Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sholay - Movie

 And then, we watched Sholay and marvelled at how carefully chiselled each scene was, each character was. The train dacoity scene, the dhanno chase scene, Sachin's death, Amitabh's death...classic scenes. Once again complete reverence, entertainment. I would say, a good summer.  

I remember first watching it in Hanamkonda. The crowds were crazy and my dad had to pull a few strings to get tickets and we all went, all six siblings (I was in my fifth class then perhaps, so the violence must have been a bit excessive). We actually went in my dad's subordinates car, an old car, perhaps a Standard and we christened it 'Sholay' car. Remember the awe, the spectacle - never realised how much it impacted me deep inside. 

Don - Movie

 Take four people who grew up in the 70-80s. Add a 15 year old who has just seen 'Deewar' and 'Amar Akbar Anthony' on the big screen and throw in a hot summer afternoon. We opted for 'Don' and the movie did not disappoint. From the titles in negative, the background music, the opening scene ...the movie went took like a bullet. Scene after scene after powerful scene, twist after twist. And oodles of style in every shot, costume, dialogue. If Amitabh has some great dialogues and scenes, Pran has some wonderful ones too.

We loved watching it and so did A!

I remember watching it more than once when I was in my eight class (the movie released in 1978). Something in the poster drew me to it and once you watched it, you were hooked. Iwatched in again - in Vikranti I guess (with Ahmed tailor for company). Once again in Gokul later.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Yo Yo Nama - Gouri Dange

 Met Gowri at her Ram Nagar residence and we chatted about this and that for a while - writing, publishing and so on. She gifted me this book that she had written - 'Yo Yo Nama'. It is about Yo Yo, a dog in their colony that adopted them.

Its a heartwarming account of her love for Yo Yo Nama and the happiness the dog brought into their lives. Gouri's prose sparkles as always and since the object is one of affection it rises to a whole new level.

Its a nice, easy read which makes you all in love with Yo Yo.   

Mithya - Movie

 A struggling actor who resembles a mafia don who is bumped off and replaced. Had a few moments but finally petered out into nothing much.

Happy Colony Days

 Barometer is an iconic restaurant now in Pune and we're glad its in our parts. Jyo was keen on us meeting for lunch there so we all piled on into Gauri' car and headed off there. Jyo had already booked a table so there was no hassle. Some beer, some great food and some lovely conversations and we were all in a good place to go home and crash.


The heat knocked us all out so bad that no one was up till late that evening. We connected the TV to the laptop and that set up the IPL for us.


We took Mahesh's car and went off to visit Shashi maushi at Pirangut. It was nice catching up with her, Chitra and Prashant, Meera and Vijay over lunch. Chitra and Prashant have a lovely house with a great view of the hills and meadows.
And then there were walks in the Happy Colony which I love.

And cold coffee at Durga cafe.

And as always there is a Konkan Express visit, a Pruthvi tiffins visit and so on. It was a fun time with IPL, walks, reading, catching up on sleep and so on. 

Magarpatta Days

 We went to Happy Colony, dropped our stuff and headed back to One o Eight Lifestyle Cafe where Malay decided to celebrate his birthday. Brilliant place. How Malay discovers these places is something I am in awe of. He told us how he picks them - there was one such restaurant he had picked in Bangalore too.

Prakash, Gauri, Kalpak, Shraddha, Rja, Satish, Shobhs, Anjali and I made up the rest of the party. Some fine food and drink (lovely farm pizzas) and desserts and we headed off to stay the night at Magarpatta. I was pretty sleepy but it was rather hot and I took a while to fall asleep.

Next morning I caught up with Prakash on a walk and he did a small round after which I went on a longer one. Lots of colour, laburnum trees and their golden flowers. I like the many leaves that fall, the flowers that fall and enjoyed the walk. 

A good solid breakfast and then we were off at lunch time back to Happy Colony. This time to visit the popular restaurant Barometer.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Tendlya - Movie

 Watched this cute little movie at City Pride. The kids in the movie were amazing and the last cricket match was something you could watch any number of times. Simple movie about a cricket crazy bunch of kids, rather, a whole cricket crazy village!

Hippie - Paulo Coelho

 This appears to be an account of a part of Paulo Coelho's life - his hippie days. The story is about two young people (boy and girl) who meet in Europe and take a bus called the Magic Bus which takes people across Europe and Asia right to Nepal for some 100 bucks. The hero meets the heroine in Amsterdam, they take the Magic Bus, meet other people and finally journey across the continents in a rickety bus growing along the way. Once they get thrown out of a restaurant in Germany, two underage girls are off loaded, some funny incidents in Turkey. 

Nothing much to take away from.  Though it does give an insight into the life of a hippie, societal sanctions and attitudes about them and how they cope with all that.  

Kondhwa Days

The ride on the Innova from Mumbai to Kondhwa took longer than usual thanks to a traffic jam on the Expressway and then, sadly, we had to pass by Kothrud which was on the way to Kondhwa, Raja's place, an hour away on the other side. Thankfully Prarthana was up and about with a wonderful spread and we settled down soon after. Raja's flat is on the 7th floor and its windy which made is quite bearable. Prarthana had also done some home improvement - artificial grass, lighting, planters etc which added a lot to the ambiance. I think we went for a walk in the premises after dinner.

Vijay and I catching up after years

I set off for a walk the next morning. I love Kondhwa's still on-the-way-to-development environs. The cute coffee houses, Irani cafe and other shops make for good appreciation while walking. I love that route. It takes all of an hour that route.

The master photographer

Back home and Pratty was ready with some wonderful breakfast. The day was about reading, catching up on sleep, catching up generally, music, beer, karaoke and such. For some reason the desire to visit Asha maushi who lives across the town bit us and we travelled a whole hour to meet her. She looked frail. Jyo and Manik maushi were around so we ended up having a good time. The Uber car failed on the return journey - a first for me. It was the most run down car I ever saw, broken wind shield, under age driver, and well a broken engine at the end. We ended up walking the last 2 kms of the journey!


Same stuff on repeat mode all of next day again. The difference was meeting Vijay Chaggar my old team mate from MCC days. Vijay was a hard hitting middle order batsman and an off spinner, a tough competitor. After some jobs in Hyderabad he shifted to Pune and Mumbai and built a lovely career in the telecom sector. He picked me up, showed his lovely house in Undri with its garden and lawn, his cars and stuff and I am so happy he did so well for himself. Listening to him talking in a very sorted manner made me feel quite happy. 

Off to Kothrud

Back home and we decided on playing badminton. The evening was spent playing some badminton and then it was back to music, beer, IPL and stuff. Sitting in that balcony became our favorite hangout place.

Tomorrow, the plan is to head to Kothrud. Kondhwa was fun. Thanks Pratty for a good time and being a wonderful hostess.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Queen's Court Days

Queen's Court is where Khayal holds court so we were all generally enamored by his antics. He is completely into cars and pretty much thinks the world of his new Kushack and Octavia. He was a bit more wary of me this time but as friendly as ever with Anjali.

Anjali also caught up with Harsh who has been her childhood friend from school. Harsh moved to Mumbai as few years ago and she always makes it a point to meet him. Harsh's mom Vaishali also came and they met up.   

The idea was to do a nice lunch outside and we had some places in mind but zoned in on Mondegar. Raja and Satish went to some interview on CNBC and Miskil, Shobhs, Anjali and me went to Mondegar - Kabir was to join us for lunch there. On the way Anjali got her result and we were thrilled that the celebrations would now be that much more sweeter. We got ourselves a nice place and ordered ourselves some nice food, beer and such. The music was good and someone was playing the jukebox and we really got into the celebratory mood. Kabir joined us and before I knew it had even paid the bill which was rather unfair because I was all set to celebrate A's results. But then it was a lovely gesture because both Miskil and he are very fond of Anjali.

