This is about a generation of kids who eventually grew up tough and learned to make it on their own with no government subsidies, no unemployment benefits, no medical plans, no job openings to apply for, even if you had an education, no savings and for the most part, no inheritance from our parents. Most families lived from day to day and had no savings.
How true and so well articulated! To the wonderful kids who were born in India and survived the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's..........
First, we survived being born to mothers, some whose husbands smoked and/or drank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate whatever food was put on the table, and didn't get tested for diabetes or any other disease! They were mothers who did not check their blood pressure every few minutes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs and bassinets were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We were put in prams and sent out with 'Ayahs' to meet other children with their ayahs whilst our parents were busy.
As children, if we would ride in cars there were no seat belts or airbags. We sat on each other’s laps for God's sake. Riding in the back of a Station Wagon on a warm day was always a special treat.
We ate jam sandwiches or pickle on bread and butter, raw mangoes with salt and chillies that set our teeth on edge, and drank orange squash with sugar and water in it.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day during the holidays, we were never ever bored, and we were allowed freedom all day as long as we were back when the streetlights came on, or when our parents told us to do so.
We would spend hours making paper kites, building things out of scraps with old pram wheels or cycle rims, inventing our own games, having pound parties, playing traditional games called hide and seek, kick the can, 'guli danda', 'seven tiles' and rounders, ride old cycles and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We never heard of or claimed our inheritance, whilst our parents were alive. We did not look for inheritance after they died too. They made sure we were alright.
We swam with an inflated tube which we got from somebody who was replacing their car tyres.
Our parents ran after us, to give us castor oil, once a month
We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no I-Pods, no Internet or Internet chat rooms, no TV,.... full stop! Listening to music was a gather around
We ate what was put in front of us and best of all, there was never any leftovers. We polished the lot
We fell out of trees numerous times, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no compensation
claims from these accidents.
We ate fruit lying on the ground that we shook down from the tree above. And we never washed the fruit
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode cycles everywhere and someone sat on the carrier or across the bar to school or the pictures, not cinema, or you walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them, and their parents, never let us go without a meal or something....
Not everyone made it into the teams we wanted to...........Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
Please pass this on to others who have had the luck and good fortune to grow up as kids in India, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives, ostensibly for our own good, that changed what was good into bad and what was bad into worse.......
Over the top: Those were the days
Masood Hasan-The writer is a Lahore-based columnist. Sunday, June 12, 2011
It is hard to believe that Pakistan was once a gentle country. It is even harder to believe that some of the most wonderful people lived here. All that seems like a misty memory which has little relevance as you face the day’s first rude slaps. A friend passed me an interesting short article about the Anglo-Indians who lived and worked in what is now India and Pakistan. The Anglos are long gone swallowed up by the mists of time, driven out from here to fend for themselves. But in their extinction lies a bigger tragedy.
The Anglo Indians were fun people. But more than the singular expertise they brought to the jobs that became traditionally their forte, they added a swing, vibrancy and a sheer joy of living spirit to our society that in many ways epitomised the new, fresh spirit that was Pakistan. That was then. Now it’s a fading sepia tone picture. Those of us who grew up with them, watched with considerable sadness as family after family left this country to go and live in alien climes. There was nothing left for them. They were wise in retrospect. Look at our bestiality towards our minorities. But while the Anglo Indians were here, they gave us a unique gift. The joy of living and of being alive.
The Anglos were a British creation – some say a hideous British blunder. Although the British Empire at one point held absolute power in over 52 countries there was only one undisputed ‘jewel’ in the royal crown. India. It was part of their policy to protect this jewel from within as well and so began a policy of encouraging British males to marry Indian women – Anglo Indians who would intrinsically be at home with British mannerisms and always do the ‘pucca’ thing yet be more English than Indian in their thinking, a defensive ring around British interests and way of life. Many experts believe that had it not been for them, the British Empire in India would have collapsed. Ethnically engineered, they were the only micro-minority community ever to be defined in a country’s constitution and yet the irony was that they were a race without a country!
The Anglos were no ordinary people. In India and later Pakistan, they virtually ran the railways, post & telegraph, police, customs, education, nursing, healthcare, import/export, shipping, tea, coffee & tobacco plantations, coal mines and gold reserves. Thus Anglos became great teachers, nurses, priests and doctors and the girls, debonair, confident, skilful became the best executive secretaries, special assistants and office managers. There was no one to match them.
But it was their colourful and vibrant approach to everyday life that was so infectious about them. Like all small communities, they segregated into enclaves that were all their own. The Anglo-Indians were truly spirited people, fired with a zest to work and party hard. The boys were typically razor sharp, cutting deals that would invariably begin with lines like, ‘I say bugga you know what happened? That bugga Tony, man he screwed me real good, bugga took my damn cash bugga and disappeared.’ And the reply, ‘You don’t say bugga,’ and ‘I’m tellin’ ya, ask Fernandez man – Tony rogered him too man,’ ‘Say swear,’ ‘Swear bugga this Tony cat, man he’s somethin’ else,’ and on and on went the stories. There were always stories.
