Monday, June 09, 2008

On the terrace.

At 233 Khetwadi Main Road, we lived in a huge terrace flat. The terrace in front was our cricket ground. It was also where we anchored the poles of our Bush radio aerial. The tiny strip of a terrace on top of the flat was used mainly for flying fighter kites. There were many more uses to which the terrace abutting the flat was put. Like drying stuff: home-made papad, just roasted seasamum seed before making the til ladoos, drying red chilli before grinding it on the hand-powered grinding stone, making sun-dried pickles, you name it. As for me, I used to sail paper boats in the rain water streams that flowed all over it. I also used to park and drive my pedal powered cars and scooters there the year round. I don't remember ever riding a tricycle up there, though. I did have a rather natty light blue topless car with a dark blue trim all around it. After having weathered two or three monsoons, it acquired several rust spots all over it. Though I cannot swear on it, I have a feeling that the first car was replaced by a red roofless one. I remember being pushed around in my car as well as furiously pedalling it in all around the terrace, eyes screwed up in concentration. After the pedal cars, I also owned a couple of scooters. The scooter was a rectangular platform with a wheel at each end and a handle attached to the turnable front wheel. You planted your left foot on the platform, gripped the handle with both hands and propelled yourself around with your right foot. I used to play-act a script with some sort of a super-powered, caped character in it. The scooter played the supporting role of my super-fast vehicle. When I was 12, a Middle Eastern friend of my father's, Mr Kazrani I think his name was, gifted me with a sleek green Clyde semi-racer bicycle complete with wire breaks and a dynamo-powered head lamp. I learned to ride it on our terrace. Later on, after adding gears to it, I used to ride it on the Marine Drive and even take it up to the Hanging Gardens in the summer holidays. I learned to drive after age 18 on the second family car: a red Renault 4CV.