Anyway, post lunch there was some street side shopping and then we went back home and packed up. Raja and Satish came back and we had tea and headed off to Pune in a hired Innova.


Anjali - And Anjali Knocks it Out of the Park with a 97.8%

 We have been keeping an eye out for the CBSE results and they finally came when we were at Miskil's house which seems to be a happy place for us. I remember we received the copy of the first 'This Way is Easier Dad' when we were visiting them in 2017!

Anjali scored some 97.8%, scored a perfect 100 in Math and some high 90s in other subjects. Congratulations young lady.

What I liked most was the way she went about it all by herself - zero help from me except for transport or logistics. She would study in a planned manner, drag herself out of bed, check with her teachers and friends about any doubts, do model question papers and went about each exam diligently. She would tell me she did well in all exams and her estimate proved pretty accurate from what she told me right after her exam.

A just reward for her process. Well done Anjali!  

Sahitya Sahwas Days

Met Suhita for the first time after Jayant's passing away. No one else was home so we spent time chatting. Suhita and Jayant met when they were in the Rashtiya Seva Dal as idealistic youngsters - he older than she was by several years. He was an established screenplay writer and a man of arts and letters and she was a young artiste who wanted to act. A love story if there was one.

The house seems to be lacking that energy Jayant brought in - always offering chai, his favorite khari biscuit, a drink in the evening, some chat about movies or cricket (and politics). He led an active life and was always up for a challenge - he would drive till pretty late in his life, enjoyed his swimming, his drink, his food. People who knew him as a friend loved him immensely. Here's an old blog I wrote about an interview with him.


Lunch time the other trooped in -  Anjali, Shobha, Miskil, Khayal. Lunch, nap and it was time for them to head off to watch 'Sound of Music' the play at NMACC. I caught up on a couple of calls and then Raja arrived. We had a drink and some dinner and these people came back from the play. 

Anjali, Miskil and Suhita at the NMACC for 'The Sound of Music' play

While I was on my own I went out  for a walk to buy some soft drinks and watched the humongous real estate that Adani Realty was building. Across the road was the better looking building - Jade Gardens. I headed back after a short walk on the road named after Jayant's father 'Dharmadhikari' road. Suhita's father Yadunath Thatte has a chowk named after him in Pune, so it's very elite lineage we are talking about here. The last time I was here Suhita and I were walking about and I asked her about the street name and she told me Jayant would joke about it and say 'yeh mera baap ka rasta hai' jokingly.   

Suhita, Miskil, Shobha and I stayed up chatting until almost 3 in the morning when Satish's flight was  to arrive. We somehow managed to find parking, find Satish and headed back home. Some more chatting till the wee hours and I dozed off. 

Morning hours were spent having chai, ordering breakfast, unpacking gifts that Satish bought. Miskil had me drop her off at her office at Bandra Kurla (and to pick her up) in her brand new Kushack or whatever. Tarabai made the best brinjal curry with small dried prawns - amazing. Reminded me of my mother who would use brinjal to add prawns, dry fish, mutton, egg - and it would taste super. Told Tarabai that and she felt very happy. 

Mangala tai, Harshu and others dropped in and I met them for a bit. Time to pick up Miskil and we went again - all four of us - Raja, Satish, Anjali and me. Some banter and Suhita had to leave for her tour -  her play was running at Sangli, Kolhapur and Goa. 

Miskil took us to Sadiccha the restaurant near Bandra Club MIG and we hogged on some lovely sea food thalis. Then we took a cab and Miskils car and headed off to her place.

Mumbai is humid  

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Small Towns, Big Stories - Ruskin Bond

 'Pure magic' says The Hindu. I find that if you have read a few you have read them all. Some of them are actually same with different names - like the boy who lands up on his steps and stays and studies and fails the exam. Nice story but twice!

The ghost stories were nice - he's in his element there. The railway station stories also seem similar - fantasy like. A girl, and she disappears. One appears later in the other railway story and nothing much happens. Stuff about the lizard oil. Little vignettes from his life - they seemed interesting to me.

Why are they rehashing the same things instead of publishing new stuff? But its easier to reach for Ruskin Bond than any other book. It's light and  easy. On the eye and the soul. 

Heading to Mumbai

Planned to drive to Pune and then take a cab to Mumbai until I found that the flight tickets were some 3500. I chose to fly instead to Mumbai. Bought two books 'Ruskin Bond' and 'Greatest stories from Nobel Prize Winners'. Finished most of Ruskin Bond on the flight. 

Air India was an experience. The flight looked rather worse for the wear. I had to really squeeze in - felt like the old days when buses would squeeze in extra seats and I had to sit with my legs apart. No pouch, everything stripped down, looking old and musty, not that spanking clean experience you expect. The pluses - pilot was articulate, crew generally there, we got a kathi roll.

Off the flight, found a cab. The prepaid guys were charging a minimum of 700 bucks - now that is interesting. Perhaps only long distance is their game. Anyway glad I changed my mind about driving - its bloody hot. And Mumbai is humid.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

There's No Such Place as Far Away - Richard Bach

 This Bach I read after 'One' and 'Jonathan Livingstone Seagull'. In this the author explores the theme of freedom, happiness, labels, limitations. Life is a gift of happiness. It's a 10 minute read.

How do they get such ideas published? Not complaining. Loved it.

The Threshold - Movie

 2015. Movie about an elderly couple who has moved to a new home in the hills but now the lady wants to move out of the marriage because she has had enough. Brilliant acting by Rajit Kapur and Neena Gupta as the squabbling couple.

The Wife - Movie

 2017. Award winning movie based on a novel about how life changes for a woman who travels with her husband who has received the Nobel Prize. Intriguing human drama. Watch it.

Zubeidaa - Movie

 2001. Hindi. Witten by Khalid Mohammed about his mother. Concluding part of the trilogy 'Mammo' and 'Sardari Begum'. Intense love story of a spirited young lady caught in a world that does not understand her. Loved it.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Victory City - Salman Rushdie

 Chitra and Krishna gifted this to me a couple of months ago. It is about Vijaya Nagara (Victory City stupids) and its tale told by a lady who lives for 280 plus years and who writes down all that happened during those years - how she created the city and how it went to seed, her many affairs with foreign men and Indian queens and her many sons and daughters.

I did not see the purpose of this book - at times it looks like he is making a joke (can't keep his sarcasm out), and at times it looks like he is making a point of knowing the details in history that we all should know. If I wanted to read about The Rise and Fall of Vijaya Nagara I would want to read a book that is more serious. If I wanted to read something entertaining I would have liked lively characters who have something to accomplish and who bring the human experience in all its glory. Instead I get a story that at times appears real and serious and at times looks like its a joke fabricated on the original. The characters including the ever youthful Pampa Kampana bored the hell out of me. One interesting thing I found was that the three sons of Pampa are named Gundappa, Erapalli and Bhagwat and I found that these three are also surnames of tree famous cricketers from Karnataka - Vishwanath, Prasanna and Chandrasekhar. Stuff like this I cannot understand. If its a joke I did not get it. If its a great story it did not move me.

Anyway my impression is that there are times when great works are taken up and they do not fall in place as one might have originally envisioned them. This to me would be one such.


