Hey All! Welcome here! Guess I have mentioned in the past about how nostalgic the sis and I get when anyone says the word ‘Bangalore’ (or Bengaluru as people now call it). The best years of our childhood has memories associated with B’lore. The HAL colony (Marathahalli) where we lived, was a mini India and I’d like to believe that it was a ‘national integration’ at its best.
As kids, all of us in this colony used to go to the same primary/high schools, visit the same hospital, go to the same theatre, and play with the same set of friends. The stay-at-home moms had their own unique network and bonded at different levels. The men folk were all working for HAL in different capacities. The families here, especially at 7th & 8th cross, came from different regional/cultural backgrounds and spoke different languages. That is how, we were introduced to Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Kodagu, Urdu, Telugu, and Kannada.
Most of our homes had stars up during Christmas. We usually gathered at Joy Aunty’s house to build the crib and set up the scene of Jesus Christ’s birth. The sis and I would mobilize all our friends and bring them home for Ganesh Chathurti. The wait for laying hands on the yummy kozhakattais (modakas) used to get unbearable. While most kids loved the sweet ones, I used to hog on the salt variety. That still remains my favourite.
Our mom used to be fondly called as the Mysore-Pak maami. She used to make them in kilos, specially during Diwali, to be distributed to everyone. The solitary mango tree in our compound, yielded hundreds of mangoes. Dad was an expert at ripening the mangoes in a huge straw basket which he used to stack with layers of hay. Ma and grandpa used to make ‘avakkai’ pickle out of some raw mangoes from this tree. The drumsticks from two trees in our house was another thing to look forward to. Again, everything was up for distribution.
Life for the kids in this colony was ONLY outdoors:) However, our favorite joint to hang out (literally) was the guava tree in Bopanna’s house. Bopanna and I were in the same class, but in different sections. My sis Nithya has made an attempt to re-create some stories by letting her creative juices flow, by mixing a bit of reality and more of fiction into a series of stories around Bopanna! What is real is the name Bopanna from the kodagu (Coorgi) family that lived adjacent to ours, and the fascination we have always had for his name and that of his father’s- Monappa! Don’t ask why. We don’t know. Mrs.Monappa is/was an adorable lady. We’ll always remember how she used to screech and call my mother and say, ‘Reee, swalpa rasa idhre kodri’ – Please give me some rasam if you have made it!
It all started with N’s kids pestering her to tell new stories everyday during meal-time. For quite a few years, she managed with her share of Suppandi stories. She has it in her to regale the kids with her own versions of Suppandi’s buffoonery. Varun was introduced to Suppandi by her:) The stories then moved to incidents and people from our childhood. It got really interesting when the tales around Bopanna were shared. Looks like Bopanna has come to stay for a while now, totally displacing Suppandi!
So people, stay tuned and watch this space for a peek into Bopanna’s world as Nithya would like to re-create it. And the (un)usual disclaimer: The name Bopanna is real, and the incidents described are mostly her imagination, slightly interspersed with what our memories hold as real!