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Kamala Bastralaya

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by ojaantrik, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. iyerviji

    iyerviji IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear OJ da

    Its always nice to go back memory lane. Your post was interesting to read. It is so nice of you to think of those good old days especially about that tailor. It is always nice to stick to one tailor . For long time I also was giving to only one tailor and he knows the measurements of my daughters byheart. I never give him the pattern and my daughters like the pattern he gives. Now he has increasedthe rates so my blouses I give to another tailor.
     
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  2. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Kamal,

    Few people realize how much I owe you. I think Cheeniya does though. He is too sensitive not to. It was you who brought me here and I have continued to be here despite occasional you know whats !!laugh1smiley Well, there is this strange attraction I feel for this site, and believe me, it has now stopped mattering that not many read me or comment on my pieces.

    As I was reacting to Cheeniya's fb, I was thinking about you as well. The two of you have always made sure that my madness finds a cosy corner to fall asleep in. I sleep peacefully and when I sleep, I think I write or dream perhaps. When I wake up, I smile and I roar, in both cases quite without reason. Then I disappear into the woods, I know not where, but the roads there invariably bring me back here.

    Thanks to you, I have been able to practise beauty at this site. Or what I consider beauty. Not always, but most of the time I think. You have always lent me a patient ear. You have made sure, not that I don't leave IL, but that I keep on practising beauty wherever I am. That's what I believe in. The only thing I believe in.

    Your recollection of prices in the good old days took me back to the times when we didn't have decimal coinage. From home to school was a 6 paisa (not paise) bus ride. But if I walked over to the next stop and caught the bus there, then the price went down to 4 paisa or one anna. Doing it up and down would save me 2+2 paisa or one anna again. With this one anna, I would buy dum aloo from a vendor who sat at the school gate. I will never forget the taste of his cooking. I have eaten at high brow, expensive restaurants in New York, Toronto, Tokyo, Sapporo, Hong Kong and even in Hanoi. But the one anna dum aloo produced by that old man remains my most favourite dish till today. Also, the effort I had to put in to collect the wherewithal to purchase his fare remains vivid memory. One anna. The most expensive dish I could afford when life was still to begin.

    Coke was 25 paise around the time it arrived on earth. Raising this sum too was no easy job. And then it disappeared for years. It reappeared in my life during a trip abroad, when the air hostess offered me a can of coke, which I relished to no end. It was Thai Airways.

    Tailors came to our home too. One even had a name!! Badruddin. He had his haunt somewhere in the Free School Street area I remember. He traveled all the way to our home to collect orders and take measurements. Ah, his smiling face!! His kind demeanour. Unforgettable Kamal, simply unforgettable.

    Thanks for your fb and don't you worry about the number of fb's I receive. I will keep vanishing from time to time, not because I didn't win prizes in the form of fb's, but because I might rent some other abode in search of beauty. But I am sure that I shall be back so long as IL is around.

    IL is where I sing in silence. And as I told Cheeniya, silence for me is a necessary condition for creating beauty.

    Best regards.

    oj (the crazy) :crazy


    PS: At a fashionable restaurant in Hanoi. They are all Japanese people in this picture, except for two. One Indian, whom you know. The other one is Chinese. Can you pick out the Chinese?
    vietnamese restaurant 2.jpg
     
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  3. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you dear Viji. I feel happy that I was able to help you walk down memory lane. Nice to hear from you.

    oj-da
     
  4. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear OJ,

    This particular blog was appealing, for it was simple and straight from the heart, and in simple english, that i understand, for u know i have not studied much, so dont know the tough words. And this was the topic that me and Cheeniya, along with u, had the same edpeirences.

    We ghad a tailoring shop called Raj Tailors, which just closed down in Mumbai near my moms house, after moer than 40 years. He used to lament, that with readymade flooding the markets, he is losing market. But he did not keep up with the times.

    A friend of mine , too had the same thing about buses, he could save a few paise but he had to walk a few kms, and with that he could buy a ciggarette, so he would prefer the walking, and buying a ciggie with the money saved, and well u eat dum aloo instead, each having their own preference.

    Youngsters of today may consider our talks strange, but well, before we take these memories to the grave, let us share them, for those days will never come back, when we were happy with no gadjets, TV, or anything.

    Ask today's kids if they can imagine even a week without a mobile, smart or otherwise, TV, computer, movies, they can just read books or newspapers or go sit in the park to pass time, let us see their reactions.

    HAHA

    Yes how can i let u go, OJ, u are the life of IL, and we feel lucky when we see u post here.

    So heres wishing that u stay here, and keep posting.

