I have fond memories of Banglore. I remember visiting my cousins when it was still called ‘Banglore’ and sprawling in their huge bungalow, garden and woods behind, spending two whole summers there. It was there that i learnt to cycle, had my first swimming lessons, ate my first home-made cake and tasted my first butta.
My days there would begin much like Swami’s in Swami and friends. My cousin P and me, who is only a few years older than me, would be succumbed to some mathematics tables practice. Once we cringed and cribbed about this mundane exercise, which eventually did help us, we would scurry away for our swimming lesson. We didn’t have a natural knack for it; not at all, for I am still a clumsy swimmer; I can manage to not drown.
For the swimming competition they had lined up the older and good swimmers of the lot to open the lanes. P and me, nine and seven, were enraged that we didnt have a go ( for we believed we were master swimmers since we had managed to float) that we jumped right into the middle of the lanes when no one was looking, disrupting the swimmers and confusing the organizers to no end! Following this unwarranted act, we tried to feed the litter of pups by the road side, only to be chased and nearly bitten off by their bitch.
Thus marked our summer days, swim, try to swim, waddle in the water, play holding-breath-games, rush home sun burnt in chlorine water and hog a huge breakfast like we were starved for a week. An imperative haldi and milk-cream bath would follow, for we were two girls coffee colored and needed all the care, so that we could be married into good families (who cared only about skin color ) many years from then. It did little help, as I can well see now and this is why – for by the end of the one hour of wait, we would have fed off most of the yellow-cream from our bodies. eeww.. yes, but anything works for kids, doesnt it?
The days would thus unwind, in all the bliss and irresponsibility of childhood. Our afternoons would be marked by singing the songs of ‘anginakshatram’ which was all the rage then, like we had newly found our vocal chords and other times plucking all the flowers in my periamma’s beautiful rose garden and blame it on the monkeys ( we were eventually caught however!) . And before the sun set we would head for cycling lessons in the woods behind. No points for guessing that we sucked there too. I had in all spirit of innocence and the movie ‘anjali’ magic, decided to let my cycle fly away like the “magic vandi” and landed in a ditch, that thankfully wasn’t deep enough. I escaped with a tight trashing from mom and some wailing knee bruises.
Our weekends were more eventful, when G-anna P’s older brother and periappa and periamma and amma would head for the Banglore tour. It was here in the famous Cubbon park, under the surreptitious eye of hygiene-freaked amma and ruling out her doubts by a simple “nee podi indu”, my periamma would buy the chilly powder smeared toasted buttas. I can still recall the exploding taste of lime juice and chilly powder blended perfectly with an almost blackened corn cob and helssssss-ing in the spice laden treat on balmy humid summer evenings.
So, it was last week, in our newly bought grill, I decided to recreate the butta. I had tried to repeat the lime juice, chilly powder medley, plastered it to the grilled cobs. Somehow the taste didnt match up, but it had hovered in that vicinity and managed to resurrect memories that I knew not existed, of swims, cycles, zoo-visits and more. How wonderous, it is, i wonder, that the butta I had gnawed almost a million years ago had preserved memories sweeter than the corn cob itself!