Coaching Stories - Building a Winning Culture

 In recent conversations with my friend Ram Jayam about building a winning culture, certain things became clearer. A winning culture is what teams have where everyone does their bit and stands up for the team, people need not be told that they have to go beyond their job when the team needs them - they automatically do, people know that when the team wins they win, people enjoy working together, winning together and sharing each others success, there's open communication and a strong sense of camaraderie or kinship. There is abundant trust in the leader and in each other and they leave no stone unturned to see that as a team they deliver and grow into better people.

Now there is a playbook for this.

1) The leader - we need someone who is very clear about the goal, who can inspire the team and egg them on to see the vision or share the vision, who has a clear set of values that he or she enforces on the team for the team's good, someone who instils a sense of pride in the team, someone who cares for the team as his own and develops them. This is a clear case of tough love. We will be patient, give feedback and hold the person to the task because it is good for the individual and what is good for the individual is good for the team. The leader is also tough when the individual does not deliver, giving him ample warning, clear measures and then, after all warnings have expired, removes the person without any further damage to the team. Such leaders try to salvage the asset before throwing them out.

2) The Vision /Common Purpose - A clear vision or common purpose is necessary to bind the team together. To begin with everyone in the senior leadership should know exactly what they are shooting at. Many times vision statements also give an insight into the final outcome we want to see in the world which guides team behaviors (like sports teams can say their vision is to entertain their fans - which translates into playing well and winning because you cannot entertain fans when you keep losing). Or they can simply say - we want to win. The winning culture begins when we define what a win means to us. Everyone in the top management and hen flowing down to the last person in the chain should be clear about the company vision.

3) The Values -  A clear set of values - written is good - but practiced even better. Written and practiced and then, captured as stories as and when the values are practiced in the right spirit firms up acceptable behaviors that we need to form that winning culture. A culture of discipline, of knowing roles, of knowing processes, of doing everything to move the bus forward, first excelling at their job, helping others, going beyond the line of duty when needed are all part of values. To practice these values in such a way that the team forms a mutual trust, comes together like a fist when everyone can speak their mind, can contribute without causing negativity in the team, is the perfect exhibition of values we see.

Clearly values cannot be talked about. They have to be shown by the top bosses. Coming on time if you want others to come on time, taking ownership if you want others to take ownership, being trusting if you want others to be trusting, showing a learning mindset and encouraging it if you want others to show a learning mindset, these have to be imbibed in each and every member of the top management. For example, if punctuality is a value, and one person in the top is constantly late and gets away with it without reason, the rest of the team will not practice that value. The same treatment must be given to the top manager as it would others - only then will it be practiced by others. It is very important that the top management show the behaviors consistently.

4) Role and Goal clarity - Role and goal clarity of each team member must be explicit - if nothing else a commitment that they will give their best. This can be judged by clear measures, by process and intent, as the leader deems fit. 

5) Feedback - Feedback positive and negative must be given immediately (keeping in mind the entire journey of course) the good that the person has done and how it affected the team (if positive), and the shortfall in the person's delivery or action and how it has setback the team(if negative). While giving negative feedback it must be borne in mind that the person's entire journey is kept in mind - that he or she has shown up, has worked, but some part of his behavior was found wanting. Only that must be pointed out and assurance given that the rest is fine. A new expectation will always spur them to prove their mettle and to know that all is not lost.

6) Psychological safety - A winning culture requires that everyone contributes their best in terms of actions, ideas, insights. Most times we see only a few coming up with all the ideas. When a culture is built where everyone comes with an idea to the table, when everyone feels safe enough to contribute and not feel their ideas may be ridiculed or not taken seriously, will get a table full of ideas. A team of 10 will get 10 ideas - and if encouraged 20 and 30. Even if a few of them are good, you are in a good place. This aspect of psychological safety must be built in to get the teams to operate at their 100%. 

To bring in psychological safety, once again leaders must model these behaviors. Allowing everyone to speak and listening deeply to each one. Asking questions to probe gently, and noting down the ideas for consideration. One way of getting everyone to contribute is to have everyone speak for an equal amount of time and 2) listening deeply or ostentatious listening as they call it.

7) Celebrate Small Process Wins - Teams with a winning culture celebrate small wins so they know they are on the right track process wise. Instead of waiting for the big win, celebrate small wins as often as you can, including process wins. In fact if process is right, results will come. This improves the energy in the team and there is a feeling of winning as opposed to no wins. Once again it is the leader's job to make them aware that they are on track, that they are doing a good job and that they need to feel good.

These are some ideas about building a winning culture. More on this as me and Ram engage in more discussions.   



Good Bye BSNL and Thank You for All the Wonderful Calls!

The other day while cleaning up stuff I found some old mobile phones, a cordless phone and our very own BSNL phone. It has been many years since I had a proper conversation on the BSNL phone mainly because it was not working most of the time. Mostly I would get calls from BSNL to pay the bills etc. Only one person remembered the landline from our college days, Rithu, and its amazing how she would only remember the landline and call on it. So much so that I would joke that I only kept it for her.

Last year we decided to stop using it simply because it had become unusable - inaudible with lots of noise - and I had no reason to get it repaired. So we simply stopped paying and told the company we wanted to get it disconnected. The company cut the connection and we thought that was it. Until we got a reminder some time ago about a pending bill of 1500 bucks. The department did not seem to be too bothered either and left it at that. 

So when I saw the phone in my hand in the junk I decided to close this chapter nicely. It did deserve it after all for all those wonderful calls we made and received over all these years. The landline phone which was a luxury item almost with a long waiting list back in the day was a feature in our house since my father worked in the government. In Hyderabad the number was a four digit or a five digit number at first if I remember right - ending with 304 - 1304? Eventually it became 2371304. But in between it was a five digit number, then a six, then a seven.

In younger days I remember long calls with my friends Naresh and Vidyuth, mostly because we would discuss the latest music. It was crazy but we would discuss music for long hours. I remember a crucial call one selector made to my father when i stopped going to the Under 15 camp because I felt they were sidelining me unfairly and just because of that call I went back and one guy fell sick and I not only played for Hyderabad but for South Zone as well - and further more. Calls to and from girls grew much later in my college years - and they would attract a lot of attention from my mother and sisters who would hover around - unlike mobiles where we can go to some faraway nook, with landlines we are tied and have to do with their suspicious glances and weird behavior as if they were not listening. My other friends would call once in a while to check if I was home or to make plans to watch a movie or something. Then there were those precious calls I would make home when I was working and I could use the STD booths to call home late at night from Calcutta, Dhanbad, Budge Budge, Durgapur, Bombay and have a word with Mom and others at home.  I remember how effectively my mother would use the telephone to send telegrams and wishes to marriages she could not attend- perfectly timed messages. I never  learned that art from her. Then there were friends who would stop by to make calls but none like this doctor from my mother's family side who would come home and under the pretext of making local calls would make a bunch of STD calls! When we checked our burgeoning bills we scanned the bill, found the offensive numbers, made the connection and then mom told him off in no uncertain times about what she thought of him. I never saw him again.

We could use the phone to set an alarm and it was quite a comfortable back up. There were some other services too but I forget - I think we could send greetings. Late night calls or phones ringing at odd hours always filled one with dread about some bad news - uncles passing on and so forth. In the era of trunk calls we would all have to book a call and then the operator would connect and listen in to the call. Mostly the line would be so bad that we would all shout loudly enough for the voice to travel all the way across - a habit that continued even when long distance calls were much clearer later - people would still yell into the phone. The phones with rotary dialing system were a pain because it would take forever to go back after you dialed a number - especially a long number. So a quick call would not happen quickly if you did not gt through the first time and we had to dial it all in again.  