The Anglos were superb musicians and dancers. The floors (toba, toba) were full on Saturday nights, Sunday afternoons, jam sessions – and other handy occasions – sometimes they didn’t even need to have a reason. At the hangouts, Karachi particularly and Lahore catching up all the time and Sam’s in Murree, the Anglo Indians could set a floor on fire as they jived, jitterbugged, rocked & rolled, swung, waltzed or shook sensuously to Latin-flavoured mind blowing melodies. And it was on the dance floors that you saw girls who could break your heart with just a look, hair tossing, laughing their pretty heads off as adept and handsome male escorts took them through the paces.
The Anglos congregated in special areas within the cities where they made warm, inviting homes. In Lahore, they were behind The Indus Hotel on The Mall, in the environs of the railway colony and in residential areas where family names like D’souzas were as common as Mohammad Iqbals today. In Karachi names like Preedy Street, Elphi were synonymous with them. Wherever they were - they were not very affluent, but you were always welcomed with a cold beer, a quick shot if it was nippy and at Xmas time, the special cakes made to order with each family guarding its secret recipe passed from generation to generation. There was the Burt Institute, the Railway Colony to name just two and then there were the clubs and nightspots. In Karachi there were many and even more there were the musicians – row upon row who filled these and played jazz, rock even fusion – or whatever you fancied. The bands grew on trees. The Strollers, Francisco Boys, The Bugs, The Cossacks, Willie Po and the Boys, The Incrowd (inspired by that superb hit from Ramsey Lewis and quite the rage then), The Drifters, The Panthers, The Talisman Set (see their group picture, faded and blurry and you could mistake them for The Jackson Five), Bloody What’s the Matter? (Yes there was a group called just that), The Keynotes, Flintstone, The Fatah Brothers, Captivators and the Saints of Rawalpindi (now surely replaced by the devils incarnate).
Nightclubs with foreign acts especially in Karachi were the rage. Agents, artists, con men, musicians, strippers, belly dancers all arrived and exited at this hustling port city. Jazz legends like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Byrd, Benny Carter, Quincy Jones (who gave Michael Jackson that memorable beat heard in ‘Billie Jean’ and who was to give MJ some great musical direction) – they all came here and they loved Karachi and this country called Pakistan, where there was hardly any crime worth mentioning and nobody knew how to use bombs leave alone the killer guns. ‘If someone fired a shot in midair in Golimar,’ muses a gentleman from those days, ‘the word would spread through Karachi like fire.’ But that was a Karachi that was perhaps just a million not burgeoning at all ends with an estimated 14 million now. And although someone recalls that ‘the city was planned differently but grew differently’, Karachi started to disintegrate before our eyes in the 70s.
The 1972 laws enforced by ZAB to please the fundos broke the spirit of all of us, particularly the Anglo Indians. Bars, discos, clubs all shut down in fear. Suddenly hosts of musicians and other artists had no livelihood. ‘Tolerance went up in smoke,’ recalls one sad person. Came 1979 and the evil Zia and the coup de grace forced the Anglos to escape, migrate anywhere they could go. They left by the droves, never to come back. The clubs died, the dance floors uprooted, the many services they offered fell by the wayside. In driving out this small community, we dug our own graves. We rapidly became soulless, grey, hypocritical and boring. With them gone, an integral part of decent civilian life was snuffed out. Guns replaced guitars. The scorched landscape that we inherited, now mocks us. Laughter has changed to anguish. Pakistan may be a ‘hard country’, but it is also a barren and desolate land. One gentleman of the fabled 60s sums it all up in one line: ‘Those days are gone. They will not come back.’ Quite an epitaph wouldn’t you agree?
How cosmopolitan and secular is the world's largest democracy?
When Pranab Mukherjee was sworn in as the President of India in July 2012,
the world witnessed a Parsi Chief Justice Kapadia
swear in a Brahmin President Mukherjee,
with a Muslim Vice President Hamid Ansari,
a Sikh Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
an Italian-born Catholic chairman of the ruling party Sonia Gandhi,
a Dalit Speaker of the Parliament Meira Kumar attending the ceremony.
a Sikh Chief of the Indian Army General Bikram Singh,
an Urdu-speaking Anglo Indian Christian from Allahabad - Chief of Air Force Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne -
whose son Omar is also an ace fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force.
Wonder which other country on this globe has a similar record? Proud to be Indian!
