Poona (contd..)

December 29, 2006 at 5:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poona has pleasant climate. Rains are moderate and tolerable compared to heavy showers of Bombay. The cold season is nice, cool but not cold. I remember Ganesh Chaturthi during the Seventies.

They celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi piously and colourfully. Throughout these celebrations they installed huge idols of Ganesh, in a variety of themes, some with political insinuations, some humorous, and some idols done up combining the qualities and manifestations of other deities of the Hindu Pantheon like Hanuman, Shiva and Vishnu. A lot of floral decorations and festoons went into the beautification and variety of the idols.

During the festival the evenings were a gala affair, with crowds of devotees interspersed with petty pleasure seekers, youth of both sexes and the elders elbowing each other in the milling and churning multitudes. people called on each other. There used to be poojas and staging of dramas and movies in the open air. On the day of immersion they used to take the idols, in long processions with a lot of fanfare, bands etc., and with the immersion of the idols in any water body, the festival culminated.

Those days, if I remember right, there was a mild protest against South Indians whom they branded as Tamils collectively. At the slightest occasion or provocation, there used to be crowds of people screaming ‘Sab Madrasi sala ko utao’. Ironically I also remember that the Poona Mayor of that time was one Mr. Iyer. The Tamils who were settled there for generations integrated with the Maharashtrians, adapting to their many customs and life-styles and even food habits, and they put a distinction between themselves and the other Tamil speaking people who happen to be there as they were employed in private companies or government and Defence departments.

Long after leaving behind my Poona days, I still have nostalgia for those days of carefree life and my forage into Church music. After nearly thirty years, I had two occasions to visit Poona once again, once to attend my niece Revathi’s wedding, and the other a trip with my daughter Chitra to Bangalore, Poona and Bombay. But I could never evoke the old spirit, primarily because I never revisited Rasthapet, my Defence Accounts Office , the Camp area or the Methodist Church. So curtains to my life in Poona.

In my next post I will pick up the threads where I left you all back at the time I was put in a van and sent on my way home from Pondicherry back to Madras. I will be turning a new leaf in my life. From hereon I continue my life in chennai from 1970 onwards.

I will retrace my life from the moment I reached home and go on till 1974 to my wedding, my married life till my wife Kala breathed her last on 25th November 2005. Her hospital discharge paper mentions the time of death as 2.30 p.m., though I reported to the nurses that she is apparently dead at 1.30 p.m. as I was with her when she exhaled for the last time. Life continues to carry me along beyond this painful, irreparable loss, and I am where I am now.

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