Memories of my parents
Although I remember my surroundings and my life clearly when I was ten years old , in 1962 at Chandigarh , but first ten years of my life shaped me into what I was to become later on in my life and is equally true dor my sisters too .
My father was very fair looking , short statured ,handsome guy who was very fond of milk and all milk products , since his childhood was spent in a rural background at Hariya which is now in Pakistan .
His father had a habit of disappering from his home , quite often and every time he came back ,he made my grandmother pregnant .She bore five children out of him and my father was the eldest one .
Village had only a primary school and my father had to travel by train to a nearby Tehsil Malakwal which is well known for breeding horses in Pakistan , to do his middle schooling .
My grandmother realised that my father was intelligent but was wasting his time in doing mischiefs with the other village boys ." It would be better for him if he went to Jammu to her elder brother to do his matriculation , which is class X in schools now ", she thought ..
I don't know much about my grandfather except that he used to walk a lot and probably smoked .
Whether he studied upto primary school only or did his middle school , Is not known to me .I have never seen his photograph to know how he looked like .
How I wish that my grandfather or my father had written down something about their childhood days so that I could know more about my personal ancestry .A few things were told to me only verbally by my father or my mother but they never ever wrote down anything on paper .
Yes,my mother wrote down two pages in Hindi which I discovered last year during 2018 , after the family separated at Chadigarh in 1987 .She advised all parents to be extra careful while using cuss words while arguing or while fighting with their wives , since children's hearts and minds are very sharp to register everything you ever utter .It has a long term impacts in their entire life .
I had arguments with my father who was very dominating and authoritative and his brothers as well as his children were always dead scared of him .
To a great extent ,I myself faced it in my own life and my children kept everything to themselves but as adults they poured everything upon me in a very bad fashion .
Our DNAs carry many things from our parents and our grandparents ,some good and some bad qualities all along .
At Jammu my father had to study with his four cousins who all became Class-1 officers as desired by their mother and my father did reasonably well in his studies there . He was a highly mischievous boy but very fond of swimming and education ,especially mathematics , which was only Arithmetic those days and he remembered tables of 1/4,1/2, 2-1/2 etc and by the time we grew up, decimal system of counting had started and we never needed to learn such tables .
My father got a job as a sorter with Railway Mail service ,a section of Post and telegraph department which was very vital during 1959/60/70/80 .He was the least ambitious to prepare for his exams for departmental promotion , although my mother remained after him always , since we were always living from hand to mouth with my father's meagre salary ,yet my father was always happy go lucky kind of a person .
Realising it,my mother thought of doing her diploma in stitching and embroidery .
There was a woman in the corner house in the compound we stayed at who ran her own school called Vijay SEWING school .
A paan and cigarette shop was there , below our huge house which accommodated 3/4 families in the same complex .
We had a one room apartment but quite spacious and had a good cross ventilation with big windows on its one wall .There was a small kitchenette and a bathroom adjoining the room .
Lavatories were common for all families upstairs with the open air ventilation .Lavatories were walled but separated into two small rooms .Each room had two sitting places with a big hole in them .
A community tap used to be on the ground floor from where my mother would fetch water , as the children stood for their turn in a long queue and call their mm when her turn came .Later on ,ofcourse we kept a servant named Ganga Ram from UP or Bihar state in India .He was quite sturdy and used to carry buckets and drums filled with water upstairs .After leaving us ,he joined the Railway deoartment as a Collie ( Porter) and used to carry luggage for passengers .
My mother received a Singer brand sewing machine with pedals from her brother at Jabalpur and she used to go to her classes at the Imstitution , since we were all small children .For her exams she had to prepare a lot of embroidery stuff and my father helped her always in various chores .She used to draw flowers on a stretched cloth on a wooden frame and then she used to draw flowers etc with her sewing machine with different coloured threads .
This house had a huge terrace above for sleeping during the summers which was of a great joy to us in our childhood days .We could play on the terrace in summer evenings or drench ourselves in rainy season or bask in the sun during winters .
My father had a deep-rich baritone voice and he used to sing folk lores in punjabi or Hindi film songs ,patriotic or romantic .He used to sing songs whistling and enjoying the cool summer air .None of us ever learned the art of whistling from him .
We watched stars and remembered locating the North Star in the sky or a constellation of stars called sapt Rishi , which meant seven saints in Hindi .
I got my love of Physics later on from watching the sky and the stars as a small child .
My elder sister and myself used to listen to our father sing .
My father gave me his rich baritone voice and I always sang on my university stage during 1970's and then during 1980's , I used to sing some songs for my children and my son borrowed the baritone voice feom me and became a Professional musician during year 2000 onwards .He used to play guitar and sing with it at the local restaurants in our locality but he could not sing the higher notes like my father and myself .
But he had the patience and passion to learn various musical instruments to sing along with his guitar .
