chummery

DAY 3311

Jalsa, Mumbai                  Apr 21/22,  2017                Fri/Sat 12:02 am






A face that looks on at the lady by his side .. a lady of eminence .. a lady of wit and humour and of journalist equality .. a lady of book .. a book on the most talked about mediated, media covered Blitz at a time when the University College blues played out from the late 50′s .. the story that shook the entire nation .. and shook the turnstiles in cinema, three times over ..

“ IN HOT BLOOD “

A handsome naval officer .. a beautiful British wife .. a rich businessman lover .. 3 bullets shot .. and the country stood still , but in reaction ..

A crime  .. 

“Crime Passionelle” by Jean Paul Sartre, that famous theatre play, that we all admired and performed in the good ‘ol Calcutta days of Amateur theatre .. the theory of existentialism propagated by Sartre a novelty to us .. not understanding and beyond our limits .. but a crime of passion all the same ..

( I do try to salvage those memories but find that maybe all my information of the details given above could be entirely wrong. I cannot say whether Sartre, wrote the play Crime Passionelle, the spelling is wrong I know, but it is to convey a crime of passion .. which I believe in the Courts of Law in France is a sympathetic crime )

So what Nanavati did by shooting his wife’s lover, was a crime of passion ! Perhaps one that got sympathetic consideration as being acceptable .. or some such .. the details are beyond me ..

But when you do get hold of the book do read it .. there is a great deal more than what transpired .. and a great deal more about the number of prominent individuals and celebrities and VVIP’s that came into the story as it levelled out page after page in the media ..!!

That is all that transpired in a somewhat uncertain day .. a few meetings on the productions under way .. some interesting presentations on VR and AR, the future of digital world .. and the rain interrupted IPL game between KKR vs GL, which with great surprise GL has won .. I walked away from the set when the rain came down in Kolkata .. rain .. at this time in Kolkata when the entire nation burns in its worst heat temperatures perhaps .. yes rain .. it is typical of that region .. they are called the NorWesters .. or strong winds followed by rain coming from the North West regions .. heavy gusts of stormy weather by the evening of a very hot day, followed by rain .. momentarily .. the rain passes over .. and nature has taken care of the uncomfortably hot Bengal territory !!! It was a wonderful respite .. a time for more ‘puchkas’ at Victoria Memorial, a drive along Park Street and Chowringhee, a spicy hot Chinese dinner at Waldorf’s, and off to our ‘chummery’ to get set for the office in the morrow .. 

Those days shall never return .. the more one thinks about it the more painful the nostalgia and its absence in our world today .. !!


Amitabh Bachchan

DAY 2743

Jalsa, Mumbai                Oct 10/11,  2015              Sat/Sun  1:57 am




Birthday - EF Jasbir Singh Kapoor

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy birthday to you Jasbir and may this day be ever welcome in each moment of your life .. ever and ever .. !!





My dear Mr Bachchan,

Some varied hours from now, in a small birth clinic of Dr Brar, in Chowk, Allahabad on the date that now comes upon us, the 11th of October, 1942 you were born through a ‘forceps’ procedure to your parents Harbans Rai Bachchan and Teji Suri and, wrapped in simple stark clothing, were driven home in a tonga .. a horse carriage !

Your Father’s dear friend and senior contemporary Sumitranandan Pant, who was then living with your Father in your house, took one look at you and said .. “ yeh toh Amitabh hai ..

All those other stories of being named Inquilab and Inquilab Shrivastava are just stories .. false and incorrect ! Yes there is a tale on the Inquilab bit, but not in this context. Your Mother when she was carrying you in her womb, in her 8th pregnancy month, had apparently without informing anyone, run out to take part in a ‘freedom rally’ in the city centre .. that was part of the Quit India movement by India seeking its freedom from the British Raj !! The men of the house on coming to know of this rushed to the site, which had now become a battle ground between the British forces and the ‘satyagrahi’s’ that were part of the demonstration .. a ‘lathi’ charge had ensued and many of the protesters were getting beaten up and subjected to violent behaviour by the forces of the Raj. Fearing harm coming to your Mother the men found her out took her home and admonished her .. and one, made light of the situation and remarked, that if your Mother were to give birth to a son, he should be named Inquilab - Freedom, a reference to the slogan that used to be raised during these demonstrations. The slogan in these rallies was .. ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ - Long Live Freedom …

You grew up in Allahabad, where your Father, the revered poet also was a Lecturer in the English Department of the Allahabad University. You spent a fairly long period of time living at Adelphi - a Hostel close to the campus where students and Professors stayed.