Paying phone bills in those days were as painful as any of the tasks I was assigned with at home - ration shop, electricity bill, property tax - with long queues. We'd get late to work but had to pay and there was one time when I forgot and could not pay on time and for almost a year the unforgiving department would not let me pay in anything but cash and that too upfront. As usual the clerks would scoot off right on time for tea or lunch or whatever break and we would be fuming and fretting. It was in those days that I found that BSNL had a counter at what was called Vikram Building near the Secretariat and boy was the system there quick! I loved paying bills there because I'd hardly be in for a minute!  

But overall it has been such a wonderful ride with the landlines. More when I think about it. So when I paid the bill the other day the clerk seemed surprised that I showed up and thanked him for the services. He looked at me suspiciously this time. I then gave him the instrument which I was planning to get rid of and he quickly took it - I know there must be some procedure for returning it but we just let it be. Easier.

So, my dear BSNL, thank you for all those wonderful calls and services.       

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Kaala Patthar - Movie

 1979. Finally saw it. Interesting movie set in coal mines. Clearly showing the rich-poor divide that existed then. A range of interesting characters - Amitabh (as usual fighting demons from his past), Shashi Kapoor (as usual happy go lucky), Parveen Babi (journo), Neetu Singh (trinket seller)and even a jail bird Shatrughan Sinha who somehow gets under your skin. Overall good fun.


Friday, May 5, 2023

Nrityati - Alumni Meeting at the Department of Dance, University of Hyderabad

 This was an initiative that we had been thinking of for a few years now but it never took off. Finally, this year, out of a casual conversation in class where Srividya said she would take up the initiative and with support from Professor Anuradha, Professor Aruna Bhikshu and Professor Sivaraju, the alumni meeting happened. What was originally envisaged to be a 25-30 member programme became one with 60 attendees and a full program with lunch. 

The Department of Dance - All decked up with a rangoli and a banner!

The present batch students dressed up for the occasion and it was lovely to see them all looking so mature and dignified, working so hard (carrying stuff here and there, putting up and pulling down posters and banners). 

An immensely talented and happy bunch of artistes who attended!

They named it 'Nrityati' Alumni Meet 2023. Srividya compered the show and did an excellent job of it. Sannidha, Poojitha, Aiswarya, Vaishnavi, Sharmila, Ketharani, Shreshta, Pratyusha, Abhirami, Devamanohari, Harideeptha, Nayani, Sreelakshmi, Sreelakshmi Shaji, Sofia and Sridevi.

A thoughtful return gift! 

I met so many of my ex-students including Vijayalakshmi garu who was part of the 2008 batch when I had done a one day workshop (that time the department was in some run down sheds on campus). Janimiya, Suchismita, Aparna, Shiva, Seenaiah, Tejaswitha, Sharath, Parijatha, Sravani, Sravya Manasa, Anusha, Radhika, Vaishnavi, Lakshmi, Gangadhar, Bhargavi, Mallika Madhuri...many more. Lots of pictures taken but I have only a couple shared by two former students - Suchismita and Tejaswitha. More when they arrive.

With Suchismita

With Tejaswitha

There were many accomplished names in the alumni group - Anupama Kylash, Yashoda Thakur, Geeta, Sindhuja - were some that I heard of. Everyone spoke, introduced themselves. Lots of joy at reconnecting, many plans were made to take the initiative forward and help build a fine community of dancers from the University of Hyderabad and hopefully something even bigger in latter years.

Well done students and well done Department of Dance. I am sure this is one initiative that will benefit one and all in many ways in years to come.        

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

My Story - Dr. Nalini Nargundkar (1929-2020)

I found this fascinating account written by my mother-in-law a couple of days ago. It makes fascinating reading, from her birth in 1929 till about 1960s or so. Some references may not make sense to non-family members but I think it still makes great reading. I'll edit and add relevant pics as I go along. For now, enjoy the story of life in those days.


My Story – Dr. Nalini Nargundkar (1929-2020)

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.

Her mom and dad - Akka and Dada

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 up to 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.

Jaipur Days

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 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 Kothagudem in 1962 or 63. That, time 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.
Mrs and Mr Nargundkar

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 dressing. But it was not healing. Ultimately our driver took me to a zarra i. e. one hakeem. With his dressing and medicine. 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 Rajasthan, 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.

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 saab’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.

After we went to stay in the bungalow Dada bought a new car. In those days it cost 900 rupees. I think it was Morris minor. It was mostly used by Dada for going to college. There was a driver too. But we hardly ever travelled in the car. I used to go to the hospital for the dressing by that car for quite a few days. It was mostly used for our guests for sightseeing.

Akka got a sewing machine. It was Singer. Singer Machine was new in India. A lady used to come home to teach my mother how to use the machine. Till that time Akka used to stich all our clothes at home by hand. So, it was a great help to her. Later on all of us learnt to sew our clothes at home on that machine.

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 pandal 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. 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 dron i. 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 arch with an iron 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 jwar 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.


While we were in Kolhapur once I went to Sajjangad along with my grandmother. One day while I was playing with some friends aaji, whom we used to call aai went for some bhajan or keertan and I could not find her. She had gone to some faraway place which I did not know. I started crying as I could not find her. After a long time, she appeared where I was sitting, waiting for her. Then I asked her why she did not tell me where she was going? Any way I was happy that at last I had found her.

After we left Jaipur, dada had gone abroad. He wanted to do Ph. D. in England. Those days no Indian University was having Ph. D. course. It could be done only in England and may be in some other European universities. He wanted enough leave for that. But it was not sanctioned. Hence, he went abroad to England, stayed there for a while roamed all over Europe and came back without Ph. D. After that he had a fight with his boss, Dr. Owen. He was director of Maharaja College Jaipur. Dada was Principal of that college. The director used to come from England every three years. As Dr. Owen himself wanted to continue in the same post for another term, he did not want an Indian to have a Ph. D., who might claim that post. Dada had worked in that college for sixteen years from professor to principal. Naturally he could have asked for that post when Dr. Owen retired. Any way that was not to be. Ultimately Dada resigned from that post and got a job at Indian Institute of Philosophy at Amalner in Maharashtra. Then we shifted from Kolhapur to Amalner.

Amalner Days

Dada stayed in Amalner from 1938 to 1966. In 1948 he had an idea of shifting to Rajasthan again as director at Vansthali women’s Institute, where a residential school and college were located. It was near Jaipur. In Diwali holidays he went there on trial basis to see how he likes it. I had joined Medical College in Pune that year. He wanted me to shift to Jaipur Medical College from next term. We went to see the Dean of that college. He promised to admit me in that college. Since it was a newly started college there was no ladies hostel. After that we went to see Vice chancellor of Jaipur University, Mr. Mahajani. He was Dada’s old friend. He was out of station. However, we met Mrs. Mahajani. She offered me to stay with her till they got ladies hostel. I had never met her before. So, I was a bit shy. I told my father that let me continue at Pune for the time being. I will join Jaipur College when they have a ladies’ hostel. In Pune also, there was no ladies hostel, but I was staying with Nanamama and I was happy there. Later, Dada rejected Vansthali post and we stayed at Amalner and I at Pune.