DEVELOPING POWERFUL RELATIONSHIPS
NO POINTING FINGERS
A man asked his father-in-law, "Many people praised you for a successful marriage. Could you please share with me your secret?" The father-in-law answered in a smile, "Never criticize your wife for her shortcomings or when she does something wrong. Always bear in mind that because of her shortcomings and weaknesses, she could not find a better husband than you."
We all look forward to being loved and respected. Many people are afraid of losing face. Generally, when a person makes a mistake, he would look around to find a scapegoat to point the finger at. This is the start of a war. We should always remember that when we point one finger at a person, the other four fingers are pointing at ourselves. If we forgive the others, others will ignore our mistake too. .
CREATING PERFECT RELATIONSHIPS?
A person visited the government matchmaker for marriage, SDU, and requested "I am looking for a spouse. Please help me to find a suitable one." The SDU officer said, "Your requirements, please." "Oh, good looking, polite, humorous , sporty, knowledgeable, good in singing and dancing. Willing to accompany me the whole day at home during my leisure hour, if I don't go out. Telling me interesting stories when I need companion for conversation and be silent when I want to rest." The officer listened carefully and replied, "I understand you need television."
There is a saying that a perfect match can only be found between a blind wife and a deaf sband ,because the blind wife cannot see the faults of the husband and the deaf husband cannot hear the nagging of the wife. Many couples are blind and deaf at the courting stage and dream of perpetual perfect relationship. Unfortunately, when the excitement of love wears off, they wake up and discover that marriage is not a bed of roses. The nightmare begins.
Many relationships fail because one party tries to overpower another,or demands too much. People in love tend to think that love will conquer all and their spouses will change the bad habits after marriage. Actually, this is not the case. There is a Chinese saying which carries the meaning that "It is easier to reshape a mountain or a river than a person's character." It is not easy to change. Thus, having high expectation on changing the spouse character will cause disappointment and unpleasantness.
It would be less painful to change ourselves and lower our expectations
There is a Chinese saying which carries the meaning that "A speech will either prosper or ruin a nation." Many relationships break off because of wrong speech. When a couple is too close with each other,we always forget mutual respect and courtesy. We may say anything without considering if it would hurt the other party.
A friend and her millionaire husband visited their construction site. A worker who wore a helmet saw her and shouted,"Hi, Emily! Remember me? We used to date in the secondary school." On the way home, her millionaire husband teased her, "Luckily you married me.Otherwise you will be the wife of a construction worker." She answered ,"You should appreciate that you married me. Otherwise, he will be the millionaire and not you."
Frequently exchanging these remarks plants the seed for a bad relationship. It's like a broken egg - cannot be reversed.
Different people have different perception. One man's meat could be another man's poison. A couple bought a donkey from the market. On the way home,a boy commented, "Very stupid. Why neither of them ride on the donkey?"Upon hearing that, the husband let the wife ride on the donkey. He walked besides them. Later, an old man saw it and commented, "The husband is the head of family. How can the wife ride on the donkey while the husband is on foot?" Hearing this, the wife quickly got down and let the husband ride on the donkey.
Further on the way home, they met an old Lady. She commented, "How can the man ride on the donkey but let the wife walk. He is no gentleman."
The husband thus quickly asked the wife to join him on the donkey. Then, they met a young man. He commented, "Poor donkey, how can you hold up the weight of two persons. They are cruel to you." Hearing that, the husband and wife immediately climbed down from the donkey and carried it on their shoulders.
It seems to be the only choice left. Later, on a narrow bridge, the donkey was frightened and struggled. They lost their balance and fell into the river. You can never have everyone praise you, nor will everyone condemn you. Never in the past, not at present, and never will be in the future.
Thus, do not be too bothered by others words if our conscience is clear..
This is a true story which happened in the States. A man came out of his home to admire his new truck. To his puzzlement, his three-year-old son was happily hammering dents into the shiny paint of the truck. The man ran to his son, knocked him away, hammered the little boy's hands into pulp as punishment. When the father calmed down, he rushed his son to the hospital.
Although the doctor tried desperately to save the crushed bones, he finally had to amputate the fingers from both the boy's hands. When the boy woke up from the surgery & saw his bandaged stubs, he innocently said, " Daddy,I'm sorry about your truck." Then he asked, "but when are my fingers going to grow back?" The father went home & committed
Think about this story the next time someone steps on your feet or u wish to take revenge. Think first before u lose your patience with someone u love. Trucks can be repaired.. Broken bones & hurt feelings often can't.. Too often we fail to recognize the difference between the person and the performance. We forget that forgiveness is greater than revenge.
People make mistakes. We are allowed to make mistakes. But the actions we take while in a rage will haunt us forever.
An Anglo Indian is a person who is always........
ACKNOWLEGED and is
GREAT and always
OBLIGED to his one and only country which he/she belongs to - INDIA