World War II was ramping up...but the sights and
smells of Landour remained the same.
From Chapter 6: Normality Regained:
|A five man rickshaw on the
Mall road in front of a favorite Landour rendevous.
The top could be raised for the passengers´ privacy
or protection from rain.
with the world collapsing into war and
India in the throes of throwing off foreign rule, that
I was experiencing a sense of return to normality. It must
have reflected the intensely narrow focus of my personal
universe. That would change, of course, with the onset
of Japanese hostilities and its impact on India, and the
need to plan for the future beyond graduation in 1942
only wheeled transportation was the two wheel rickshaw
operated by a team of two pullers and three pushers.
Landour nothing fundamental had changed in the past
two years. The fresh air, clear
light, the trees, the roads and footpaths, the sounds
of sparrows, mynahs, crows and hawks, of conversations
and arguments floating across the valley, the drums
and music, the gurgle of huqqas (water-cooled
tobacco pipes), animal bells and temple gongs and the
crunch of gravel under foot, all were so familiar.
There were also the smells of the bazaar, of spicy
food, charcoal smoke, country tobacco and ganja (hemp),
of the horses and mules which left the roads marked
with their pungent droppings, all evocative of a world
where I felt at home.
|Kundi basket for children
carried by a kundiwala (a porter). Victoria´s in
front and Cynthia´s behind her. (1954)
usual mode of transportation at Landour and its environs
was walking, up, down and on the level. For the very
young there was the kundi, a basket seat carried
like a backpack by a coolie (porter). The
infirm of any age used dandis (sedan chairs)
with front and rear cross-mounted support bars carried
on the shoulders of four coolies who walked in unison.
The only wheeled transportation was the two wheel
rickshaw operated by a team of two pullers and three
pushers. These rickshaws careened along the wider
roads carrying the wealthy and effete on their social
in music was disapproved of, along with my constant
searching, despite noisy atmospheric interference,
for dance band broadcasts from Batavia (Jakarta), Manila,
Saigon, London, Berlin
and, once, Cincinnati.
|A loaded mule train and driver on
the Chukkar road. The bells around the mules´ necks
made a distinctive musical sound along with the crunching
of their hooves on the gravel surface. (1953)
in India was increasingly affected by the war in Europe
the high seas. The most direct impact was on our letters.
They were taking as long as two-and-a-half months to arrive, and were subjected to the obliterations and snippings of military censors. Hungry for war news, Dad bought a short wave radio, much to my delight
but Mother's disgust. It was expensive and news from both
sides was nothing but propaganda, she said. My taste in
disapproved of, along with my constant searching, despite
noisy atmospheric interference, for dance band broadcasts
(Jakarta), Manila, Saigon, London, Berlin and, once, Cincinnati.
I was mesmerized by listening to voices and music arriving
through the night from around the world. Dad brought the
radio with him to Landour, which was hugely appreciated by
not Mother. Fran didn't express an opinion either way.
Get the whole story! Read Stan Brush's Memoir of
His Boyhood in India, "Farewell
John's letters from the States were about, among other
things, his personal struggle with the issue of pacifism, which he (and Mother)
favored. But he also was nostalgic about the mountains, and urged me to take
advantage of opportunities to hike to the places where he had been. I loved the
mountains, too, but not in the same way. The physical deprivations and discomforts
of long distance marches were a deterrent. Also, I was not an organizer.
Treks I would take if others planned them and I was invited to go. But I was
not part of any of the major school hiking partnerships.
Harbor attack 1941 and blooming romance: Chapter 7