A famous poet once said that the sum of his life was memories,It was Ghalib, the famous Indian poet of the 16th Century. Now that am getting older,i too feel that memories are the most precious possessions of ones life.You live with them and once you are gone,that is all you leave behind ,which is of any significance.
My earliest memory is that of me being some three or four years old. Living in a vast house with an extended family. My parents, grand parents and two young aunts.
It was in a part of Hyderabad which is now very different and developed. Gosha Mahal it was called. I remember a vast courtyard, with huge Neem trees in it.
In those days houses were built with his and her quarters, this was the 1950s. Ladies quarters had trellis like structures covering the windows, they could look out but the outsiders couldn’t see them.
Women were very much kept under wraps.
My father was the youngest of three sisters,he lost his mother at the tender age of eight, and that had a profound effect on his personality. My paternal grand father ,who was a successful lawyer,and a special attorney to the Nizam of Hyderabad ,was a very big believer in education. He was a pioneer in some issues, like in the mid 1920s, he bucked the trend of paying dowry,and offered to pay for the higher education of his prospective son in laws,by sending them to England. He was very well known and respected in the city of Hyderabad.( I have vivid memories of his lunch;known as Khasa” being sent from the palace of the Nizam,who was the ruler of the Deccan province.The food will be carried on silver trays, covered with red muslin,edged with silver. Four men in livery,with ceremonial turbans, will carry the trays shoulder high,with four men ahead,similarly attired will be beating a drum,known as “Naubat”).
Likewise my father was sent to the UK ,at the age of 12,to a British prep school in Henley-on Thames. From where he went on to win a scholarship to Cambridge at the age of 17.
My father loved being in England. He has carved out a life for himself and was totally immersed in the western culture. At the time his contemporaries were Huxley and Wilde and he had some wonderful tales to tell. He had a yacht and a Bentley,man servant and a life of utter luxury.
The news of this way of life got to my grand father, In those days most upper class families sent their sons to be educated at great expense,and some of the returning students talked in awe of my fathers life. My grand father summoned his son immediately back to India and arranged his marriage to my mother.
Well if anyone has enjoyed reading it, please leave a comment ,so I will continue further. How the marriage to my mother ;who came from a very conservative Muslim background ;and how it changed her.
And there is my life! Lived between two continents and where I have struggled to make my own life.