Hi! Welcome to my homepage!

Stories from Bangalore Wallas!

I have received two short stories from my friend Hanif Perwad, (e-mail: hanif.perwad@amd.com)which I thought you all could have a chuckle with. If you also have some short stories that pertains to your early days in Bangalore, do send them to me, cannot promise that I can add them, but I will try, of course if I need to edit the same I must have the right to do so before I publish. Should anyone find these stories or part of these stories disturbing, please let me know immediately and I will edit the same if you could make a suggestion. Cheers Ronnie
DISCLAIMER: The names of the characters are true but are not meant to ridicule or slight individuals with like nom-de-plumes. The story is as true as my memory can be trusted.

Shane's Shenanigans

These days I regress more and more towards those fledgling years, those formative years when every endeavor was an adventure. These periodic reminiscences also tend to refresh me emotionally and spiritually, somehow reminding me to cherish life to the fullest. I have started thinking a lot about my early life in Bangalore (specifically in Indiranagar). Every time I indulge in this activity, I envision images that I had long thought been erased from my mind.

I remember Shane very well; he was supposed to be Dr. Quader Ali's son from a previous marriage. This was talked about in hushed whispers by the ladies of the neighbourhood, whenever Shane passed by. His house was right behind my house and when I close my eyes I can still see the lovely garden that his father meticulously maintained.

Shane's father was Indian and his mother was English. We were about the same age, around twelve. I wondered why Shane wanted to live with his Dad in Bangalore while most of his relatives and his Mom were in England.

Shane was a true street-rat; he was always dressed like an urchin. He was invariably dirty, his blond locks streaked in dust and coal. He had the amazing knack of transforming himself from a clean-cut lad to a ragamuffin, within a matter of minutes. He loved animals and the animals reciprocated his love. His favorite animal was the garden-lizard, commonly known as the chameleon. It was not surprising to see a couple of baby chameleons in his pockets. We were repulsed and amazed at the same time, since none of us dared go near those creatures. Shane knew this and never lost the opportunity to scare us silly by suddenly flinging one of them on us. We had to be on our toes whenever Shane was around!

One day, Kodandacker decided that he would teach Shane a lesson. Kodandacker was one of those kids who displayed a streak of thuggery early on in life. Later, I found out that he became the local MLA's strong-man. Anyway, that is another story!

Kodandacker was a coward at heart, which he hid very well on a robust frame. He tended to brag and bluster a lot, something that made the other impressionable kids (myself included!), look upto him. There was a dense thicket of vegetation behind my house; Kodandacker managed to wrangle a snake from this "jungle" through his cronies. He paraded the snake

in a basket proudly, proclaiming loudly that he would let it loose on Shane. Of course, he did not dare look inside the basket but claimed that he had seen the snake and it had fiery red eyes and a venomous bite.

Shane came to know of Kodandacker's threats. That evening there was a cricket match on the street. Shane loathed games of any sort, preferring to spend his time trying to catch reptiles and insects. We finished our game and all of us headed home since it was curfew time for us kids. The seven o'clock cut-off time was instituted by the elders after the debacle involving Sattar and Dr. Thyagaraj's wind-shield. (That's another story!).

Shane crept into Kodandacker's backyard where the snake-basket was kept. He knew that Kodandacker's parents were out of town that day, leaving him at home with a maid-servant. He crept into Kodandacker's bedroom and released the snake between the bed-sheets.

Around nine o'clock, I was awakened by a blood-curdling scream. It sounded like someone's throat was being methodically cut. Shaken, all of us came out of the house wondering what sort of an unearthly creature was roaming loose on the streets. We were taken unawares by a portly creature wearing a lungi doing the twist on the street, in broad view of everyone. Occasionally, a guttural curse would emanate from the lips of the poor wretch.

It turned out to be Kodandacker, scared out of his wits, yelling that the devil was out to get him. The maid-servant had a non-plussed look about her, thinking that he had taken leave of his senses. There was no snake in sight although that did not stop Kodandacker's imprompt bhangda (dance). Rattan had the bright idea of getting a bucket of water from

his house and drenching Kodandacker, yelling all the while that it would get rid of the "bhooth" (ghost). Observing Rattan's unholy glee, I was left wondering whether that was his actual intent.

Anyway, a visibly shaken Kodandacker was escorted back to his house after repeatedly being assured that no devils resided in Indiranagar. Later we found out from Shane that it was a common garden snake.

Kodandacker's misery did not end there; he developed a severe bout of cold from the "unintentional" drenching that left him weak. He wasn't able to leave his bed for a fortnight! We never stopped thanking Shane (and Rattan) for that! Even today, snakes make Kodandacker wobble in fear, like a jelly.

