I never got chance to eat the thick Masaala clad vegetable made out of Potato, that the wife of the House Lord - whom we called NaniJee (grandmother) - used to make. They never asked me to have it. Retrospecting now, I cannot conclude that she or any one of her family had any intention to not to call me for the delicious food. May be they have thought that this small child may cry after eating so spicy food. Or may be there were other issues which because of grounds of being seer conjectural in nature, I will better skip. Whatever the case may be, the aroma of Masaala clad Aalu (Potato) coming up via vapors still jettison in my Nose, and I feel helpless about it. I have never seen any one making that kind of pure Indian dish with spices permeating in the Potato in so absorbed manner. Along with that they used to make slightly thick Chapati, which was boost to sciences of Gastronomy. I never had it, however the fact that its aroma still engross me is something strange.
We used to call the House-Lord Nanaji(Grandfather), and we use to respect him with very high order. Somewhat thin out of his age he lately had become very active in social life. His this social life affected me also. In those days, somehow, I picked up habit of reading Newspaper, but my parents being too disinterested in - politics, sports or local news, did not allow me to get involved in any kind of Newspaper reading habit. My father, those days, did not had much interest in reading news or watching anything related to Television. He has been more of a family person and talking about family, friends and food were the main activities. But I, getting trapped in news world, used to visit Nanaji's house and read the news in early morning. So much I got crazy about Newspaper that I wanted to be the first reader of newspaper. So innocent were those days and so good were people those days, that Nanaji or any other in his family never scolded or said anything alarming to me. I remember except for page 3 and business pages, I used to engulf all of news. Poor me, I did not knew that my this activity or hobby will become a trap for me. Nanaji, because of his old age had suddenly developed symptoms of poor visual capability. Was operated for cataract and with green protection frame over his eyes he was not able to read clearly. Because people in his family were elderly and use to go for work, I was requested by Naniji to read the News for him ! Initially it appeared like I have become some one of importance, but it was awkwardly boring job for a boy of age 7-8. Initially I started reading news like Manjari Joshi of Doordarshan fame, but with time I wanted to give up my this new job. So I started to skip lines in the News. Here and there. But Nanaji, being an old thoughtful person, was able to catch this, "has the leader said something about town place after that line" !. Quite naturally, I used to have sense of being caught. But then I also started skipping stanzas while reading News. I was just 7-8 those days.
As I said, Nanaji got too involved in Social services in those days. So much involved that his family members were somewhat uneasy about his recent activities. With him being an old age and involved in too many guests never sounded too good for family. One day we saw that there were huge noisy discussions in his family. He bought one 16-17 years old boy and has given him one room to stay. Whole family was conspicuous of this person, him being poor, village like and most importantly being a stranger were the concerns. But then no one had courage to argue with Nanaji. "Ram Narayan" was the name of this boy.
(to be continued ...)