One hot summer afternoon while you played on the lawns in front of your very basic quarters, a stray bull horned you in the head, causing two deep holes in your skull. Your Mother had rushed you in a rickshaw, a pedal rickshaw, to an infirmary in Katra, another city bazaar centre to get you treated and patched up, and so your Mother stated, that despite the severity of the would on your head at such a young age, perhaps 4-5 yrs old, you never once expressed any pain and silently bore the stitching and dressings that were needed.

There has been a long history with silence and pain associated with you, ever since. There have been many other as well, but of this there is confirmed belief and truth.

From the day you were born you were a celebrity. Your later accomplishments not withstanding, you were always referred to as ‘Bachchan ji’s son’ , the son of the great poet Bachchan !

You were sent to your first school in Allahabad, to the St Mary’s Convent, where when your surname was asked, your Father a non believer in the caste system, instead of giving Shrivastava, your caste name, stated Bachchan, his non de plume as your surname ! You are therefore the first bearer of this surname in the family.

You were kept in the Convent till the Kindergarden, and then all the boy’s were asked to leave, the Convent being primarily a girl’s institute ! You went to Boy’s High School, a Christian Missionary institute, where you studied till the 7th Standard. You were a bright student, ranking in the first three among the class of about 35 others .. Prabhat Govil, Ashok Verma and Sudhir Virendra were always battling for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions in class along with you …

Ashok and Sudhir were with you in Calcutta too when you were seeking a job and you lived in a one room chummery with 6 others .. Ashok has passed away sadly, Sudhir is still in touch, is a proficient Banker and in Finance and does make contact .. he was also in BHS, a victim of a ‘gulli’ that you hit playing ‘gulli danda’ in the recess in School .. 

You were also hit by a shoe thrown at you by a senior on the football pitch when you had sneaked away the football from him during a friendly game. It had gashed your skull once again, and there was sufficient damage done to it. Your Father on coming to learn of this had in great infuriation, plonked you on the carrier at the back of his bicycle, that was the only mode of transport you had at that time, and cycled to the house of the Principal Mr Dutt ( pronounced dutt and not datt ), an Anglo Indian Christian, and let off his temper at this callous behaviour on the part of the senior and demanded that he be punished for it ..

This was not the only occasion when Mr Dutt, had been visited by my Father. There was another moment when the Principal had caned us in his office for scribbling on the walls of the classroom … we were in Standard 4 at the time .. and my Father had cycled off to the residence of Mr Dutt late evening to express his anger at his son being treated thus by the head master of the School. Of course when you shifted School to Sherwood, Nainital, there were several occasions when you were caned by the Principal, the Rev RC llewelyn, for many misadventures that you were and had been involved in, but Father did not, or rather could not interfere .. he was … well, some distance away in Delhi at the time … and it was generally felt that these incidents of severe punishment was part of School curriculum. Nowadays of course, I read incidents of Teachers being taken to Court for even raising their voices towards their students .. !!!

You entered the boxing ring for the first time in BHS and always were made to fight opponents that were larger and stronger than you, simply because you were taller in size, and always ended up in a category that was never meant to be yours. This procedure followed you even in Sherwood, where you boxed with boys much your senior and much your stronger  .. 

You fought well, even though the battles were severe, and in the Boxing House Competition, you were put up against another who the staff of the School felt, would possibly kill you and incapacitate you for good, if you were to have the audacity to enter the boxing ring the next day. You were visited at night in your dormitory by members of the staff on night inspection, and politely told to withdraw from the competition. You were also later that night, visited by the PT instructor of the School, who insisted that I do not withdraw and that I fight. I listened to the Instructor, fought the next day and almost, almost won .. for this bravery I was rewarded the ‘most pluckiest loser’ Cup .. 

Pluckiest .. pluckiest .. as in fought so well despite adverse weight height strength, that you almost won .. you put up a good fight .. !!

