By Girija Madhavan
The Previous is over, you can not get again to it. Dwell every day anew,” was written within the Autograph Books of our college days. In lately of uncertainty and menace, it’s a consolation to succeed in again in reminiscence to the beautiful outdated Mysore of my childhood and briefly revisit the Previous.
Some lore of outdated Mysore [Mysuru now] got here to me from tales instructed by Mukta, my mom, who was an incredible raconteur. Different reminiscences had been photographs from my very own experiences; my first go to, as a really small lady, to the Temple on Chamundi Betta, being considered one of them. My father, M. Venkatesh, took me in his automobile on the winding, uphill highway. There have been drifts of mist on the hillside. If fortunate, one noticed monkeys enjoying on the rocks or perhaps a mongoose.
There have been no outlets lining the trail to the temple then, solely distributors with puja supplies in baskets for devotees to purchase. The steep vestibule resulting in the sanctum acted as a flue. A chill breeze whistled up it and the stone steps had been icy chilly to our naked ft. There have been no steel barricades across the sanctum and no crowds both. I used to be requested later if I had seen the glowing ruby on the idol. I had not, however seeing the lamps, floral decorations and smelling the incense remained within the reminiscence.
On one other event, I accompanied father to an workplace constructing. Exterior, boys had been enjoying a ball recreation. Whereas solely the highest of the pinnacle was tonsured, the hair on the again was braided right into a plait. Once I see Chinese language Kung Fu actors on tv, I’m reminded of these younger boys. Father instructed me that he had an analogous hairdo as a ten-year- outdated boy [probably in 1900] and disliked it sufficient to sneak off to a barber, wheedling him to chop it off. His strict father punished him however accepted his shorn state later.
Life continued in a good tenor when my dad and mom moved from their first dwelling in Lakshmipuram to a Railway Bungalow on KRS Street the place I used to be born in 1938. Freshly baked bread from Hamza Bakery on Sayyaji Rao Street was delivered to the home in a giant wickerwork basket balanced on the service of a bicycle. The dhobi got here along with his donkey to hold away dirty laundry on panniers on its again. Butter from Halladakeri was purchased in a donne [banana fibre container] which mom accepted. She was well-known for sanitising greens and fruit in “Pinky” [water coloured a light pink with some crystals of Potassium permanganate]. The butter handed muster because it was melted to make ghee and boiled until the home was redolent with the odor. Drumstick leaves had been added on the finish and made a crispy snack.
Some buying needed to be completed within the metropolis. Shivarampet stocked wholesale items like rice, dals and even onions. A powerful odor of espresso wafted from father’s favorite store the place he purchased powdered espresso.
Sayyaji Rao Street had totally different merchandise. Artwork and faculty supplies had been purchased at R. Krishnaswamy. Ali Brothers bought normal items, dolls and spherical candies lined in glittery paper. By the arched entrance to Devaraja Market was a toy store, subsequent to the Rajputana Buying and selling Firm the place father shopped whereas I used to be transfixed by the toys and spinning tops or “bugri”, pear formed and fabricated from wooden. The rounded tops had been adorned with bands of color [Channapatna lacquer], the picket half was fluted, to suit a jute string round it. The bugris are nonetheless out there however now are typically utilized by adults as an influence recreation to wager on.
I additionally had a number of stiff picket figures, referred to as “Marapachi Bommai” in Tamil, from the identical store. The bushes alongside Sayyaji Rao Street had been dwelling to parakeets and at sunset, shrill screeches stuffed the air because the birds fought for perches; so totally different from the bedraggled parakeets of the soothsayers, solely let loose of their cages to choose fortune playing cards for his or her purchasers.
As an alternative of “over-the-counter” medicines, our medical doctors wrote prescriptions which had been “distributed” by a “Compounder” and stuffed in inexperienced glass bottles at T.C. Nataraj, the Chemist. The dosage was graded on the glass bottles in raised strains. Mukta’s Potassium permanganate was additionally out there right here. Throughout the highway was Bombay Indra Bhavan, closed these a few years, whose “Tuppada Dosais” had been match for a royal palate.
My father retired in 1947. We moved to a rented home referred to as Sri Cauvery [torn down long ago] on the outskirts of Yadavagiri whereas our personal home was being constructed. These had been tempestuous days with communal riots in North India whereas our city was each peaceable and safe. The radio was a relentless companion on which we heard of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Then on twelfth February 1948, got here information that Gandhiji’s ashes had been to be immersed in sacred rivers and within the Kaveri [Cauvery] at Paschimavahini. Father was very eager to see this historic occasion. His outdated Inexperienced Commonplace sputtered into silence when he tried to start out it. He cajoled a good friend into lending him a ramshackle jeep. I accompanied him, excited to be on this open rugged automobile and on the Bangalore-Mysore highway; inexperienced fields and coconut bushes on both aspect.
However quickly we noticed teams of individuals strolling again and automobiles headed again to Mysore. The ceremony was over, father a dejected man, headed dwelling. This reminiscence is poignant as a result of Gandhiji’s Loss of life Anniversary was on thirtieth January 2022.
It was a brand new period for our nation, for us. I recall the tumult of these days, India rising robust from these searing occasions, Mysore retained its innate magnificence… and nonetheless does. Our iconic and mystic Chamundi Betta, opaline within the sunshine, presides benignly over town, a continuity in time and area.