A year later Shane was called back to England by his mother. Sadly, his father passed away a few years ago. However, the garden is still diligently cared for even today. The last time I went home, I passed by his old house. Looking at that garden opened up a flood-gate of memories. I have no idea where Shane is today!

Story by Hanif Perwad e-mail hanif.perwad@amd.com

DISCLAIMER: The names of the characters are true but are not meant to ridicule or slight individuals with like nom-de-plumes. The story is as true as my memory can be trusted.

Bull on the Street

Each one of us remembers those care-free child-hood days; the days of gulli-danda, kites, tops, goli, holi and a myriad other things that have long died with the advent of television. Sometimes various incidents from my child-hood in Bangalore flash through my mind. Flashback to about twenty years ago when I was studying in the fifth grade.

Playing cricket was a passion for us; we had a team of about twelve guys. It was a motley crew; there was Charan, the captain of our team and the eldest at eighteen years old, Rattan and Ashwin, Charan's cousins and a couple of years his junior. Sharad at fourteen was the punching bag, a butt for many a joke while Rohit was the intense one, at fifteen. I was the youngest of the bunch at ten, looked upon with an avuncular attitude by Charan. My cousin Sattar at fifteen was the rowdy one, with a penchant for picking up fights at the drop of a hat. Christie at sixteen was quite the philosopher while Ronnie was a flamboyant seventeen. Ravi was the second youngest at eleven and we often fought over who took the last spot on the team. Kind of like fighting for scraps at the dinner table! Manimaran was the wild one at seventeen while Venkat was very short for his sixteen years.

All of us were neighbors; it took very little to get a quick game of cricket organized (By the way, all this happened in Indiranagar, for those of you familiar with Bangalore!). There was a magnificent play-ground about 200 yards from my house. This was the size of a soccer field and was well-suited to cricket too. The ground was in great demand since this was the only one of its kind in the area. It was not unusual to see a team playing full-field soccer while another team of twenty-two waited for their turn, to play cricket.

One evening, we decided to play cricket but to our dismay found the field occupied. It was Kothundacker and his gang playing soccer. We had not had the best of relationships with that crowd, after Manimaran from our team got tangled up with Kulla Ravi from their crowd. (Anyway that is another story!). We knew that they would not relinquish that field, no matter what the outcome. We quickly decided to play at our second-favorite location, the street, in front of my house.

Well, the game started off sedately with me opening the batting. The electric pole was the wicket; there was no LBW; one-pitch catch was out; hitting the ball full into any house was an automatic out. The last rule was to make sure that my cousin Sattar would not break any more windows; he had the propensity of hoisting any well-pitched ball over the bowler's head, no matter where we were playing.

I got out in the first over as was usually the case (I used to console myself saying that I was the youngest in the team!). The street across which we were playing was half the distance of a regular pitch, so the ball rose quite ackwardly towards the batsman. We were playing with a cork-ball, as was the fashion then. We had to frequently stop the action to accomodate vehicles, carts, vendors and kids.

During one of these intermissions, we had stopped to let a bullock-cart pass. The poor bull was hauling a huge amount of sand and was being mercilessly harassed by the "driver". It was taking it quite a while to cross the playing area.

Suddenly, Sharad decided that it was safe to play on. He released one of his blood-curdling beamers aimed square at the head. More as a survival tactic than anything else, the startled Christie thrust his bat out in front of his forehead. The ball hit the meat of the bat and rocketed towards the bullock-cart. To our horror, we heard a loud thwack; the ball hit the bull squarely in the stomach, akin to a sucker punch. The bull just folded over on its front-legs, as if in slow-motion. The cart slowly keeled over to the side and emptied a ton of sand on the street. The "driver" was caught unawares and tumbled head-over-heels onto the foot-path and rolled into the nearby "gutter".

All hell broke loose; there was a foot-race among us to see who could disappear the fastest. Within a few seconds, all of us had vanished. We had created quite a traffic jam. A couple of cyclists slipped on the sand and skinned their knees. I was peering through the front window of my house, trembling in fear and praying with all my might.

Finally, the "driver" emerged from the "gutter", all black and blue. Straight away he marched towards Charan's house. All I remember after that was a whole lot of screaming and arguing. I guess Charan's parents finally settled the issue.

The sand was partially cleared to let the vehicles pass, although it took another month for it to be fully removed.

That was the end of our "street cricket"! In fact, I think that was also the last time we saw Charan playing cricket.

Story by Hanif Perwad e-mail hanif.perwad@amd.com

  • Return to Home Page : India Hello, Bangalore Walla, Namaskara!
  • This Page Hosted by GeoCities Get Your Own Free Home Page