Amalner was a small Taluka in East Khandesh at the time. With about 30 to 40 thousand population. We had about ten municipal primary schools. Out of which two were Girls schools. One in the old town, up to 7th class, i. e. Vernacular final, and other was its branch, in new town. We were staying in new town; hence I was admitted in that school in 4th class. There was shortage of teachers and students too. Hence one teacher used to conduct 3rd and 4th class in one room only. Indu was put in school for the first time. She was actually admitted in the 2nd class. But she refused to sit there. She wanted to sit in the same room in my class. So ultimately, she was admitted in third class. So Indu and I were in the same room but in different classes. There used to be a jeen in that building before. So, it was called Phatphati school. I to Asha, all of us had primary education in that school.


There was only one high school there. Pratap high school. Tai, Mai, I, Indu and Shashi for some time studied there up to matriculation. Later on, a girl’s high school started on plot where Shashi, Manik and Asha studied. Pratap high school was started by Pratap Seth. The Pratap mill owner in 1908. It was supposed to be a national school. Bhave. Mohoni, Sane guruji were the teachers in that school. It was the only school in the whole of Khandesh where hostel facility was available. One of my uncles, Dada’s cousin, Antukaka stayed in that hostel and studied in Pratap high school. His mother was a widow, Dada’s Mami and she was staying with us at Jaipur.

All of us enjoyed our school days there. Girl’s education was not very well accepted till then. So, we had few girls in each class. Each class had 2 to 4 girls. Our first class in high school had 11 girls. Drop outs were common. We had only 7 girls in the matriculation class. Only 3 of them reached college. Two of us became doctors and one professor. Slowly more and more girls started studying and, in a few years, , we had a separate girls school. Pratap college was started in 1945. I studied in that college upto inter-science and then went to Pune for Medical college. In 1953, I passed my M. B. B. S. After that I went to Vellore in Tamil Nadu to do my house surgency.

In 1938 when we landed in Amalner, we were staying in Dr. Mhaskar’s rented house on station road. That was a very big house. There were eight rooms, three verandas and two terraces. Our regular bathroom was far away near well. Latrines were still farther away. We had to carry a lantern if we wanted to go at night or early morning. We used to get frightened to go there then. Next to the well, one old lady, called as Dwarakabai used to stay in a very small room. We used to call her and tell her that we were going to latrine. She used to reassure us saying she was awake, and not to worry. Beyond her room and latrines there was a big mango grove and a jungle of big trees, which was also frightening at night. There was a hospital in the same premises. Operation Theater was in a big open space in front of our house and hospital wards. We used to play there all out door games on ground and on trees. One big Bakul tree was there. In rainy season it used to be in full bloom. Early morning we used to collect lots of tiny flowers, make garlands and put them in our hair. It has very good smell. It smells good even when it dries up.

School days in Amalner

There were ten municipal primary schools in Amalner those days. Two girls’ and the rest boys’. A bigger girls’ school up to seventh class i. e. up to vernacular final was in old town. A branch of that school was our school in new town. It was called school no. ten or fatfati school since there was a jeen there before school. It was a small building with a playground behind. Since there were few teachers and few rooms one teacher used to conduct two classes. Girls also were few in each class. Hence 3rd and 4th class were in one room. I was in 4th class and Indu was admitted in 2nd class. She was put to school for the first time and hence she refused to sit in separate room from my classroom. So she was admitted in third class. Vaidyabai was our teacher for both classes. We used to go to different rooms for music, stitching, sootkatai, modi copy writing etc. So that was how two classes could be managed in one room by one teacher.


We had about 15 girls in 4th class. I had friends then whose friendship remained for years to come. A few of us went to high school and still fewer to college.

From Tai's batch of four only one became graduate. When Akka went to school, she was the only girl in the boy’s school. Akka's mother i. e. my grandmother whom we used to call aai, studied up to 4th class in Guajarati since her father was in Rajkot. But she learned reading and writing in Marathi and English also. She became a renowned Marathi writer and orator in those days. Because of her only my mother could become matric. She was married a few months before her matric exam, but Aai insisted on keeping her at her place till exam was over. Akka stood first in the center and got scholarship if she went to college. Since she was already married she could not go to college and had to forego her scholarship. If dada wanted to educate her further he could have easily done it since girls’ education was free in Jaipur those days. But in those days matric was too much education in itself.


I made quite a few friends in fatfati school. Malati Deo, Shaku Narawane, Nalu Shevade, Champa Gupte etc. Malati was my best friend. She stayed next door for some time. We used to go to school together, study together till our matric exam. Soon after that she got married and left Amalner. Then we used to meet in Amalner for a couple of years. Once I went to medical college our meetings became less and less. Still we used to keep in touch and meet occasionally. Our friendship was renewed after my retirement when both of us came to Pune. She was staying in Rambag colony in Kothrud. Shaku Narawane also came to Pune. We had good time together for some time. Then Shaku's husband died and she went to States to live with her children. Then Malati's husband died but she continued to stay in Pune. She used to go to Goa now and then where her son and granddaughter were staying.


Nalu Shevade was my classmate in Medical College, Pune. We used to play lot of games together in college days. After that she went to Goa and we lost contact. But Malati used to go to Goa to her son's place and used to meet Nalu and I used to get her news.

Shaku Narawane was in Pune and we used to meet frequently. Champa Gupte was another friend who used to come in Pune to see her brother Bhau Gupte who was staying in Dahanukar colony. He became a good friend for us till his death. His daughter-in-law is the daughter of my friend in Singareni. Champa also died some years ago.


Shaku was in Indore and Ratlam when Tai was there. They had good contact. So I used to get her news quite often. I met her in Indore once when I went to see tai. After the death of her husband she went to States to stay with her children. Even in States I contacted her on phone when I was with Satish.
Baby Sathey was another friend whom I met in Tatanagar while I was in Dhanbad. I went to Tatanagar for a couple of times and she also visited me at Katras with her children. I met her again in Pune. But very soon she died of heart attack. I used to meet her sister in Pune sometimes after her death.


Years later Sumati Jumde came to see me with her son in Pune. Rest of the school friends I never met again.

While we were staying in Mhaskar's house Asha and Bal were born. Tai got married in December 1940 when Bal was 36 days old. Tai had just passed her matric. Since we did not have college in Amalner that time she was not sent to college. She was hardly 17 years old then. That was the first and last wedding in our family which was celebrated on such a grand scale. The wedding hall, Ganesh Mandal was booked for one week.


Dada’s mami who was staying with us in Jaipur started staying in Pune when we came to Amalner. She had some allergic skin disease while she went to visit some dam. She had some big egg shaped water filled boils on her legs. She was admitted and treated in Sassoon hospital for that for a long time. She got cured for some time, but the same disease recurred again after some time and this time it could not be cured. All the boils burst open and formed big ulcers. They got infected, started draining pus, gave her lot of pain, burning and suffering. Ultimately she died a miserable death in Aug. 43. Soon after that Tai gave birth to Mangala on 24th aug. 43.

In 1944 Mai passed her matric and was sent to Pune, Fergusson college. In 1945 Pratap College was started in Amalner.

I passed my matric exam in 1946. So I could attend college in Amalner.

In 1946 Tai had come to Amalner for her 2nd delivery. Her 2nd daughter Nirmala was born in August. She died of Diphtheria when 11 months old.


In Pratap college I and Vatsala Toke were the only two girls on science side. Both of us went to Medical College and became doctors. Vatsala went to Bombay Nair College and I went to Pune. Somehow we never met after that.

Champa Gupte went to Arts and did M. A. in Marathi. She got married to Madhu Limaye, a socialist leader and went to Bombay. She became lecturer and prof. of Marathi in some Bombay college.

