune in 1936 after Diwali. I joined second class in BHAVE school. Then we shifted to Kolhapur in the month of May 1937. There I did my third class. My father who had gone abroad after we left Jaipur had returned to India and taken a job in Amalner. So, we shifted to Amalner in 1938. I did my schooling and college upto inter-science in Amalner. After that I went to Pune for my medical college. I passed my M.B.B.S. from B.J. Medical college in 1953. After that I went to Vellore for my house-surgency. I stayed there for one and half year till the end of January 1955. After that I worked in Pulgaon maternity home for a few months. In October 1955, I joined Central Hospital Dhanbad in Bihar. I stayed in that area till November 1961.Then I shifted to Kothagudam in Singareni collieries Andhra Pradesh. I worked in different hospitals like Bellampalli, Ramgundam and retired as Additional Chief Medical Officer in 1989. Since then I am staying in Pune.one
I remember quite a lot of things from Jaipur days. We used to live in the market place in a three-story building. Ground floor was shops of rangaries. They used to dye cloth or clothes. First floor was for Dada. He used to have his office and his bed room in one wing. On the other side of staircase, it was children’s wing, where we used to play, sleep, study etc. One day I was following tai to her study room, when I fell down in a staircase which was closed and not in use. It was full of junk. I got injured when a they had to take me to the hospital as I had become unconscious. It took quite some time for me to recover completely. Earlier to this time, when I was too small Tai carried me to the terrace of the house and put me on the parapet wall and I fell down from there two floors below on the first-floor chowk. That time also I had injured myself and had become unconscious. It took a long time for my complete recovery. In the same house Indu was born. I still remember Akka lying with a small baby, that was Indu.
Next year we shifted to another big house in Mishrajee’s galli. Three stories plus terrace. there were thirty-two rooms in the house. On the ground floor my father used to have his club. His friends used to come to play cards and carrom. Some of the other rooms were used by servants. We used to live on the first floor. Second floor was not in use. Once only a room there was used when my father had imported lots of oranges from Nagpur. We used to go to that room whenever we wanted and eat as many as we liked. It was a great fun.
While we were staying in the same house, one afternoon while we were having our afternoon tiffin, all of a sudden, the house started rocking, the utensils started falling. we did not know what was happening. we started crying, calling mother. She came and pacified us and told us not to worry. It was earth quake. That was my first experience of earthquake. Next time I experienced much later while we were in Kothagum in 1962 or 63. That we felt earthquake in the night while we were having our dinner. We ran out of the house with the children. We stayed out of the house the rest of the night. Soon the electricity also disappeared. We felt many more attacks of earthquake the same night and the next day too. But all of them were mild. So, no harm or any damage was done.
Next, we shifted to a big bungalow when my father became principal of the college. It was quite huge with very big garden and big compound. There were pink roses for the border. A basketful of rose flowers we used to collect every day. They were used for pooja on the first day. Next day we used to take out petals, crush them a bit, add crushed khadisakhar or plain sugar to it, put it in a glass jar, put it with a lid and put it in sun for a few days and we used to get gulkand. This way we used to get lot of homemade gulkand which we used to eat in summer. It used to be nice and cooling.
In our back yard we used to grow lots of vegetables. In winter we used to have lot of cauliflower and green peas. We used to have aloo, mutter gobi as vegetable quite often for our lunch or dinner.
While we were staying there, I used to get lot of boils all over my body in summer. Akka used to give me neem patta juice every morning to drink. It used to be very bitter. My mother put multani mati all over my body. When it dried up she used to bathe me by cold water of the well.
In winter it used to be very cold. We used to keep milk with sugar in an open vessel on the terrace at night. Early morning the next day, we used to churn it. A lot of thick foam would come on the top. Which we used to call amrut and eat it very cold. It was very tasty.
While we were there I got one big boil on my left arm. It burst open one day and formed a big ulcer. From that ulcer lot of pus used to come out. I was going daily to the local hospital for vaccination dressing. But it was not healing. Ultimately our driver took me to a zarra i. e. one hakeem. With his dressing and medicines. It healed completely in a few days. It left a big scar on my arm like a vaccination mark permanently.
There was a big zoo next to our house. There was one big well with mot for drawing water, separating our house from the zoo. First night after going to that house we were very much frightened when we heard the roaring sound of lions and tigers. Then slowly we got used to it.
There was a very big backyard. We used to grow lots of vegetables there. We had lots of big Neem trees under which we used to play in summer afternoons. We had plenty of Phalsa shrubs near the fence. We used to pluck and eat as many as we want.
In Rajastan, there used to be Ramleela around Ramnavami. One year we enacted Seeta haran in our garden. Tai, Mai and I had become Ram, Laxman and Seeta. One of our friend had become Ravana. He picked me up and carried me to Lanka I. e. behind a big tree. Then Ram and Laxman come to fight with Ravana and take away Seeta after killing Ravana. It was a great fun.
We used to have plenty of monkeys in that area. One day, the door of our storeroom was left open by oversight. So, lots of monkeys entered the storeroom and ate a bagful of groundnuts. Those days we had to shell out groundnut seeds at home. Whoever wanted sago khichadi had to shell out a cupful of groundnuts.