It is a matter quite amazing to me to recollect few happenings from my childhood to my first teen’s age at sixteen. I still remember the first school around five years in ‘Cosmopolitan Middle School in Karachi in 1941 when I was five. I have fading Memories of Punjabi Sikh teachers and two old ones who were Christians. I remember all the years till the year of partition in August 1947 when I had seen or heard the cold blooded murder of Punjabi people captured in a Gurudwara.I can yet Recollect those old times during the years around nineteen forty three to nineteen forty six when my dad took all of us to Lahore, Gujran wala and also a village by name Begowala where At all these places our relatives were staying including my grand-mother, aunts and uncles in the village that was so Charming and beautiful. Nature’s benignity was so bountiful and the Jhelum that rendered her all sorts of services of needs to have a bath or drinking water and also water for the cooking Requirements. The love and interaction was beyond any possibility of describing how fully in purity of proximity that cannot be found in these present times.
Our dad whom we addressed as ‘Bauji’ for a Father and ‘Mata ji’ for mummy in our cultural context also took us as far as Jammu, Shrinagar the capital city of Kashmir And none of these present times can enjoy those lovely moments that we had. Those beautiful times would never come
Back again. It is just a six days fast trip of just taste a bit but we Could live leisurely as long as one full month and saw all places around Srinagar and these were Pahalgaam, Gulmarg and even Remote places where we could get cottages and we could also Stay in Shikaras a home on the lakes where other small shikaras approached us for breakfast, kashmiri tea and fruits of All sorts so pure that are not available in these current times. We had really so faithful house helpers such as Lakshman, Ramlal and Tolaram who managed my father’s big three rooms Shop at Bolton Market and he would manage the shop with Drinks chocolates and Parker, Shaffer’s’, Bluebird, Swan and other accessories of all sorts. In Punjab tea was not known and what we could get was only ‘lassi’ and Milk and Lemon drinks during afternoons.
Ramlal one another of our servant’s toppled down from the balcony that broke and fell with crashing thunders of heavy thuds and he was toppled head long from the balcony. He was also holding my youngest brother who too fell as he was holding him into his arms. My mum caught hold of his feet and fast came Mr Malkani, a tenant in one of the flats and took hold of Naveen and there by Ramlal retrieved Himself standing upright as in his usual posture. I saw the freedom fighters on different roads of Karachi shouting loudly ‘Bharat Chhodo’ and water pumps were thrown upon them and even canes were employed by the British Police to drive them Away. All over posters were stuck on walls proclaiming ‘Quit India’ and ‘Hamara Bharat chhodo’ (भारत छोडो)
It is only the grace of God Almighty that he has given me so wonderful memories that every small or bigger incident have never been erased almost from attaining an age of six years. I remember my ‘babu ji‘(for dad) taking all of us to a cinema hall. I remember having us along with him for a movie titled ‘Ratan’ ‘Kismat’ and “Anmol Ghadi’ and several Others At ‘Gujran Wala’ and Begowalah’ and also at Lohore it used to be a copermade buckets with silver lining and lemon sugar sweet drink and a very big glass was the most popular trend. The break-fast items were oven cooked ‘rotis’ with buttermilk and butter lumps. At night all would go to sleep on the terrace where the women folk brought large glasses of hot Milk. Even the neighbours would take us out in the bazaars and kulfis, cauliflowers pakodas, and a circular pakodas was offered to us with small potatoes inside visible. It was called ‘Sharala’ in their spoken language.
Affection and unadulterated love was a significant even much more important than gold and money. The whole street considered any one’s guest as the guest of the Whole Street. In the mornings the baths at the river invariably meant coming back with carrots, radishes and tomatoes. Those days when love was a primary force of the society. Love signified transparent hearts. I had not come across selfishness and diplomacy at that time.
This is one of the very important happenings of the year 1944 when I was only eight years when we stayed in a Building of three stories of two flats on the ground floor and in all total it comprised of eight flats. We were staying on the Third floor in flats number seven and eight. There were three balconies connecting the flats with stair case to go up or to descend. My father was not at home and it was almost afternoon about three p.m. when I was there on the footsteps and my mother was on the balcony joining two flats. My younger brother who was just one year old was in the arms of Ramlal an attendant employed to look after the cleanliness of the whole building and also to transmit water in the tanks built up on the terrace. His younger brother and their father also stayed on the left side an outhouse there.
Ramlal stood along the supporting boundary wall of the balcony when the supporting boundary wall fell down with a heavy thud so unexpectedly like an earthquake being experienced. Ramlal toppled down to fall on the bricks structure along with Navin on his shoulders. He would have crashed crest fallen when instantly at that moment of time mother caught hold of his feet tightly and allowed him not to fall. She tried to prevent this horrible accident. Mr Malkani who was a tenant of flat five immediately rushed out and got hold of the child and Ramlal getting freedom could very soon rise his body coming back on the platform of the balcony.
It was mainly because my mother’s strong agility and active presence of mind that averted the tragic consequences from taking a vital shape. The mishappening could not materialize. The Police Inspector came shortly afterwards and this incident was shown as a brave action of intelligent woman It is something that happened in nineteen forty four and by this Time today my father, Mr Malkani and Ramlal too are no more here.
I have come to the final conclusion that in every incident it is the will of Shri Hari or Jesus Christ and without his consent nothing can ever happen. It is only Lord who switched on this presence of mind of my mum and the hands that took hold of Ramlal’s feet had the vital energy of the Lord himself.
These reminiscences have to be remembered in terms of first entering into my teen age at fifteen. I became a teen aged boy of fifteen and going back into old reveries I Remember that we had landed in Jhansi after the formation of Pakistan. We had been for two months in a refugee’s camp in Bombay and Mr Malkani too was there in the camp. We had to stand in a queue to get our lunch and dinner. It was also hard to sleep during the nights in the company of biting mosquitos.
As we landed in Jhansi we got a very nice half part of a bungalow that we got at the rent of rupees thirty only. We had to walk around quarter of a mile to have a bath at the well. The toilet too was there a few feet away from the well. It remains till this date a very beautiful memory as the water was so lovely and it used to be an exercise arising out of a necessity. But as we proceeded towards the well it was a path with koyal singing musical stirrings. A collection of robins, parrots, mynah sparrows and crows met us on the way. The butterflies too. We were in Civil Lines and Hindus had bungalows on the right whereas the Christians and Anglo Indians were located on the left side. At eleven the boys would play on violins and also guitar. During evenings these Anglo-Indians would play on the piano and there after we could hear their prayers to Lord Jesus. Sometimes unknowingly the penis of boys would be out because of missing buttons in the trousers.
The landlord was an old man of eighty two who was married to a girl of twenty years only. She would go at night stealthily with his dinner at nine p.m. would come back at one’o clock in the Morning. I came to know the shadows of sex in nineteen fifty one when I was fifteen. Sex has never remained a hidden mystery.