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Sunday, April 19, 2015

CHILDHOOD GAMES - MARBLES, SEVEN STONES, LAGORIEA ETC


CHILDHOOD GAMES - MARBLES, SEVEN STONES, LAGORIEA ETC
 A little touch of nostalgia about the simple games we played as children growing up in KGF. Childhood in K G F was blissful. We did not have any luxuries like the present generation but never the less we were happy with simple pleasures and entertainments that our parents could provide for us. Many will remember the games we played in childhood such as Hopscotch or Butch, Top Spinning, Rounders, or Lagorie Seven Stones, Seven Tiles ,   “ L O N D O N”, ‘I Spy”, Running and Catching, Robbers and Police, Kabbadi, Kho-Kho, Gilly Danda, marbles etc and many other simple games besides the usual  Cricket,  Hockey, football, Tennis, etc. Many of  these games are indigent and native to India, but nonetheless played by us with much enthusiasm
There was a huge open ground or ‘Maidan’ behind our house in Nandydroog Mine and all our friends would join us there to play in the evenings after school and on holidays and weekends. Kite flying was one of our favourite pass times. Besides having a lot of fun flying our kites, we had a lot of enjoyment making the kites ourselves with Broom sticks or Bamboo sticks, kite paper, newspapers etc.  A paste of flour and water was used  to stick the paper to the kite frame.  Making the Manja for the kite string was the most exciting part where a mixture of glass pieces, flour paste etc was carefully smeared on the kite sting to make it sharp, so as to cut the strings of other kites midair.
Besides all these above mentioned games, we also played our favourite, ‘Girly’ game of ‘House House’ We had a lot of pots and pans or ‘Chapus; for this game. The Chapus were either made of mud, metal or plastic and we had tea parties with the dolls, cooked over our little stoves with our pots and pans, and we hosted upteen tea parties and dinner parties with our dolls and teddy bears!
I mustn’t forget to mention the various Board games such as Carroms, Chinese Checkers, snakes and ladders, Ludo, Chess, Drafts, Bagatelle, etc

It’s so sad to think that children of today are not given the opportunity to sample and enjoy the simple joys of life. Instead, they play with high tech video games, play stations and other fancy gadgets. They don’t get the exercise and happiness that they would get by playing these simple inexpensive games that we enjoyed playing. We had a blissful childhood indeed!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

THE FISH SELLER / FISHMAN



Here's another bit of nostalgia about growing up in Kolar Gold Fields when we were children. In those days, there were refrigerators or ice boxes at home and it was difficult to store perishable food items for more than a couple of days. Hence they were procured fresh on a day to day basis. All the ingredients and stuff required for daily cooking such as the meat, chicken, vegetables, fish etc were bought fresh everyday. This small story is about our regular Fish seller Abdul in Nandydroog Mine.
There was no Fish stall near our house in the mines. And he fish stalls were all located in the market in Robertsonpet. However we didn’t have to go all the way to Robertsonpet to buy fish. The fish was brought to our doorstep by the Fishman or Fish Sellers who came around the mining areas on bicycles with wooden boxes tied to the carrier.  
The fish was brought to KGF on the train from the places on the Sea Coast such as Madras, Mangalore, Kerala, etc. The boxes of fish tightly packed with ice was off loaded from the early morning trains at Bangarapet, then sent to KGF on  the local train. The boxes were then unloaded at each station and the fish sellers would then take delivery from the agent and start their morning round of sales around the houses and bungalows. The Fish sellers, in KGF were mostly from Kerala and they spoke a mixture of Tamil and Malayalam. They had quite a number of loyal customers who bought fish from them on a regular basis. 
We had our own regular Fishman Abdul who brought around quite a variety of fish depending on the consignment that had come in for the day. His familiar cry of ‘MEEN, MEEN’ was eagerly awaited every Wednesday and Friday as that was the day fish formed the main dish for our lunch and dinner. He had a wooden packing case tied to the carrier of his cycle with a wooden plank fixed across the box as a cutting board and a pair of weighing scales. He would weigh and slice the fish according to the customer’s requirements and also clean the fish and remove the scales if they requested him. His weighing scales were really not very accurate as they were quite primitive. Never the less the weight was more more or less accurate. While cleaning and cutting the fish, he was also quite generous in feeding the stray cats and dogs with all the unwanted innards and tails. These strays would faithfully wait for the fishman at the street corners and would welcome him joyously.  
Abdul was our regular fish seller for many years. he came to KGF as a young boy along with his maternal uncle who was also a fish seller. He later got married to a nice girl of his Community  from Kerala and they lived and raised a family in Robertsonpet. He later brought his aged parents as well to KGF and took care of them till their death. He was a very nice person. Really miss those days of Simple living in KGF. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

