Malta June 7, 2017 Wed 8:14 PM local time
Birthday - EF - Tejas Mankodi … Thu, June 8 … to Tejas our love and greetings for his Birthday .. all happiness and success from the Ef family
The world communicates at such alarming rates times and connection facilities, it astonishes and brings great surprise ..
I am happy to be and privileged too, that I survive in this extremely exciting days of this generation .. where connectivity is such a boon .. rapid almost akin to sitting across the table and having a chat, when we are thousands of miles apart and distant … where this shall lead to is beyond comprehension .. Abhishek keeps egging me on to travel to the ‘Valley’ .. the Silicon Valley, for an experience of a lifetime .. to know and to gauge where we are heading ..
Quite quite remarkable really .. and filled each day with incredible surprises and inventions and a mastery that one could only have dreamt when we were growing up ..
Growing up .. growing nostalgic .. growing in the remembrance of the days of Allahabad .. the years being in the 50′s .. yes the 50′s .. when none of you perhaps were even thought of being brought to this world ..
Getting a phone in the home was an unbelievable celebration .. the rotating numbers phones, black in colour, situated and placed at that special place in the house .. a place of eminence and pride .. one that almost decided for you your social status in the city and among the friends .. the digits within rounded circles, enough spaced for the index finger to occupy it .. for men .. for the ladies, who did not wish to damage those well manicured fingers, it was the wrong end of a pencil, the rubber end, that was used for dialling !!
For long we did not have one .. we could not afford it .. but when we could a long waiting period was announced and we waited anxiously for that mechanic with the black machine to walk into our house and fix the instrument .. and having done that, the first activity was to call that special friend and boast the presence of the ‘telephone’ in the home .. and of course limiting the speaking time, because we could not afford the bills that accumulated at the end of the month ..
At times there was always the thoughts of an emergency .. that is when we did not have a phone .. an illness, a medical need, a robbery, a connect with the Police .. !!?? how was it all to be managed ?
And then one day it happens. You have no phone and your Mother falls desperately ill .. Babuji is in England for his thesis and his Doctorate studies, and you are the elder son matured by the age of 10-12, to deal with such a situation. It is the middle of the night, and Mother is in serious condition .. cannot speak, walk, communicate .. nothing .. you are the man of the house and there is need to act .. so ..
The nearest doctor friend is miles away .. what does one do how to contact him .. as note written in great desperation (and somewhere the doctor has given that note to my Mother, which I cannot find) is quickly scribbled, with the best grammar at my young aged command and the house help is put on a bicycle and told to deliver it to the doctor .. !! The doctor comes several hours after and attends to my Mother, delivers some medications which have to be got again by the help from the market in the middle of the night .. a nightmare .. because nothing is open in small towns .. at least not then in the 50′s .. doctors often stocked important medication in case of an emergency such as this .. and that has to be thanked for ..
Or .. the thought of a dacoity .. a dacoity was a most prevalent occurrence, in those times .. we would hear stories of Man Singh Daku, the dreaded dacoit, who had a kinder side as well .. he raided the rich to feed the poor .. but for us at that age it was looked upon as a terror .. so ..
What if Man Singh Daku decided to invade our little home ..Daku is not a surname it is the Hindi word for dacoit … so … yes what if he decided to attack us .. at that young age you imagine all kind of ghosts and evil … what would I do .. I the elder and only male personified, my younger brother was there but just that .. young .. very young ..
So what ..
The Police station or a small outfit for the region was a good 300 meters away from our home, luckily .. but getting to those 300 meters and seeking help, was that task which kept playing the mind .. RUN .. that was it .. run .. run from the back of the house and reach the police chowki .. on many an occasion, during the day I had practiced and timed the 300 meter run .. just to be acquainted with the process and the terrain .. OR
RUN .. another 500 meters to dear Sushil Uncle, head of the fire brigade in the city .. a large well built Bengali, most dear to the family .. living nearby .. and breathlessly give him the news of the extenuating circumstance, or the dacoity, or whatever ..
Because there was no phone in the house .. not capable of having one !!
BUT .. the most exciting was that most important phone call, being made by my Father from Cambridge .. a month or so in advance letters were exchanged from him to us, from us to him .. this took about a month or two .. a date was fixed as to when he would attempt a call .. a luxury for him from his very limited financial state .. and for us an unbelievable event .. being able to hear Father’s voice after almost 2 years .. !!!
And where would the call come .. at a dear friend’s place some miles away in the city .. planned and waiting to be executed after a wait of two months ..
The days went by slowly .. anticipation and the excitement unabated .. comes the day and the sleepless night before .. it is by the evening .. the entire day is spent in deciding what must be worn to attend this most important and unbelievable telephone call .. the travel to the home of our friend with phone .. me cycling it .. Mother and brother, in another mode of transport .. and the call .. and the voice of Babuji .. and the emotion and the joy .. and ..
OH ahhhhh .. it is difficult to describe those times ..
ALL because there was no possibility for us to possess a phone, a telephone !!
And time has passed .. and time came for me to hold up the first mobile phone in my possession to my Father’s ear, as he sat in his wheel chair in the evening by the lawn of Prateeksha .. to tell him to talk to a friend on the other side ..
I can never forget the absolute look of bewilderment on his face as he spoke hesitantly, on to that portable mobile telephone !!
“ ye kaise hota hai” , he asked still not prepared to accept the contraption ..
And a journey 40 odd years just flashed by ..