Friday, August 25, 2017

The Memoirs of an Eighty year Old- Episode XXII

Episode: Life at Lasur- Part 4

Hello readers! As we continue to know more about the experiences of grandparents in Lasur, we will in this episode know about a few more things.

1.     Cinemas
Lasur being a village had no movie theatre but they used the concept of open theatres by tying a white sheet and playing the movie on it, almost like our projectors. So if one had to watch a movie, they should carry their own chair or sit on the ground. The ones with the chairs were treated as VIP’s which meant they could watch the movies for free. It was here that they watched many hindi movies.

Also grandpa and grandma along with few others would travel via train to Aurangabad or watch the movies in talkies. Grandpa would manage his working shifts by collaborating with the other employees. That is how all of them could get time to relax and enjoy.

2.     Sightseeing
There are few famous places around Aurangabad that are a must visit, especially if one lives in Lasur. (Aurangabad is the nearest city/town from Lasur. It is the district Head Quarters for the railways of that area.) Many of their relatives visited them to go to all these places. It was grandpa and grandma’s duty to act as their guides. It was fun, they tell me.

Shirdi is one such divine and important location. It is the holy place of Saibaba’s temple where his Samadhi was built. But unlike now, back then there were no queues, no waiting and stampede. People could directly walk into the temple and sit for as long as they wished. The place was very peaceful and soothing, grandma adds.

Nasik and Triambakeshwar add to the list. The river Godavari originates from Triambakeshwar and Nasik is on its banks. Panchavati (the cottage of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita), Someshwar temple (Lord Shiva and Lord Hamuman), Muktidham temple, Sundarnarayan temple (of Lord Vishnu) are all located in this region.

Daulatabad is in the northwest of Aurangabad. It is the place where Muhammad bin Tughluq, built a fort and shifted his capital from Delhi for two years, despite the lack of water.

Bibi ka Maqbara is yet another construction or rather the tomb of the wife of Aurangazeb. He tried to replicate the design of Taj Mahal using a different stone.

Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Aurangabad dist. are famous for the rock structures.

3.     Living Conditions

There was no power supply and they used the kerosene lanterns of larger size for light during night. They had no fans and rarely felt the need of those as they were surrounded by tress and open land.

The only way to communicate was to send a letter or a telegram. Grandpa says there were no banks either. People saved money in the Post Offices.

Grandpa received a salary of Rs.150/month which was the highest payment. He got additional amount ranging between Rs.10 and Rs.30 as an incentive if he crossed his area of 80kms and slept in the railway-provided room there.

So out of the Rs. 150/- he got he had to separate,
Rs.20/m- savings in P.O for 5yrs for their first child’s education.
Rs. 20/m- insurance coverage of 5K for 20yrs.
Rs. 40 /m- brother’s education. The remaining was for him and grandma. Imagine that!

“Yet we had such a good life back then.” Grandpa said. He would take grandma with him each time he had to go for a camp to any nearby place. There were no hotels so one had to carry vegetables, rice, pulses and cook their own food or get it cooked by a worker. They would pack their clothes, essentials, etc in a ‘camp box’ and get going.

Life was interesting and exciting in its own way, grandpa feels. So what next then, kids of course. Their first child, a girl was born when they were in Lasur. 

I’ll try and get a few details from grandma as to how she managed all alone with kids. That is for the next episode, till then, be happy be kind.. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Memoirs of an Eighty year Old- Episode XXI

Episode: Grandma speaks 2

Hiyaa readers! I am back again and in this episode we get to know more about our grandma’s famous crafting skills. She still loves to try and create new things with papers, cotton, sticks, buttons and whatnot!

Just a few days ago I assisted in making tiny colorful buds which she stringed together to make a garland. 

So going back to the past...

·       Did she notice any change in her before and after living in different places?
 Ans: “I haven’t even thought about it. Maybe there is and maybe not. I was always friendly and had no problem making friends. But I learnt some crafting, etc.”

·       How did they celebrate the festivals?
 “We had a mixed bunch of people in the railways. We attended the Maharastrian New year fests and they would come to our place for Varalakshmi pooja. It was fun. The women there are very courageous, respectful and affectionate. I had a good time getting to know them.”

·       When did she start crafting? I asked her.
“When I had plenty of time on my hands I knew I couldn’t just sit idle. Crafting was a rage and I learnt to stitch patterns on cloth, create dolls, bunnies, animals with coins, cardamom, cut cotton into shapes and flatten them to stick on cardboard, etc.”

“I really enjoyed making new designs and gifting those to relatives. My sister was better at that.” she added. Must be in the blood then, to have so much talent.

·       Grandpa says your social life was interesting, I said to her.
“It was I suppose. We knew people who owned farms and gardens. So we were always invited during the seasons to join their celebrations. In summer, the mango season meant we had lunches in the mango gardens with the owners and workers together. There was plenty of tasty Aamras with puri as food. Also we were gifted lots of mangoes.”
“During the sugarcane harvest we would be invited to taste the crush of the canes. The farmers have such fests regularly during harvest time to encourage and congratulate the workers for their efforts. It was similar for the maize crop as well. We would all go to the farm and enjoy the fresh crop.” She concluded.

·       You had a garden, did you? I asked and she nodded.
“Yes. We had lots of land and I grew Sunflowers, Zinnia, Cosmos, Chrysanthemums, etc among other flowers. I saved the seeds for next crops and had garden in almost every place we got transferred to. But the quality got diluted.” She answered. (She loves gardening)

·       Water was a problem, right?
“Oh yes, it was. We had no taps or pumps. The workers brought water from the well in the village and we use it for cooking and washing. The water from the steam engine trains was used for drinking. Of course the villagers used to drink water from the wells. Lucky for us we could use the railway water and the workers carried those heavy pots to our house. So I think I can say I had it relatively easy because I never had to do any hard labor. All the cleaning of yard, carrying of water, groceries was done the workers.”

“I did not even have to go regularly into the village to buy things. One trip per month or so and we brought everything in the train. The markets were good to watch. Do you know that the village heads and few other men rode on horses around the place?” She asked me and I just shook my head. I could imagine it though.

I am going to end this episode here and continue about the sightseeing, cinemas, shopping in the next episode. Till then, be happy, be kind..