From all the boys in my class in school only Gopu Malkani went to Banaras Hindu University and became engineer and went to Bombay. I used to meet him in Amalner now and then, since both of our fathers were working in philosophy and were staying in philosophy. My father retired in 1966 and I have never been to Amalner after that.


In school we had variety of teachers. Pathak was our class teacher in 1st class. He was the physical training master also. Every Monday morning we used to have mass drill in uniform with our school band. Monday used to be morning school throughout the year. Monday was our weekly market day. Hence afternoon was off.

Pathak was our history and Marathi teacher too. Both the subjects he used to teach very well. He used to tell stories in history period. No need to read book. Marathi poems also he used to teach with some action. He used to make his teaching interesting.

In 2nd and 3rd class Muley was our history teacher. He used to read a chapter from history book and ask us to learn it by heart and ask the students to recite it in the next period. If the student makes any mistake he used to beat him very badly. This was just the opposite of Pathak.


P. D. Puranik was our Hindi teacher. As Rashtra Bhasha, Hindi was started in our school for the first time for 1st, 2nd, 3rd class. Puranik was a very good teacher. Later on he started taking special classes on Sundays for students who wanted to appear for Hindi exams of Rashtra Bhasha Samiti, Wardha. I attended his classes and gave four exams up to Kovid.


Bedekar was Sanskrit teacher. He used to teach in school till college was started. Then he went to college. He was also very good teacher. When I was in 4th class he started special class in Sanskrit. To start with there were 16 students. Then for each school exam he fixed a target. Whoever achieved that target remained in the class and the rest were dropped out. As such I and Gopu only remained in class up to matric. I think he expected us to win Jagannath Shankarsheth award in matric. But neither of us could get it. Gopu got 92 marks and I got still less, only 85 marks. There was a tragedy in my case. Those days we were not permitted to use fountain pen in exams. So we had to carry an ink bottle to write papers. My seat and exam table was the first near the door. Supervisor was sitting next to my table in the door. I had completed my paper and I was reading my paper again when the supervisor suddenly got up from his seat and toppled my ink bottle on my paper. It was soaked completely in ink. So I had to discard that paper and rewrite the whole paper again in the remaining one hour. Somehow I managed to complete the paper. The credit goes to my teacher Bedekar. I do not know what I wrote in that paper in less than an hour. As spilling the ink on my paper was not my fault I could have asked for more time. But being the first public exam I was not aware of my rights. Later on some people told me about that it but it was too late to do anything. I was happy to have scored 85 marks in spite of my rewriting the whole paper. But I am sure Sri Bedekar must have been disappointed. We must have disappointed him again when both of us went to science side and did not study Sanskrit any more.

Patwardhan was a very good Marathi teacher.

Bramhe was a very good Sanskrit teacher in matric.


Kesari used to be a very good teacher for Mathematics. But when we were in matric he had retired the same year. So we missed his teaching. Instead Gurjar came to teach us. He had no experience but he tried his best. The previous year in 1945 mathematics paper was too hard. Lot of students failed in mathematics and university had to give some grace marks to a large number of students to pass them. So we studied mathematics very hard. Solved last five years papers. But we had very easy paper and lot of students got distinction unexpectedly. Kesari had started private coaching class in Amalner for the first time. Lot of our classmates went to that class. May be that was the reason for good results.


There were lot of good, bad and average teachers as may be in any school. Vad was a very strict head master. We used to have a common prayer before starting classes. Anybody coming late for the prayer used to be punished. Similarly in the afternoon break we, some boys and girls used to go to Marwad road, next to our school to collect tamrinds and we will be so absorbed in collecting tamrinds that we would lose the time track and invariably late for the next period and get punished for it by distributing all our collection to whole class. As such all our efforts will be wasted. Sometimes we used to go to Pratap mills to collect Awale or goose berries. Ordinary berries or bor we used to buy at our school gate once in a while when we got one paisa from our mother to do so. But it used to be a rare occasion.


At Holi time we used to have school sports. Some team games like Khokho, Hututu, Langadi, football, volleyball and some fancy games or running races, skipping etc. We used to play badminton and ring tennis quite often but the matches were rare.

We used to go for school picnics to the nearby places by walk upto 10 to 12 miles. The picnic spots would be near some river or temple where some well or clear water supply source would be there. So we never carried a water bottle, only a tiffin for lunch and some snacks. Once only we went to a faraway place to Padmalya. We went to Erandol road by train and then by bus to Padmalaya. There was a small pond, called Bhimkund and on the rocks nearby, there were plenty of small white lines supposed to be rice which Bhima ate. There was a small temple also nearby. It was a beautiful place for picnic. We enjoyed it very much.


Once we went to river Tapi for picnic. We saw a very big fish caught by a fisherman.

After the Ganesh festival we used to go to Varuneshwar tank for immersion of Ganesha. Varuneshswar was beyond our Bori river. One year while returning after immersion we saw Bori in spate and had lot of trouble in crossing the river on a stone bridge which was very low and was submerged. On shravani somwar in the afternoon a group of friends used to go to Kharteshwar, a Shiva temple. We used to carry some snacks and drink well water there. On Hanuman jayanti we used to go to Dubki Maruti early in the morning before sunrise. It was comparatively nearer than other places. It was near railway line on Marwad side. There was a shortcut if we went along the railway line. On vaishakh shudha dwadashi there used to be a jatra or a fair on Ambarish hill. There was a Samadhi, a temple, a single tree nearby and one Sati sheela. Rest of the hill was barren. There used to be lot of scorpions on the hill and boys used to catch them by thread.


In summer, in the month of vaishakh there used to be a fair of Sakharam maharaj in the river bed of Bori where there was no water at the time. In the riverbed water melon and kharbuj (musk melon) used to be grown in plenty. We used to go there after dinner at night and eat watermelons and kharbujas to our hearts’ content, visit the shops in the fair, visit the Sakharam maharaj Samadhi and come home late in the night. Occasionally we used to eat ice cream on our way back at Nagada’s shop. These are the funs we used to have with our family and friends.


Towards the end of 1946 we shifted our residence to Philosophy. There was a row of rooms with veranda on either side of the rooms. There was no inter-connection between any two rooms. We had three rooms in that row. We could go from one room to other room via veranda only. Each room had door opening on either verandah. That building was originally constructed as a hostel for fellows in the philosophy. As there were not enough fellows to occupy those rooms, the rooms were allotted to the staff. There was a line of out-houses opposite our rooms at some distance. There was bathroom, kitchen, dining and a store room. Common toilets were provided at one end of the residential area. Both the houses were not really fit for residential purpose. But we managed to stay there for years. 

In philosophy there was a very big garden in front and on the side of residential area for children to play and roam about. There was a big mango grove also which we used to enjoy in summer holidays. My father’s office and study room were a short distance away in the garden. Attached to that, there was a big assembly hall. Once Manik had given a music programme there. Some lectures or katha, keertan used to take place there. We had some fragrant flower trees there like Booch, Bakul and bushes of Auto-dil-bahar.

There was Ram mandir next to philosophy. It was constructed a few years before we shifted to philosophy. It was a beautiful temple. All the people from Amalner used to come there for Ram navami celebration.

My cousin Rajabhau Godbole was residing in the quarters nearby when he came back to India from Lahore –After partition in 1947 -48.His wife was a doctor and got a job in Pratap Hospital. We had good company for a short while till Rajabhau got a job in Delhi. Then they shifted to Delhi. They had a small daughter, Aruna. Asha was very fond of her. Malati Vahini,Aruna’s mother was a doctor. She was employed in Pratap hospital for a while. So Asha used to look after the child whenever possible.

