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January 17, 2016

Memories of my Father !

Narrated an anecdote from my childhood to Sakshi recently with some interesting consequences
I must be in 1st or 2nd grade, and Dad had taken us to my maiden visit to the circus --the Great Golden Circus. The circus would visit Baroda every couple of years and put up camp at GKM ground near Kirti stambh. Those days before the advent of television ,circus was mainstream entertainment and it was not unusual for the show to go houseful during the holidays especially Sunday evenings.
I was extremely excited at the prospect of seeing the circus for the very first time in my life. I distinctly remember it being a matinee show, and I , Dad, Santosh and Tai were seated in that order. The announcers were ratcheting up the tempo in the build up to the entry of the first performers in the arena. Just then an ice-cream peddler came calling to sale his wares, with the familiar brown box, wide open, temptingly displaying various flavors - vanilla, strawberry,chocolate , he walked between the rows of seats towards us from my side, on reaching me he asked, 'ice-cream chahiye ' (you want ice-cream), I said yes, and there within less than a fraction of a second, I had a vanilla ice-cream cup in my hand with the wrapper open.

All this happened so quickly that my Dad, who was seated right next to me , only realized, when the hawker asked him to pay up. I am still not entirely sure if I picked up that ice-cream because naively I thought it was complimentary and came with the circus ticket, or I was just being me -- greedy to eat ( Bhukad being the appropriate word but does not have an appropriate English translation). Back to the scene, my Dad was, understandably , enraged. He paid the hawker, looked at me sternly and reprimanded , you came here to watch the circus or to eat. But the transaction had already been done, I had the ice-cream , circus had started , Dad's admonition was over, what could possibly go wrong .. life was looking up. Dad must have thought for a few minutes the best way to punish me , and what an ingenious punishment he thought. He asked me to share that ice-cream with my brother and sister. I protested, I had taken the scolding for that ice-cream, so I had earned it, while for my siblings it was literally a ' free lunch' . Well that did not cut it. Imagine for a 6 year old to have to part with his ice-cream , that also that small cup , that too after being rebuked for it. Well as memory have it, I do not recollect any thing else that happened in the circus. hahahhhaha

So now when we go to watch any movie and Sakshi keeps making those insatiable demands- popcorn, soda, nachos etc.etc, and I reprimand her' Sakshi are we here to watch the movie or to eat' , Sakshi looks up and says '' but Dad, that's what even you used to do to Abba ( Grand dad)... well circus of life it is.. .. sorry of life !!

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