Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A farewell in Bangalore

The house in Cooke Town

Just back from Bangalore, where I went to stay with my Auntie Averil and Uncle Harry before their house goes into redevelopment.  It is a darling house, in which I have spent much time over the years, lazing around, cooking, eating Geetamma’s wonderful cooking, happily squabbling around the lazy Susan table with my four cousins – Ashwin, Anup, Anala and Abhit – and other cousins, because it was like a sanctuary even to all the others, especially my brother Mohan and my cousin Sherine, a real home away from home. I have taken up Abhit’s C-A-T: CAT, B-A-T: BAT spellings here, gone on happy shopping expeditions to Commercial Street with Auntie Avy from here. We’ve spent mornings when Zach was one following him around the house, trying to get him to take a dump, after he rejected the bright-red turtle potty I carried all the way from Bombay. It was on the couch in this house that I finally honed in on what I wanted in a man for life (hint: he had to be like Kevin, who was, at that time, just a friend!). That was just after I had been through a painful session with a matchmaking auntie in one of the bylanes  to whom I said I wanted a man who had excellent English and a sense of humour, and  who said, in her turn, that, at my age (then 25-26!) I should look for financial stability and a teetotaler.  What I would have done with that sort of boring creature is anyone’s guess.

At Fava: Uncle Harry, Auntie Avy, a friend Gillian and my cousin Anala in the foreground
Fittingly, this time, it was four days of all the things that made those happy memories. We sat around the table and swapped reminiscences and recipes. We went shopping to Commercial Street and discovered a great new clothes store – Inmark – next to Safina Plaza. We ate – not just Geetamma’s Kerala beef, and kube (clams), and pork, and prawn curry, and dosas, but also at Mangalore Pearl (kube-mutli [clams and rice dumplings], fried bombil, Coorgi pork, prawn curry and panpale [neer dosas]), and at Fava, a great restaurant at the top of the very happening UB City complex.

Me and Kyra
As a bonus, because I didn’t stray too far from the precious house and didn’t visit anyone except my cousin Suman who lives a jump away, I met two of my nieces – and I assure you, they will be as characterful as their aunts in the earlier generation. Lauren, Suman and Julian’s daughter, is this four-year-old compact package of cuteness who showed me her plants and a photograph of me in her album, and Kyra, Sherine and Adrian’s daughter, at six, is almost intimidatingly smart. More power to them.
And finally, I took the airport shuttle to catch my flight back to Bombay. It costs Rs 165 from Lakeside (and other amounts from other stops, of course) and drops you at Departures, making it a saving of between Rs 400 and Rs 500, and more than that, a hassle-free way of getting to the airport.
And the house? I’m sad, but all of us had fun in that railway-style house Uncle Harry and Auntie Averil had before this one, and we will have happy times in the next. It is people - not houses - that make homes happy places. Auntie Avy, Uncle Harry, Ashwin, Anup, Anala and Abhit, thank you for sharing this one with me.

3 comments:

  1. That's lovely. Vaneeta

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    1. Thanks for sharing this lovely article Prima. It brought on a few bouts of nostalgia. I have such fond memories of our wonderful home; visiting Bangalore won't be the same. Ashwin

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  2. Heartwarming and really well written!

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