We had little then, but we felt large. Today we feel large, but we get little...

I found a nice and nostalgic interview of Mr. Amitab Bachchan, which reminded me also some of my older days and so I copy paste it so that I can read it later as well ....so here you go..

Amitabh Bachchan is taking down memory lane, to the simplicity of his childhood spent in Allahabad. The family didn’t have much money, but the memories from the time are still rich in his mind. There was no money for vacation, unlike kids from better-off families, he recalls, “The excessive summer months of Allahabad and the manner in which we spent them tending to so many things. Unlike most children of today’s world we never had opportunity to be taken for vacations. Some others did. Those who came from affluent family could afford it. Our home and our disposition was never ever in a state where we could indulge in such luxury.”

A slab of ice also kept them cool in summer. The superstar blogs, “Our luxury was the efforts made in keeping our homes cool. The continuous sprinkling of water on the floor of the house and a slab of ice floated over it... Other than the ordinary ceiling fan there was nothing else. How that slab of ice would keep all of us happy and content with the temperatures was a miracle, I think. We never questioned or demanded any better. This was it. As the day would warm up the pardas over our verandah would come down and if there was the luxury of the khus on some occasions it was most welcome; its smell bringing in the feel for summer.”

The Bachchans owned no car either. Amitabh writes, “We had no car, so the bicycle was our biggest luxury and our greatest joy. The hours and hours spent in cleaning up the bike and making sure nothing was amiss, was a major exercise.”

He asks nostalgically, “When would it be that a bunch of us kids would sneak in to the neighbors house and swipe all his mango and guava and other delicious fruits from his private garden. When would it be to feel the rush and joy of your parents having acquired a car. Not a new car, a car! The very first in the house, a small Ford Prefect, navy blue in color, and the rides with friends and family with Mother driving us all over the city in great pride.”

Mangoes were a summer favourite. “When the rains broke, all that came on as festive eating would be brought out. The special mango called chusni would be bought by the buckets and a lot of us sitting in the front of the stairway and legs crossed, would challenge each other on how much we ate. When the seed of the mango or the guthli would pile up to our chin, then was it believed that we have eaten enough! Ah!! .... Those days ...”

Holi meant gujias and pichkaris for the Bachchan kids! The actor writes, “As the festival of Holi approaches all the thoughts go back to the days in Allahabad and how preparations would start a month in advance. Getting the pichkari cleaned and pumped up for instant operation. The collecting of the taysu phool and pulling out huge cylinders to fill with water and then to push the flowers into it to ferment over night for the color to form. The basanti orange color, thus obtained, would be the first colors that would be used the following morning when guests and family set out to enjoy the festival of color. The kitchen filled with delicious special treats for the festive air. Gujjias filled with great delicacies, mango shaped and with corrugated edges, would be circulated among the children and elders busy and involved with the splashing of color all over would stop by to grab a few of them and then continue with the revelry.”

The evenings were calmer. “After the scrubbing and cleaning to remove all the different hues all over our bodies, fresh traditional clothes, the smell of summer in them, would be worn and we would sit and wait for the visitors to drop by, put the gentle tika on the forehead, wish each other a prosperous year ahead and move on to the next.

Amitabh relives all the good old times, sitting around informally without the TV and listening “to an elder share poetry, literature, life with us”, riding to the nearest grocery store on a bike with a basket attached to the handle bars, dressing up to take a rickshaw to a friend’s birthday party, play physical games and be back home before the street lamps came on.

“When would it be that we picked up our beds and rolled them out in the open air on the lawn outside or spread it out on the roof top to get the fresh and cool air of a summer evening and night. And when would it be that when the first drizzle would sprinkle our face, we would instead of running in, remain outside and hope that one day there will be an opportunity to build that automatic machine which would at a press of a button, either cover us from the rain or through some mechanical genius, transport us inside safe from the rain - not wanting under any circumstance to be disturbed in our sleep!”

He confesses, ”We had little then, but we felt large. Today we feel large,but we get little. Little in quality, little in response, little in the way we conduct ourselves, little in thought and word ... just little .. in everything we do and believe in. The large heart, the large feel and the largeness of being small has all disappeared. Today our perspectives have changed. Time and tide have brought in the changes we so fiercely protected when younger.”

Yes, those were the good old days! Thanks for sharing them with us, Mr Bachchan!


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