Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bajji, Bonda and Bournvita

There are three things that I associate with Bangalore, rain and brilliant weather- Bajji, Bonda and Bournvita. Yes. ALL three of them.

Daddy and I used to have them all the time during monsoon. I can close my eyes and remember the brown sofas. I would cozy myself in the corner, by the window, often looking out through the swing and the trees to see if Raju had gotten us our treats by then. To keep me from my usual restlessness, Daddy would prepare (okay, he wouldn't really, but he would get someone to do it) a nice BIG cup of hot Bournvita with more Bournvita than milk in it. It would make me extremely happy because I  loved cloudy Bangalore weather. Sure, the Sun made it beautiful and what not, but there's a certain coziness to cloudy weather you cannot feel anytime else. Sometimes we would read silently, or play monopoly or scrabble. (Scrabble usually, Daddy often got impatient while playing monopoly.) Occasionally, we would play carom if Raju was around. All this while chomping on hot, delicious mensinkayi bajji and aloo bonda. If I dared enough, I would ask for another cup of Bournvita, and if it wasn't too close to Mum's arrival from office, I would get it.

Today, when I woke up, it took me half a minute to register that I wasn't in Bangalore anymore. Rather, I was half across the country in my dull room in Calcutta. Yet, I cannot help but remember the rain that reminds me of home. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

We Remember, Rover.

20th October, 1988 

It was one of those perfect evenings when dusk was sprayed with a chill Bangalore mist. October in Bangalore is such a beautiful month, Leila thought. She laughed thinking about how it would be in Chennai- hot, humid, probably raining. Her Cocker Spaniel, Brownie, whined in the background of her thoughts.
"Brownie," she said, "Can you believe I'm 30 years old and I feel like I'm already going through a mid-life crisis?"

He barked. As if acknowledging her thoughts.

As she looked up, she couldn't believe her eyes. Her husband, Ram was smiling from ear to ear, and in one hand he carried the cutest black puppy- with a yellow (her favourite colour) around it's neck.

"Ram?" she asked

"Happy Birthday, Leila" he said, placing the puppy in her arms. He smiled as she fondled the dog.

May, 1995 

3 year old Maya sat on her grandmother's kitchen counter as her father attempted to make her breakfast.

"It's not fair" she said, "Rover ALWAYS gets more food than I do."

"Well," he father said, "He is bigger than you."

Maya stuck out her tongue.

"Don't stick out your tongue" Ram said, "It's rude."

"Rover does it ALL the time."

"Well, Rover is a dog."

"Huff." she exclaimed. " I WANT FOOD!"

November 1999 

"Okay, Rover" an older Maya said to her dog, "Slow down!"

This dog is exasperating, she thought. Walks too much!

She was panting when she got back home. Leila looked up at her daughter.

"Give you a hard time?" she joked

"No." Maya said, "He's just..well, too energetic. Avva nearly disowned him because he kept jumping in and out of her Lily pond thinking it was a pool of some sort."

Leila snorted.

"What" Maya said, "It's true!"

April 2002 

"No." Maya said, "NO."

It was clear that she had been crying.

"You can't" she wailed. Leila tried to comfort her, she pushed her away.

"Maya," she said, fighting tears back herself, "Rover's really really sick. If we make him live, he's going to be in more pain."

"No." she said, weeping.

She ran to her dog and hugged him so tight, that neither of them could breathe. "I love you Rover, I'm never ever letting you go."

Nearly ten years later, she still hasn't. Let him go.

We Remember you, Rover.