Today while discussing Indian Air Force strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan, Rhea, my granddaughter asked me what were we talking about? I was at my wit’s end. I tried a story about bad men and good men, but she was not convinced. She asked me, “Why are you talking about aeroplanes?” Then I told her that there is a place called Pakistan where some bad people live. They come to India (she shouted, Bharat Mata ki Jay!- probably, they say the slogan in school). These people come here and steal things and give trouble to our people. Then our police went to their houses in aeroplanes and helicopters to catch the bad people. She was convinced with the explanation; it hit the right buttons. She said it is like “Chu Chu TV- We are the Police” video. Life is straightforward for the kids; everything is a game for them!
In case you have not seen the show please watch or show it your grandkids or kids! It is interesting!
As I was thinking of this discussion with Rhea, it took my mind back to a few events/incidents in my life, including those of times of 1971 war! But I am not going to write about the war. One incident involved a young married girl; another included a young unmarried girl, and the third one has an 85-year-old gentleman and his wife. I thought these incidents were fascinating; hence I am sharing them with you.
I was once travelling back from Boston after a visit to my son Sachin. It was Boston-Paris-Mumbai flight. The flight was empty. Initially, when the seats were allotted at Paris, a young married girl who was around 30, was seated next to me. We said, “hello, how are you etc.” As soon as the plane took off, we discussed and decided that we should grab the connecting seats and try to catch up with sleep. She said she would go elsewhere; I got three seats where I was sitting. Many passengers had a great time because of the empty flight. She joined me when food was served and went back to sleep. A couple of hours before landing, I was done with my rest and so was she. She came and sat with me. We got to know each other. She had a child and was doing her PhD in the US. She was on a quick surprise visit to Mumbai to wish her father on his 60th birthday! I shared with her about my family and grandson. As the flight neared Mumbai, it was an hour away from landing, she gobbled a couple of tablets and said, “Uncle, during the descent I face a severe problem of an earache. Sometimes it is so bad that I can’t bear it and I scream. Please bear with me.”
I had never seen such a severe effect on individuals; I have noticed that babies generally cry during ascent and descent. One thing led to others, and I was trying to keep her busy chatting. We found a common subject, and she started sharing her experiences. I have also had a few anecdotes up my sleeve. We kept on talking, but I never asked her if she was having any pain! All of a sudden there was a minor thud, and the lady was a bit startled! She said that the pilot never mentioned about the turbulence. How come we suddenly had a rough patch? I said, “Lady we have landed!” She was shocked to realise that she had landed without any pain for the first time in her life while landing. She was so pleased that she did not know what to say. People talk about psychosomatic problems. Her pain must be real when it comes; she must have realised that if she could get her mind diverted she would have no or reduced pain.
Years back Jaya, Priya and I were on holiday in Nainital. We stayed at a lovely resort at Naukuchiatal. The resort had a beautiful garden facing the lake for sitting there, and chitchatting. We met a couple there on the first day itself. The gentleman was Mr Pran Chopra, retired chief editor of Tribune. He was the doyen of Indian journalism. He and his wife immediately became our aunty and uncle. Every day we three would go out to enjoy the Uttarakhand hills and would be back by 4 pm. Uncle and Aunty did not go out anywhere; they would come every year for soaking in the atmosphere. Pran uncle was around 85 years old, then. We hit it off well immediately when we met.
During our stay there we spent every evening together for tea, a little drink later and dinner. One evening aunty said they wanted to celebrate that we all met and treated us for dinner. She had told the chef to cook some unusual dishes. One evening she gave a small gift to Priya. Aunty said that they are not sure whether they will be able to attend Priya’s marriage (Priya was still in college) hence gave her a set of six handkerchiefs. She specially embroidered them after she met Priya. They lived in Delhi. After a few years, aunty called us to invite us for the 90th birthday celebration of Pran uncle. It was a beautiful lunch at a farmhouse, on a pleasant winter day in Delhi. We specially travelled from Pune to Delhi, for lunch and celebrated the occasion with them. Even today we fondly remember our happy memories with them. It is said that marriages are made in heaven; similarly lucky ones like us also get the love of such beautiful people. One starts believing in destiny. We were not even booked to stay at that resort, but due to reservation mix-ups, we ended up in the resort where Pran Uncle and Aunty had come for a holiday!
The last incident occurred when my room-mates Nayan, Sharad and I were coming back to Pune after spending a few days in Bombay in late ’60 s of the previous century. This story is more about the raging hormones of the youth! In the train we had a family sitting with us. There were a couple of girls, in the family. All of us were excited as we got an opportunity to chat with them. At the end of the journey, we convinced their parents to join us on a full moon night boating, at the engineering college boat club. We had great fun with the usual exuberance of the youth. Later for quite some, we used to discuss the girls. Most of the discussions were ….. (Ok, I cannot write about them, these are censored). A few years later, we had an office party. There comes one of our ladies from the moonlight boating trip. Of course, she had married one of my colleagues. By the way, I was also married at that time!
Looks like I am on a nostalgic trip since yesterday! Come to think of it, how many stories are hidden in the depth of our mind. Various sites give us data storage these days for free, or many times one has to buy. But we are not even aware of our own unlimited data storage system that we have in our brain. Friends, just start recalling and have fun! That is nostalgia for you!