During my school years, I had a chapter in my English book titled “Reminiscences” – it was the first time I had heard the word, and I have been wanting to use the word as a blog post title. Now I have figured out the perfect platform on which to launch the word! 🙂
This recollection/episode is from the late 1970s and early 1980s. We were friends with the Shetty family in HEC Ranchi. Shetty uncle had visited many countries abroad, and had many interesting items in his household collection (which, in retrospect, might not be as unique to some of you as they were to me, a kid growing up in the 20th century India back then): a photo viewer with photos of places behind the Iron Curtain, a great collection of the Reader’s Digest, Rubik’s Cube, an record player, etc.
Every Sunday, my father and I would go to the weekly vegetable market that was a stone’s throw from the Shetty’s residence. On the way back, invariably, we would stop by the Shetty’s house where I would pick up a book or two (more often than not, it would be a Reader’s Digest), and return those that I had borrowed during our previous visit. Yes, I was using Shetty uncle’s collection as a veritable lending library. I would read the articles with interest, making it a point to copy entire articles that I liked – for instance, the excerpts from the book “I am John’s Body” (published as I am Joe’s Body). Yes, I had pipe dreams of becoming a surgeon myself :-). On some of these visits, I would try to solve the Rubik’s Cube*.
But the main attraction was the LP record player. An ardent listener of songs over the radio – and such programs as Ameen Sayani’s Binaca Geetmala – my father would discuss different singers and their favourite songs with Shetty uncle. One day, it so happened that I had a desire to learn the lyrics of a hit song of yesteryear – neither my father nor Shetty uncle knew the lyrics (they were more interested in listening than trying to sing the song themselves, but I wanted to sing the song as well, not just listen to it). So, when I asked him to note down the lyrics for me, he had to do it the most painstaking way. Play a fragment of the song, stop the player, move the stylus back and re-start the player (OK, it has been quite a while since I last used an LP player, so I might be misrepresenting the exact sequence).
Thanks to the wonder that is the internet, I got back in touch with Shetty uncle’s son (who was a toddler when I used to visit their residence) and – during my latest visit to India – managed to talk with Shetty uncle as well. At that time, I had not remembered this incident of how I got him to write the lyrics of the song for me – and given that my parents barely remember the Shettys, let alone all these details that I have noted – I don’t know whether Shetty uncle remembers it either.
* – No, I have never succeeded with Rubik’s Cube, even after Shetty uncle wrote me the keys to solve it (I have only gotten as far as one face and two layers).