Of course some of the inspiration and the gall and the effort and the will and the strength to undertake such mission, came yet again from your Father. The time when you had entered the boxing ring in BHS, and had after winning a few bouts, lost to another bigger adversary, eyes blackened and bleeding from the nose, your Father who had gone to do his Doctorate in English Literature from Cambridge, had, after coming to learn of your escapades in the ‘ring’ sent you two books on boxing, which carried a quote in his own hand writing which stated : “good hard blows are delights to the mind”.

That was inspiration enough ..

Life has moved along in your journey .. ( ugh !! such a patented word to use ) ..with some similarity to what your early years made you encounter .. 

There have been silences ..

There has been injury - both physical and psychological  ..

There has been accusation, without merit ..

Yet there has been a note of presence and acceptance …

There has been abuse and admonition. Failure of immense proportion. Many shoes have been hit at your head, many bloodied noses have come your way. Your posterior has been a resounding board for thin well oiled canes from individuals that had been labelled as being in possession of strong forehands and back hands of a Cambridge Blue in Tennis … and on ..

How, Mr Bachchan, has this merry go round of a life with you been, now that you have completed 73 years of your life and have stepped into the 74th ..??

We are truly interested Sir, in knowing your remarks on this. The media that we represent needs to know. The ‘Nation wants to know’. It would be a most valuable document for the generations that you have travelled with. Your life needs documentation, needs to be told, needs to be spoken about. The nation wishes to know, the people that gave you so much love want to know ..

??

??

!!




Hehehehehh ..

My beloved members of the inquisitive, impassioned, inspirational, informative best … I do believe that the openings of this conversation were not followed as diligently as they needed to be followed ..

One of the major attributes at the time of the horning of the bull within me was ..


SILENCE … !!


Amitabh Bachchan

DAY 2392

Kolkata WB, Grand           Nov 2,  2014         Sun 8:07 pm

The very streets that I would walk about on a nonentity, nondescript, non plussed, seeking and searching wading through the flood waters of the monsoons, for a suitable job .. today I ride my bicycle for ‘PIKU’ .. 

The Writers Building, the Government House, the Maidan, tram services, Victoria Memorial, Chowringhee … oh … such vivid memories .. and those ecstatic years of 1962 , when Calcutta was the most happening city in the country .. what times .. the Park Street culture, where a motley collection of restaurants and bars and confectioners, dinner and dance floors … all in one sequenced line one after the other .. and the evenings that were spent each day on those pavements walking form one to the other - Trinca’s, Blue Fox, Mogambo, Moulin Rouge, Firpo’s, Waldorf .. Flurry’s … the puchka’s at Victoria Memorial, the carti kababs at Nizam’s .. and across that exclusive night club the Golden Slipper .. ending the evening at the Grand Hotel in the ball room and after .. the midnight ride to DumDum airport, just for a coffee or that extra little ..

The tram rides, the tum tum’s, chummeries where 8 of us lived in one small room at Clacton Apartments - 10x15 feet crammed but most enjoyable residence … Esplanade, the Calcutta Swimming Club, for long only for white people, the river side by the Hoogly, and the fascinating 'boar tides’ a mountain of a 20’ wave that came up from the mouth of the Hoogly where it met the Bay of Bengal travelling miles up the river and past the city until it subsided .. the ships and boats breaking anchor and being thrown around in the turbulent waters in its wake …

There was not a single area where we had not changed residence .. paying guests at 300 rupees a month .. Chowringhee, Tollygunj, Ballygunj, Alipur, New Alipur, Russell Street …   

And the friends we made … some of them still meeting up and connecting from different parts of the country and the world .. 

The pictures we went to … LightHouse and Elite cinemas … and the films of the time .. 'West Side Story’ a compulsive watch for a number of times .. 'Anupama’ and the impression it left … 

The work places … the office, the learnings of executive kind, postings to the Coal mines for training, shipping and freight broking ..  Bird Heilgers, Blacker and Co., .. Mackinnon Mackenzie, Shaw Wallace, Andrew Yule and so many others .. the executives often being referred to later as 'box walas’ .. I could never figure that one out .. ..

It would take a mammoth amount of time to detail everything - the film shootings, the concerts, the events later .. right down to the ISL recently .. it has been a lifetime …

Early bed times .. need to .. the cycling done has been like a 2 hour cardio ..

Love to all ..

Amitabh Bachchan