Rashtra Seva Dal started in Amalner around 1940. All of us sisters i.e. Mai, daily I and Indu used to attend its shakha daily in the evening after school. The shakha was near town hall. Girls and boys shakha were separate but on the grounds nearby. We used to have zenda vandan, physical exercises like lathi, lexim. Sing some national songs and conclude the session with Vande mataram and return home before it was dark. Most of the Sundays we used to attend some Baudhik i.e. a lecture by a guest lecturer like S.M.Joshi, Madhu Limaye or some local leader. In summer holidays we used to attend early morning camp. It used to be for boys and girls together. Late in the morning one year Madhu Limaye gave a series of lectures and told us the history of National Congress. We got lot of friends that way. Mai became a full time worker later in her life. All those sewa dal workers used to come to our house late in the night after their day’s work was over for dinner and night rest and go away next morning.Those days Mai,I and Indu were away for education and akka used to be too tired after the day’s work, it was Shashi who used to entertain them by feeding them with pithal-bhakari.

In 1939, the second world war started. Soon after that the open grain markets were closed and rationing started. Rice ,Wheat ,sugar, kerosene were not available in open market. The quality of ration was very bad. Coarse red rice, Australian wheat and multi colored jwar,red yellow or even black were only available. Wheat roti and rice were prepared for sick, guests and small children and more often for my father, Dada.Whenever possible Akka used to buy it in Black Market. All our spare time was spent in standing in queues for the ration. We had very hard time for Akka to prepare something from the ration available feed us all 3 or 4 times a day. But at least we survived through that period. In 1943,in Bengal so much of food scarcity was there that 35 lac people died for want of food. All the rice was taken away by British Government for war soldiers. All over India People collected food and money as Bengal Fund. But that was not enough. The rationing continued for years after that.

In 1942, Quit India movement started. Lot of congress leaders and workers were arrested and put in jail. Some went underground to avoid arrest. We as students used to carry messages to and fro from underground workers. It was a thrilling experience. One of my classmate Indu Kesari was arrested while she was in some morcha.She went to Yerwada jail for six months. On 15th august 1942 around midnight the railway station, court, kacheri and post office were put on fire in Amalner.

That year we did not have annual exams. All students were promoted to next class.

I was in college in 1947, 15th August when India became independent. We experienced the turmoil of second world war and movement for Independence.

Soon after independence Refugees started coming to India. We were hearing their sad stories while travelling to India. Lot of Sindhis came to Amalner and started a new cloth market there. One Mr.Butani came to India in 1947.He with his family stayed next door in philosophy. His sister joined our college. For the first time we heard radio in Amalner, that too next door. We could hear lot of music and news on it.It was a new experience for us. We enjoyed it very much while it lasted.Because They left Amalner and went to Bombay soon after our exam in May 1948. Duru Butani became a doctor and famous gynecologist in Bombay. I met her in Bombay in some conference but she did not recognize me.While Duru was in our college we enacted one Hindi play in our annual gathering. Satyavan-Savitri was the play. Duru became Satyavan, Indu was Savitri and I was yama. Itwas a musical play. When I entered on stage to take away Satyawan’s pran the stage broke down and I fell on the ground from the stage. We had to pull the curtain and stop the play till the stage was repaired.

Dada taught us Bridge in one holiday when some of my cousins had come for a visit. We used to play daily while the vacation lasted. In one Dasara vacation we cousins, seven of us went to see Aurangabad-verul caves. We had to change train twice, once at Jalgaon and next at Manmad.As there was no place for all of us to sleep, four of us played bridge by rotation throughout the night. Those bridge sessions continued in all the vacations whenever we got four players.

Our Aurangabad verul trip was very memorable. Leela Gujrathi was our friend in Amalner .She gave us the address of her sister, Raman Vakil in Aurangabad and asked us to go to her for any help or guidance. As soon as we landed in Aurangabad we went to her house to find out if we could get a taxi to go to Verul and to see other tourist spots around so we could go back by night train. As soon as she saw us she asked us to stay with her till she made all arrangements for our trip. It so happened that she and her family members did not allow us to go anywhere that day. It was Dasara day. We had to stay with them and celebrate Dasara with special feast. In the evening we went round all over Aurangabad, visited all temples, met their friends and relatives. Next morning we went to Verul and came back in the evening. Again they took us to see Radio station and kept us there till our train had gone. As such we missed our train that day too. Next day we visited Bibi ka makbara,Panchakki,Ghrushneshwar temple and Aurangzeb tomb or mosque. As such we enjoyed their hospitality for three days and then went back. It was a rare experience for us from an unknown family which we could never forget.

On 30th Jan 1948 Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead. Our inter science preliminary exam was going on that day. Next day all our R.S.S.staff left the college. We were almost without any teachers. After that the college was practically closed. Till our exam in March we were left to study ourselves and attend the exam. Somehow we managed it the best way we could and managed to get through.

When the results came most of us had managed to get second class. I wanted to go to Medical College. We got the results with the mark sheet from Bombay University which happened to be blank. Then Dada went to Bombay with my application. When he presented the blank card in the University they refused to fill up that card.Demanded money for duplicate card. Since we did not have time to fight with them we paid for duplicate card and submitted my application form in Surgeon General Office. Those days there were no entrance exams etc. After a few days I got a telegramme from surgeon general’s office to inform me that I was admitted in B.J.Medical college.Poona.I should appear for interview with all my original documents on 10th June at Dean’s office at the college. It was so simple at that time.

College days

As the college was new there was no hostel for ladies. I stayed with Nanamama at Tilak road. I used to travel by bus. But the bus proved to be most unreliable. Invariably I used to miss my first lecture. So I purchased one second hand cycle. It proved to be the solution for my problem. That cycle I used for my college. Then I sent it to Tai for her daughters. All of them used it till they grew up .then it came back to me.I wanted to use it for going to hospital. But my husband did not allow me to use it.Those days no ladies were riding bicycles in Kothagudem.Later on when I got a car and started driving it people used to stand on the road to see a lady driving a car. There were three lady doctors in Kothagudem driving a car. Till my retirement I was the only lady left in Singareni who drove the car. Later on when I got company car, for a few days I drove it. Later on I got a driver also from the company

Next term I got admission in Y.W.C.A.which was near the college. It was meant for working women. But a few of us medical students were admitted there. In my room there were four girls. Each one had one cot and and one wall cuboard, one common table and one chair each. We had to keep all our belongings in our boxes under our cot. There was no place for studies. We used to study in library in the college. We demanded hostel for girls to our Dean. He promised to give us in the next academic year. So we got one newly constructed govt staff building as a hostel. It was a three story building on a main road without any compound wall or a watch man.There was no electricity for six months. We had to manage with kerosene lanterns. It being post war period there was rationing of the kerosene.We had to get it from ration shop and use it sparingly. Myself and my roommate Nalu Kulkarni were the seniormost in the hostel. There were only 14 girls in the hostel to begin with. Our room was on the third floor. So we decided to close the main door of the hostel at 10p.m.every day and open it at 6a.m.As such we informed all the girls in the hostel. For a few months we tried a contractor to run a mess in the hostel. But nobody was prepared to take the charge to supervise the mess work and instruct contractor what to cook for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. When Nalu and myself tried to run the mess the girls wanted different things every day of their own liking which was not possible. So ultimately we had to close the mess and return to our tiffin carriers or had to join the boy’s mess or hunt for outside eateries. It was a very painful. But there was no go. We used to prepare tea, coffee and breakfast in the room and go out for lunch and dinner or get tiffin in the hostel.