    Regards

    kamal
     
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  5. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear OJ-da,

    One more gem from you. I just love your memoirs. I have faced this so often in Pune. The changes that take place are so insidious. Suddenly one is walking down a familiar road and one fine day the realization dawns "oh, where is that building gone?" or "this seems to be a new building, I can't seem to remember which bungalow was here before." Each new change brings on a fresh wave nostalgia and many interesting memories and stories along with it. Enjoyed the story of "Kamala Bastralaya". :-D
     
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  6. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchi,

    The past is a treasure house without a doubt. Why buildings alone, pick out any person you knew, but who has disappeared from your life. You don't know where s/he is now. But you can recall a little smile, a shiny drop of tear perhaps and breathe new life into the bygone past. I try to rebuild that past in my own way. Touch it up if necessary. And you discover life in all its grandeur.

    Love.

    oj-da
     
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  7. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Oj da,

    A delectable snippet indeed. As sweet and as tasty as the mithaiis that I have been devouring this Diwali. Nice to come back and log in to IL and find that though the festival of lights has sped past us, the festival of word and thought is still to be enjoyed! And why not? When the tantrik of words is still weaving his magic wand, there is no dearth of entertainment!

    Kamala Bastralaya speaks to me instantly. Besides sharing my name, any V/Bastralaya is always appealing to my senses!! If it houses a tailor who makes clothes to measure, even more so! Yours was a serious fellow I note. But I have to think of my tailor and the surprise is I even know and remember his name...Vittal Rao, a diminutive Marathi man and when he was done with his work in his little shop which was just a stone's throw from my house, he buttoned up his Nehru jacket and wore a black topi and headed towards his home! Come Diwali or Ugadi or Sankranthi, the three festivals that most South Indians bought new clothes , his demand would rise sky high. He would paste a permanent frown on his face and make us run to his store a hundred times to see why our clothes were not ready in time for the festive day. I have no idea about the fate of his other customers, but he would deliver our new clothes before the clock struck twelve! The crackers could go off then...we were ready with our new clothes!

    He also took us for a ride, especially us two sisters. He made beautifully designed blouses for our Sindhi and Gujerathi friends who were the main residents of the area we lived in. They had daring neck lines and fashionably short sleeves etc etc. But our clothes always looked the same, fashions dating back some five years or so. We questioned him on this a bit stealthily as our mother was quite pleased with the way it was. I still remember his crooked sly smile when he would say..Beti..you don't need such styles, these are good and sound and better for you!!

    Haa, those were the days indeed dada. I miss Vittal Rao a lot, especially living in US where it is impossible to get a sari bluse stitched!! My eternal woe these days!

    I thank Kamalji profusely for nominating this snippet to FP! He sure has good taste!

    L, Kamla
     
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  8. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Kamla,

    Surprised i am replying to u here eh ! there is a reason.

    As u are an NRI, u would love to get yr blouses and other garments stitched in india to yr measurments but it is so difficult really.


    i had an idea for this, an invention really that would remove these woes, and change the way of the garment business forever.

    Suppose there is a machine, which measures u as a tailor does, the many measurments.

    and thjat machine has an inbuilt computer, which makes a platic inflatable dummy, which when u blow, is exactly yr height, all measurments the same, thought it does not have a face at all,

    So if the garment u wear, for example a salwar or kurti, fits u and the dummy the same.

    Now sup[ose that copy of the dummy be made for say it costs 50 dollors for a dummy, and u have it say with yur mother in india, and whenever something is to be made, yr mom takes the dummy to the tailor, and gets yr clothes stitched, or she takes it to the readymade store, and gets the readymade garment fitted on it, and alterations made according to the dummy measurments.

    And i am sure , millions of dummies will be sold to NRI ladies and even for men, who would like to have tailor made trousers and shirt in india, for made to order beats anything readymade i am sure.

    what say of this invention Kamla ?

    HAHA

    Regards

    kamal



     
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  9. suryakala

    suryakala IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear OJ,

    Kamla Bastralaya! What a beautiful recapture of those days in which life was so close and personal.

    A child can be sent to the family doctor's house who would carry a typical leather Doctor's bag, come home and examine and enjoy the respect he is shown, accept his fees and everyone was reassured. Where has he gone?

    The cart man who came daily to take the chid to school and bring back. What happened to him?

    Yes, every family, rich or poor had the Kamala Bastralaya's of their own. Each shirt or pant had its story or background to tell. Where is the bespectacled "Master" with his tape around his neck?

    We all have moved forward.. more towards a culture of use and throw! Not that we wanted.. but it is the result of change, which is permanent.

    It reminds me of " Future Shock" by "Alvin Toffler" - a book I read long back.

    Thanks for " Kamla Bastrlaya".. a walk down the memory lanes ( of Kolkata, Chennai, Karachi or Lahore the story is the same, of course players may be looking different.)
     
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  10. ravichander

    ravichander New IL'ite

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    Hi this is nice to read
     

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