Later on , he was to conduct his Elvis night at a Delhi auditorium and 1960/70 songs of western singers during 2008 before leaving for Boston in USA .
My mother used to listen to some old punjabi folk songs on the second hand radio of GEC make ,which my father brought from Simla .We all used to listen to Hindi film songs on the radio .
It was a luxury those days to have your own radio and your own bicycle .
I started singing as a small child in my thin voice , which became hoarse once I crossed 14/15 years of my age .
Subsequently , I could sing songs like my father in a deep baritone voice at my school or at my university .
My father used to travel to Simla for his job and had a rest day at home and at Simla where my mother's sister stayed .He would always read novels in Urdu language from investigative to comic to socio cultural books .
I don't know when , but I did borrow the love of reading books from him and transferred it to my daughter who used to read English literary books written by Victorian authors of yesteryears.
My father would always call me and my elder sister to teach us Arithmatic and our blood would freeze as kids .But later on I was to do extremely well in Mathematics and my younger sister did her masters in mathematics and became a Lecturer at a college .
My daughter did her Masters in Mathematics from Delhi University .
We got a lot of talents from our father and I borrowed a strict discipline from my mother .
She was a highly compassionate and humble woman which none of us borrowed from her .
She was good at drawing which I borrowed from her .
Handwriting used to carry five extra marks in our exams .My father had a very good handwriting and all of us borrowed from him .My mother used to write in Hindi and her words were written with a lot of slants .
But both my sisters borrowed something from our father and our mother but not the way I did .
Yes ,both of them were practically wise and my elder sister borrowed that wisdom from my parents which I never did .
My mother loved arts and culture which we all borrowed from her .
Our father was a strict authoritarian and used to get violent with my mother , which as children we always hated but we all siblings to some extent , borrowed the same authoritarian traits from him later on in our lives .
It is Interesting how parents ,school teachers and the society one stays in shapes him or her later in His/her life .
My father was a tinkerer as they call in America and we never called a plumber or an electrician at our home since my father was adept at repairing most of the stuff .
We saw him repairing his Time piece with a lot of springs and small parts which fascinated us to a great extent .
But none of us ever got that technical eye which my father always had .
Later in his life ,my father used to maintain his own kitchen garden at our home and none of us picked up gardening from him ,
I was reading Anton Chekhov ,a Russian author who made this statement in one of his correspondence .
It made me think about myself and the same was very true in my case too .
I got a deep baritone voice from my father who used to sing for us when we were all kids and unknowingly ,I picked up the art of singing from him and from our second hand radio .
My sisters loved music but never became singers .
I transferred my baritone voice and a love for singing to my son who had patience to learn guitar and many other instruments and became a professional musician later .Marrying a Mexican flautist who could play on western as well as Indian flute , they were to become successful professional musicians in North of India.
My daughter also learnt Indian Classical music as a child and remained a music lover always .
My father was a matriculate of those days when class X taught you languages ,history ,geography and arithmetic , which is popularly called as three Rs-
Reading , Writing and Reasoning .
My father used to teach arithmetic to me and to my elder sister like a strict school master .
Consequently ,I did very well in mathematics and went in to do my masters in physics which had all mathematical applications .
My younger sister did her masters in Mathematics and retired as a lecturer of Mathematics from a college at Ambala City .
My daughter did masters in mathematics from Delhi University later on .
My father had travelling duties as a sorter in Railway Mail service and had a free day at home .He used to take books on rent and always read from investigative to comedies to serious socio cultural books .Having read a book ,he always related the story briefly to my mother and as children we used to listen to the stories .Since most of his books were in Urdu language ,so we could never read those books .
Books on history ,management ,spiritual matters or other best sellers of those days remained my constant companion all through ,being a science student and working at Corparte houses .
My daughter read Jane Austen ,Virginia wolf ,Oscar Wide and most of the other English literature books .
A love of music ,mathematics and reading were the talents we acquired from out father in two successive generations .
My mother was a very humble and compassionate person .She did her diploma in sewing and embroidery after her marriage and ran her own sewing school from home .
As children ,we came back from our schools to our home full of students learning stitching from my mother .
She was a highly disciplined woman all through her life and very energetic and she inculcated a love of disciplined living among me .
Getting up early morning and having her bath, whether in summers or in winters ,she kept herself buys throughout the day .
She taught many poor housewives who could stitch clothes for their families at home and taught a young girl who was deaf and dumb .
Although ,none of us became as humble or compassionate as she was but we borrowed some good values from her .
She taught us how to eat well and dress well ,the two important traits of most of Punjabi families
More than that she taught us good etiquettes and and a respect for elders to all of us .
I picked up strict discipline from her and also a love for teaching and drawing .
I taught at schools and at Management colleges later on whereas my younger sister taught mathematics throughout her life .