LATE Entry of Satellite in Life
It was in the late 90s ,1991 to be exact when foreign channels were aired in India with Rupert Murdoch's Star TV, MTV etc. In our city ,small and close knit enough to be called a vast neighbourhood, it took up to 1994 for my classmates to talk familiarly about 'TARA' or 'MOVERS and SHAKERS'.
For me it took another five years to get a cable connection.So, it was in 1999 that satellite TV entered in my house.Thanks to books, I never felt the need. Colour TV followed the satellite connection in our home in 2001. And the first flick I watched in colour on my set was 'Sabrina Down Under'.
Prior to that I would occasionally catch a HBO flick or two at my cousin's place but once back to my den I did not ask for a connection even once.
My house felt much better with the black n white BUSH TV set as an antique home decor`! So before entering the new millennium, when people my age were confined to their rooms ,glued to Antakshari, Hum Paanch, and SaReGaMaPa sunk deep in couches, I was out flying kites with my younger cousin Ankit , making it soar so high,that it seemed to touch the "Bade wala Chandi Mandir' peak from our roof! or reading in warm winter sunshine, shelling peanuts and munching on them with a pinch of black rock salt by the kilos or was doing paani ke khel (splashing water) with Naman and Kruti.
Or one could have found me telling stories to these kids with a plate full of radishes,carrots and guavas from our tree.
The pleasure I got from making a sand house bigger then others....and with on going construction of new houses there was no dearth of sand.It was simple to push your foot hard inside the moist cold sand and then cover it jam pack with more then ti tease the foot lightly and LO! a cave house is ready!
Another favourite pass time was plucking Karonde (Carissa carandas) from the shrub.It require great care as its quite thorny.Sometimes our helper's daughter who was an essential partner in crime would nimbly climb the adjacent guava tree and would shake the Karonda shrub so hard that it would RAIN...... karondas. and like crazies we would pick up the pink and red fruits falling tapa-tap on our heads.
THE BACKYARD FLOURISH
The best part was, after every Karonda picking, we get to eat the spicy-sour karonda-green chilly chutney that very evening and in many more to come.The bounty of karonde,chillies and guavas was shared with neighbours and relations.On such occasions suitable sounds of Yummm and wow used to be made regarding their pristine colour, texture and I used to get additional info on the benefits of karonde,chillies as well as of a kitchen garden. Our garden had brinjal ,lady's fingers, radish, carrots, peas, coriander, chilly, guava and karonda.
Bel Patthars,sugar canes, lemons, Ridge-gourds, Gulkand ( Rose petal jam) made by Aunty from home grown roses then we also followed the same sound producing scene verbatim.Bel patthar is my favourite though it seems ages since I last tasted the delicious and naturally cool bel-sharbat.
On rain-n-thunder nights I used to pray for hailstones to emerge and though it was rare to occur yet, I had managed to fill a cup or two of these.Once Ankit was also there to help and between us we managed a bucket full of them! it was a sight to behold- silver hailstones in a golden brass bucket! Pity,they soon melted into grey water.Not to mention the pain at the points they hit our heads.That hurt like hell.
Ankit said ."Didi, we are razed by bullets from God and anything coming from God must be a good sign"
Then there were morning trips to sunlit fields with the gang of our colony,most of them senior to me and I was the only girl.That included running through fields, getting dirty from slipping and skidding in the farm trenches, being drenched in gushing waters from the tube wells,razing my wrists and knees in climbing mango trees, being bullied by my so called bhaiyyas-cum-friends-cum-partners in mischief ,occasionally helping women in digging potatoes and cauliflowers,plucking chillies till my hands were on fire,hunting for ghosts in broad daylight in desolate,ramshackle structures and keeping 25 paisa coins on the railway track, a trick highly talked about among boys to convert it into magnet!Monu bhaiyya very importantly explained to me as how "when the train will run over the coin it will turn into magnet due to friction." only we never seemed to find it back after the train ran over it !
NOW and THEN
All this fun , lark and carefree mindless joy because TV was not there to hook us through out the day.Only a limited time of night was for it. We gazed at the moon and the constellations lying on our backs in the breezy summer nights. It was at such times Mummy's poetry recital of Jhansi ki Rani, Madhushala and Pushp ki Abhilasha took me to sleep.
And as I end this post, I vow to provide more play time to my children instead of the SaReGaMa just because the Jonses are sending their kid. Even now they are going where they want to and I promise myself to keep it that way. or as my son would have said Mother's Promise :)
For Madhushaala translated click here.