From Mumbai to Thane

I don't think anyone has ever pampered me more than my grandparents. I was their only grandchild for many years, and some of my fondest memories as a child are of the times I spent at their place in Thane. Needless to say, I'd be off to Thane at the start of every school vacation. My mother and I would board a train from Kurla, a journey I disliked immensely because I hated travelling by trains. In spite of having made that journey innumerable times over the years, I never managed to learn the names of all the stations that we'd pass by. But I knew Mulund was right before Thane, and I used to get super excited knowing that Ajji and Ajoba's house was only a few minutes away.

My grandmother (or Ajji in Marathi) was a fabulous cook who'd ensure that I put on atleast a few kilos before heading back, and taught me how to read Marathi and also tried to teach me Kannada (in vain). One of her delicacies was a banana cake she knew I loved and would unfailingly have it prepared before my every visit.(Except this one time when we surprised her by showing up completely unannounced). I haven't had that cake in years; I'm guessing she never shared the recipe with my mom ;-)

Most grandfathers are known to be splendid storytellers. I know mine was, because I'd make him narrate the same story to me every night. (Ironically, I don't remember much of the story, but I know it involved a lion and a rat). Many years later when my cousin was born, he too was brought up on the same story, and (though we had an 8-year age gap) both of us would pester him for the same story night after night. Oh and yes, he insisted on buying me an ice-cream every single day when I was staying with them. No wonder I enjoyed my stay, I was looked after like a prince!

My mama and mami would take me to the Talao Paali (edge of the lake) every weekend, which is a popular spot in the heart of Thane, complete with boating trips, horse carriages and fabulous eateries. Their colony  had a library which was surprisingly well stocked, and it was here that I finished reading the entire Goosebumps series. It also had a lot of Bhel-puri stalls and I discovered the best Sev Puri EVER in one of them. I also signed up for a painting class one summer during an extended stay.

I was reminded of my grandparents while reading a novel by Nanak Singh, a prominent Punjabi novelist. I think everyone shares a very intimate and special bond with their grandparents, a bond many of us grow out of as we grow up. Indeed, it's hard to find people who'll love you and dote on you more than those blessed souls. If your grandparents are within reach, I suggest you pick up the phone and give them a call. You probably won't feel it, but you will have made two people the happiest in the world!


  1. Azoba*.

    Down goes the Grammar Nazi himself.

  2. It's not an English word, doesn't count :P

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