HOT CROSS BUNS FROM THE NEW IMPERIAL BAKERY AND OILMAN – VICTORY CONFECTIONERY STORES, CHAMPION REEFS, KOLAR GOLD FIELDS

 HOT CROSS BUNS FROM THE NEW IMPERIAL BAKERY AND OILMAN – VICTORY CONFECTIONERY STORES





 Tomorrow is Good Friday and the day is always associated with Hot Cross Buns for me. The very sight of the Hot Cross Buns brings on a wave of nostalgia for the Hot Cross Buns that we loved and relished from the New Imperial Bakery and Oilman – Victory Confectionery Stores in Champion Reefs, Kolar Gold Fields during our childhood. This bakery always made special Hot Cross Buns filled with plums for Good Friday and our Baker would deliver them along with the bread on Maundy Thursday. We’d have to place an order as to the number of buns required about 10 days in advance. Since Good Friday was the day of fasting and abstinence we normally ate these Hot Cross buns for breakfast and dinner with a little butter 
The ‘New Imperial Bakery and Oilman – Victory Confectionery Stores ’  in Champion Reefs, Kolar Gold Fields, (established during the early 1940s) was just opposite the KGF Mining Hospital. This Store was every child’s delight. Its shelves were lined with huge glass bottles filled with different kinds of sweets, biscuits, toffees, stick jaws, buns, curry puffs, etc. The Egg Sweets, ‘Wording sweets’, lollipops, Jujips, Almond Sweets, etc were all so delicious and enticing. It was so exciting choosing what sweets to buy.  The Eggs sweets were the size of Turkey’s Eggs and the insides were a beautiful yellow just like a real egg. The almond sweets had huge almonds in them and the wording sweets and Bulls Eyes were minty and strong.  Since it was just opposite the hospital, no hospital visit was complete without visiting this delightful place. Parents often had to bribe their kids to take their medicines with promises of goodies from the New Imperial Bakery. Besides these exciting  sweets in their large glass bottles, the trays of Mutton and Vegetable Puffs, Buns, biscuits, cookies and other savouries was a gourmet's delight. We would visit this store whenever we went to the Mining Hospital or to Our Lady of Victories Church in Champion Reefs. 




















Our daily bread was also ‘home delivered’ every day at 4 o’clock in the evening. The ‘Bread Man’ brought the freshly baked loaves in a large Wooden Box tied on the carrier of his bicycle. This bread was delivered from the ‘New Imperial Bakery and Stores’ in Champion Reefs. The loaves of bread were always still hot from the oven when he brought them. These loaves were sold whole not sliced and just before dinner every night mummy would slice the loaf and leave it on the table for us. Like the mincing machine, each Anglo-Indian family had their own bread board and bread knife to slice the bread. The payment for the bread that was delivered every day was done on a monthly basis. Every house had their own page in the ‘Bread Man’s’ long  account book, and entries would be made as to the number of loaves of bread and buns bought by them against the date. During the first week of the succeeding month, the representative of the ‘New Imperial Bakery and Stores’ would make the rounds for receiving payment of the bread delivered during the month. 

Read more in my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE