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Friday, 27 May 2011

Mudivu kaalam...continued

         The 'pulichcher meen' lunch was a  scenario ..months before Wapa left for London.I had to take you that you can put things into perspective..Akka's strange behaviour, The telegram... the name SHEWAK and events that followed.
                                     Lunch for Wapa's 'PAKISTAN HOUSE'

It was a magic afternoon...the gentle sea breeze...the sun not hot, but warm...and looking out the front of our house...about fifty metres away was the old dutch lighthouse across the rampart slope that starts from the road. The sea was literally a 'stone's throw away' . You fling a stone over the rampart..on rampart street....and it drops into the shallow waters (about two to three feet  in height for more than hundred yards) ... of the Indian Ocean

Wapa walked into the corridor of our house...his face glowing with satisfaction and told Umma that his friends guzzled the food like cavemen,  they really licked the dishes. Umma was beaming and asked if there was enough for all. Oh yes, yes..Wapa replied.

They were about to leave ..and wanted to thank Umma for her delectable lunch..They all nodded at Umma..with one hand on their chest. They knew that offering to shake hands with women.. is not the accepted practice among muslims of Galle...

Then , the last guest about to leave..gave Umma a ribbon wrapped parcel  ...and Wapa said that shewak would like Umma to accept a small token for taking the trouble for as " Shewak stated..this  magnificent lunch.". Umma holding the saree over her head  and under her chin, nodded and shyly said' thank you '

After they had left..we..the children... couldn't wait to see what was in the parcel. 'Now, now, have some patience till we get this opened' said Umma. I can never forget the beautiful gold ,silver and blue box with compartments...and you lift the top and there is another tray with compartments.

On the top of the box was stylishly printed.......SUCHARD Swiss chocolates. And we thrilled to the gorgeous wrapping of each chocolate and we ate the chocolates very slowly. It was "gamayata magic" for us. So, thats why Swiss Chocolates are so famous !

When Wapa came back home that evening he mentioned that Shewakram and he planned to go to London in the near future...and that there was a business plan...By the way, he said that Shewak bought this chocolate from EPHRAUMS..opposite the Tennis Club . Ephraums was a foreign owned establishment..  the upmarket shop for the wealthy. Yeah, many Galle Fort dwellers had class...and money ! And the average Galle resident never walked walked into this shop because it looked too posh!
                        Contacting Shewak

I cannot remember how Umma got about contacting Shewak..but I remember going to the Post Office with Umma . She spoke to someone using the Post Office  red telephone. I did not know if the person she telephoned was appeared so...and I had no idea if the person receiving Umma's call was in Ceylon or Overseas.
I was always tailing Umma.... Wherever she went, I urged her to take me along with her. I remember that they had to 'fool' me away into the house..whenever the Rickshaw arrived to take Umma  to Thalapitiya. Yeah, I was like her shadow.

Back in our house, Umma was distressed...and got Ava (my aunt, father's sister) to come into our house. Ava lived in the house next to our 'Pakistan House'. Ava and Umma were always together.
Ava was rubbing her tears from her eyes..and comforted Umma saying everything will turn out okay... but even as a small boy, I sensed great foreboding...

Umma was speaking ( we spoke tamil..or rather shonavam which is a hodge-podge of colloquial tamil, some arabic terms, even Sinhalese and English ) to Ava and explaining this 'sickness'  that Wapa has. Later on, it was discussed that he  had CHOLERA..because he was wasting away and could not retain any food or even liquid ..and he was in an isolated ward in a hospital in London.
Later on, they confirmed it was NOT CHOLERA..but could not diagnose the condition..and the doctors in London could not put a name to Wapa's illness.

THEN.... then Akka walks into the room. She tells Umma and Ava..." Don't try  to hide things from me....Nona ! I know everything. Umma replied.."Akka, we are not trying to hide anything from you and we meant to tell you soon enough.

Akka said  " Nona, aender thaller shuththuzzui' ( my head is turning, I am going to rest awhile on my mat........Akka did not wake up till evening...From about 11 am in the morning till about 6pm in the evening...

You would not believe...what followed

continued in the next blog.


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Mudivu kaalam..(End time) Akka speaks !

The telegram was sent to the Galle Fort post office...addressed to Mrs Careem. No number or street mentioned . Mrs Careem..Fort Galle Ceylon. So the kindly Post office sent out the postman to deliver the telegram to Mrs Careem..and there were two..

Yes, if he went to Jiffry Careem's house...which is almost opposite to our Lighthouse street side entrance to 'Pakistan House'...Jiffry Careem or his wife Naima Careem could have opened it and perhaps laid it aside after reading the telegram...because it would not make any sense to them. The
content read...." Your husband is critically ill, please contact Shewak" 

Yes, the telegram reached Mrs mother. I remember that my mother speaking to herself, and saying "Shewak, Shewak....I don't know who this is..Rabbil Aalameen! Shewak, Shewak,.....and it dawned to her. Yes it must be Shewak..ram...Shewakram.

Shewakram and some others came to a our house in Fort Galle. My mother had prepared
a lavish meal and made  a special effort to do a "poolichche meen"(paraww fish with mustard. tamarind and coconut cream sauce)..because my father mentioned to her that his business associate friends would simply love this !

I remember the name 'shewak' well because..that lunch day, my father arrived with his friends earlier than projected...and the rice was not yet kept to boil. My mother said.." The rice is not ready...I haven't even washed the rice" and my father replied that they cannot wait too long, so he said "we'll get some bread from the National Bakery ..down the road. It's alright, they are not particularly bothered about rice and they will enjoy the meal with bread" and he said they called bread 'bun rotti'

to be continued

'bun rotti'

Monday, 23 May 2011

SCARY STORY ! You don't believe in the supernatural ! then read on..

Before I tell you about my father's triumphant return to Ceylon from England
there is a true story..( ghost story !) that happened in our Fort Galle house that I simply HAVE to tell you !      
Ah yes, if you make M..O..N..E..Y .. you are a are is true now and it was true a thousand and more years ago..) If you do not have money you are "clean suit empty pocket"..or you are "kaka mama kai burus" "kushmeyan lokus"..or as they  say in  China Fort Beruwela.."puckeyt"
 Such is Life...Cest la vie ..

Yes, how unfair !..but unfortunately that's the way it is. Now, let me tell you this supernatural...weird story...true story that happened in our house in Fort Galle, Ceylon,.. now known as Sri Lanka.

Akka... as we called her, ( I remember someone mention that her real name was Hamid Johora (yeah, not Hamida) chose to come to Ceylon with us. After the war contract, Vadood and Thaiba and children Nakshab, Rizvi, Jisty and  new born Hooriya....left Madras to get home to Ceylon..Fort Galle.

Akka..came to our house in Madras. She came in as a domestic help look after our huge house in Madras. In no time at all, she was more like  a family member and  a second mother to us. In fact it was she...who looked after my sister can say that 'akka brought-up Hooriya'..until the time she went back to India...when Hooriya was about twelve years old.

I heard my mother (Thaimami as everyone called her...) tell someone that she could not put "kundhirikkam and shaambaraani" together in the incense burner because something happens to 

It appeared that my father in London then, had not been in touch with umma and I sensed that  my mother was worried...because she was always reciting the quran and saying bismillahi thawakkathul allallah ..all the time....She told rizvi and I, that wapa had not contacted her for quite sometime...

Akka said "nona, trust me, ...I am going to have a bath ....please put some kundhirikkam and burn...I will go to sleep on this mat and when I get up  I like to smell the fragrance of this 'smoke'...because that is when " I WILL GET MY MESSAGE ABOUT DOREY "(dorey..roughly..master in tamil)
I saw that my mother was fretful about all this...but she desperately wanted to know how wapa was.

It was about 5pm in the evening, and I well remember the big our 'Pakistan House' Galle Fort. This big room was behind our lounge room. My mother was holding me against her...Akka was rolling from one end of the room to the other end. Believe me, I was terrified...Then Akka sat up and whirled her  long hair in front of her face , whirling her hair like a fan whirls its blades ! 

Then she brought her two hands down slapping the floor...and she said..her eyes glassy and not looking anywhere in particular..."dorey is not coming back...dorey is not coming back ! My mother could not take this any more and held her by the shoulders and shook her and said 'stop it, stop it !
and akka slumped to the floor and went back to a sleeping position.

That night I slept next to umma, and saw that she did not sleep at all. About 7am in the morning the postman was ringing his bicycle bell and calling out that there was a telegram for Mrs Careem. My mother dashed to the rampart street entrance to our house...and collected the telegram...It was from London.

shall continue the story in my next blog.... only if your are email me and tell me

Who are the booshels? ..( booshels from bushel..bushel of rice etc)

 1..My mother's father, 2.. Saadath mami's( mother of jehan cassim) mother 3..,Pon mami 's( mother of farook nana)..mother ,4...  payshia mami's( mother of thaslim ghafoor)mother, 5  Halmami's (mother of hussain hashim) mother,  6. ayesha mami's (mother of nizer cader) mother, 7 effendi rehman..'chocolate chacha's ( father of ifthikar rehman of  usa) mother .8 and mother of my father..vadood careem..

and so it adds up and when you count...there are many many children and children's children who will belong to the 'booshel' clan.
  Trust you will follow my is NOT ONLY about careem...but about many families now in Galle and Colombo...I am sure I will trigger your interest.. So,send me your story ..