I enjoyed college days very much. In the first year I was elected as Intercollege Sports secretary. I had to go to different colleges along with our players or teams. I used to play lot of games too. There were a few girls only in our college who used to play most of the team games .Majority of them were from my class. So my class used to be the winner in interclass sports competitions. Being a new college there were very few facilities in our college. We used to play without shoes. No properly made grounds. I took part in Athletics also. I won in 200 m running race, long jump and discus throw. Every year I won Bridge and carom also along with Wagh.He used to play both the games very well.

We used to go for local trips like Botanical gardens, Sinhagad etc.on bycle.We went outside Pune also to several places like Goa, Girsappa, Mysur, Badami, Hampi, Vijapur, and Solapur etc.We enjoyed all those trips very much. In addition to sightseeing we made lots of friends and came to know lot of our classmates .This friendship lasted for many years. We started our classmates get together meetings after our retirement from 1990s till today. We meet once a year. First time we met we were 35.Slowly the number became less and less. Last year we were seven. This year we may be still less. One year we went to Murud and Jangeera .We roamed about in Konkan for two days and came back.

After graduation in 1953 ,I went to Vellore in Tamilnadu for my housesurgency and lost contact with most of the friends except Nalu Kulkarni to whom I used to meet whenever I came to Pune in holidays. After my graduation till my Retirement in 1989 I was out of Maharashtra. First Vellore then Dhanbad in Bihar for 6 years, then I went to Andhra for the rest of my working years till 1989.So there organisation’s Central and Regional hospitals till Nov 1961 and then went to A.P.and worked in different hospitals of Singareni collieries. In 1963 I got my D.G,O. and in 1966 M.D.In Gynecology and Obstetrics. So I was made in charge of Bellampalli hospital for a few years ,then came back to Kothagudem for a few years as Gynecologist. In 1970 I went to Ramgundam as in charge of hospital. In 1988 I came back to Kothagudem as Additional C.M.O.and retired from there on 1st Sept.1989.Since then I am Staying in Pune.I have very good memories of all these places. I made lots of friends in all these places. 

I met my husband in Dhanbad. We were friends for many years .We got married in 1960.Before our marriage he left his job in Dhanbad and went to Kothagudem where his brother was G.M.In Singareni Collieries. He worked as Camp Officer in Gorakhpuri Camp in Kothagudem. Later on when that camp was closed due to riots among the local workers and Gorakharpuri workers in 1961 and company was forced to close the camp. After that my husband Vishwanath who was universally called Kaka was transferred to various other departments like timber yard, collieries stores and transport etc.

Vellore Days from Aug 53 to Feb 55.

I joined C.M.C.Hospital,Vellore,as Jr.House surgeon in Obs.and Gynaec dept. I worked for 6 months there. I had heavy duties. But I got good experience. After that I did rotatory house surgency in different departments for one year, till the end of Jan 55.On 30th Jan.54 our boss Dr.Jemison organized one picnic party in one of our rural hospitals. Rural road was very narrow. One Dr.Johnson was driving the minibus in which we were travelling with the permission of Dr.Jemison.One regular bus was going in front of us. Our driver was trying to overtake the bus. Actually there was no place to overtake the bus but our driver tried to do the same. He went to the extreme right of the road, hit a mile stone on the road and our bus turned turtle and fell in the ditch upside down throwing all of us on the road. All of us were unconscious for a while. Most of us became conscious after a few minutes but could not get up on our own. The same bus whom we were trying to overtake brought us back to the hospital. Most of us had some fracture. Some had multiple fractures. One girl had all the face bones fractured. Another girl had her spine crushed.I,Annamma Varghese and the driver Johnson did not have any fractures. All of us were admitted in the hospital, investigated ,and treated for our injuries. After one week’s Hospitalisation, I was discharged and sent home for 2 months rest. I had severe backache for quite some time after that. 

My sister Mai came to Vellore and took me to Amalner. We went via Banglore,Belgaum and Mumbai. One day we stayed in Belgaum with Mai’s friend Yamu Kanhere.Our next halt was at Bombay with Kusumtai and then we went to Amalner. I went back to Vellore at the end of Feb. For one year I worked in different departments, like medicine, surgery, pediatrics, anesthesia, ophthalmology and casuality. They called it rotatory junior house surgency. It was compulsory before getting senior house surgency I wanted to work in Ob-ngyn.But there was no vacancy there.They offered me ortho ,or nonclinical subjects which I did not want to do. Hence I left Vellore in Feb.55 and went back to Amalner. While in Vellore I Went to Madras twice for my registration in Madras Medical Council. I had a friend in madras doing her M.D.in Govt. Maternity Hosital.I stayed with her and roamed round whole of Madras by bus. That sightseeing was very good.-

While in Vellore I visited a few places around. I went to Tirupati one week end along with my two friends Savitri and Indira. We had very leisurely trip. Those days there were no crowds at Tirupati temple.

Another trip I made to Trichur.Lata mami’s parents were staying there. I enjoyed a few days break ,family life and sightseeing also. I had poli twice a day there along with Kerala specialities. At Vellore I got bored eating rice day in and day out. Whenever I got a chance I used to go to a restaurant outside hospital and eat puri bhaji to heart’s content.

Two of Vellore Doctors,Dr.Bhat and Dr. Prema were getting married at Calicut. Lot of us doctors from Vellore went to Calicut by a special bus stayed there for two nights and one day , enjoyed the wedding and Calicut trip.

While in Bombay before going to Amalner I made enquiry in Bombay. I could have got Honarary Post Graduate studentship in some hospital. But my father refused to send me for that. He wanted me to take some job as he said, he may retire any day and I had to take the responsibility of looking after the family. My younger sisters and brother were still in school and colleges. Sisters had to be married and so on. So I started looking for a job. I got a job in pulgaon in one newly started Maternity Home. I had a cousin in Pulgaon. Her husband was a private practitioner there. She made me stay with her. It was a great help for me.The Hospital was so small there was no facility for surgery. We used to conduct only normal deliveries.All complicated cases we had to send to Wardha or Nagpur.I enjoyed my stay in Pulgaon for five months. In the meanwhile I was looking for another job.I applied for U.P.S.C.jobs,one in Bihar and another in Simla.I went for both interviews in Delhi. I was selected for both jobs. I went to Nagpur for my Medical exam. My cousin was working in govt.hospital, Nagpur. So it was easy for me to get medical checkup done .In Aug.55 I left that job in Pulgaon and went back to Amalner. In Oct 55 I got a call from U.P.S.C.and advised to join at Dhanbad as Lady Doctor in Central Hospital of Coal Mines Labour Welfare Organisation. I joined Dhanbad hospital on 24th Oct.55.Then the Pooja holidays were going on. So quite a no.of doctors were on leave. My father, Dada had come with me and one old lady Jiji had come to look after my house till I could make local arrangement.Dr.Vimal Khare was Gynecologist there. On 25th it was Dasara. One couple Mr. and Mrs.Narsing came to the hospital to meet me.Mr.Narsing was Telugu Mrs. Narsing was Marathi. They heard a Marathi lady doctor has come to Dhanbad so they came to meet me and invite me for lunch next day for Dasara. It so happened that they knew my father.Mr Narsing had come to Jaipur to our house some years ago. Then they went to my house to meet Dada. Later on we became great friends and I got a family of Akka Dada And Sudha, Beena, and their daughters.