Wednesday, July 25, 2018

My Story, Part 2 - Dr. Nalini Nargundkar

Chapter 2 of the story.

1934 - Jaipur
We did not have electricity in Jaipur. I think we got electricity in 1934. Till then we were using kerosene lamps. We used to cook on coal chula or kerosene stove.
In 1934 Jaipur had its first cinema theater. I saw my first cinema in theater in Jaipur. I think it was Raja Harishchandra or Achhut kanya.
In 1934 on 14th December Shashi was born in that house. One day when Shashi was crawling she went to mother who was making tea on the stove, the boiled tea was kept on the floor where Shashi reached and before mother could pick her up, Shashi hit the tea-pot and spilled the hot tea all over her body and got badly scalded. It took quite some time for her to recover from that accident.
Another thing in Jaipur was all tongawallas at Jaipur station used to bring any Maharashtrian family getting down at railway station was asked if they want to go to Oak sab’s house and invariably they used to come to our house. That way we used to get plenty of visitors in Jaipur who used to come to see Jaipur. It had almost become a tourist guest house. Those days there were no servants in the house. Only one bhisti used to be there, who used to bring water from across road from a public tap. He used to bring water in a leather bag, called pakhal, tied to his back. We got taps in our house, for the first time after we went to big bungalow next to zoo.   
Pune Days
In 1936 we landed in Pune on the Tulashi-lagna day. We had rented a house opposite to my grandfather’s {my mother’s uncle, N. C. Kelkar’s house} in Sadashiv peth. I started going to Bhave School along with my cousin Leela. She was in 3rd class, I was in second class. That was my first experience of school. On our way to school, every day we had to face lot of cows and buffaloes. It was very frightening. But I managed it with the help of Leela.
In those days traffic was almost non-existent. So, one day we went to Laxmi road, bought one tricycle and Indu and I came home on Tilak road riding on the tricycle. Indu was very fond of wearing saari. That too, nine-yard saree. So, one day Akka took us to market and bought us one sari each. as soon as we came home, Indu wore that sari. Next day it was put in the water and all its colour gone. So Akka returned my sari. Anyway, I was not much interested in wearing sari.
In Pune there was electricity and there were number of cinema theaters. We saw quite a few Marathi pictures those days.
While we were in Pune, thread ceremony of my cousins Gajanan and Vinayak took place. It was the first time I saw such ceremony. A big pendal was erected. Lot of relatives and guests had come. we enjoyed it a lot. That was the first time I saw and met my grandparents and babumama. That was also the first time we enjoyed ice-cream.
Kelkars had a very big courtyard next to their house. We used to play cricket and vitidandu there.
In that summer we met Mai mavashi and her family in Pune. They normally stayed in Nagpur.  Brought out one As Nagpur is very hot in summer they used to come to Pune for the summer holidays.
 We had one atya in Pune those days. Her name was Varanatai. One day we went to see her. She was living in a small room. She entertained us very well. There was a small tin lying about. Shashi was playing with it. Shashi liked it very much. She asked Atya can I take this tin home? Atya asked her why do you want that tin? She said she wanted it to drink buttermilk. Atya got very emotional. She said your atya is not so poor. She opened one trunk and brought out one silver droni. e. a bowl shaped like a leaf bowl. Shashi brought it home happily and for a long time she used it for drinking buttermilk.
Our Pune stay was short, but very memorable. We met lot of our relatives in Pune whom we had never seen or met before. First time we came and stayed in Maharashtra where everybody was talking in Marathi. It was new to us. In Jaipur everybody outside our house was talking in Hindi. There were only a few Maharashtrian families where we could talk in Marathi.
Kolhapur days
Next year we shifted to Kolhapur where my aaji and bhaukaka were staying. First, we stayed in Shiralkar’s house for a few months and then shifted to Deo’s house on main road. Kolhapur jail was very near to our house. Laxmibai girl’s high school and Rajaram college were also very near to our house. When we left Jaipur, tai was left in Ahilyashram school in Indore. After we shifted to Kolhapur tai came to Kolhapur and joined high school there. Mai also joined the same school. My primary school was a bit far away. But I met a few friends staying nearby who could come with me to school. I did my third class there.
Kolhapur was not a very big town those days. The central jail was very near to our house. Mahalaxmi temple is famous in Kolhapur. There is a legend that it was erected overnight. It is a very big and beautiful.
There was a film studio near our house, just outside the big veshi i. e. a big stony gate of old town. We saw some pictures in tent as there was no cinema hall those days. Like that, we saw one picture in Panchgani in tent called Kunku. We had been to Panchgani to visit Dattukaka, Akka’s uncle. Panchgani is near Mahabaleshwar, a hill station.
While we were staying in Rahalkar’s house, one evening when Akka was cleaning kerosene lamps, to be lighted at night a big nagoba i. e. a big snake was sitting coiled in the corner of the place where we used to store all our lamps in day time. Akka got frightened and shouted for help. But before anybody could come the snake went away and we were saved from a big calamity.

When we shifted to the house on main road, that house belonged to a Deo family. Incidentally it happened to be Ramesh Deo’s family who became a famous film star later in life. Those days he was also a school going boy. There were three brothers and one eldest sister called Indu. She used to make big jowar roti i. e. bhakari on hand roast it on tawa and later in wood chula. As in Jaipur we never ate bhakari.It was a great fun to watch her make it on hand. Later on, Akka started making it on parat or polpat. 

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