Dhaka to Ishurdi

At Dhaka Airport we were received by the brother in law of Majid Khaloo, Wajid uncle. We reached home around 10 AM. We were given breakfast. Now I don’t remember what was served, but it was ceremonial. Wajid uncle was living in a huge 2 story house. It was old style multifamily house with separate portion for several families and a separate guest area typically called “mardana” in old Indian culture. Those houses are not common in Pakistan, but sometime are shown in Bollywood Movies. I think atleast 5 families and one tennent were living in the house. House must have atleast 20 rooms.

There were 5 or 6 children in the house of our age. They were told to take us along and play. Though my fever was gone I was still hazy. We set out to go away from elders into other area. We were led to go on upper story. And there was a monkey sitting in the open space on the second floor, chained to a window.  I had seen monkeys in Zoo, but finding one as a pet was unusual. We did not get closer as we were told he is naughty. Perhaps it did not like humans for being chained to a window. The other children told us there are a lot of monkeys in the area roaming freely. And they have chained this monkey so others don’t come near, but that did not seem to work, when we came on the floor, this monkey was surrounded by 3 others who ran as soon as saw us. Next morning I found the reason why the monkey was surrounded by other monkeys. The upper story has access to the tennent’s quarters,  who were Hindu and used to bring fruit for the monkey for religious rituals, Wajid uncle family allowed them to do so, and that was an invitations to the other monkeys to visit the pet.

Soon after we came upstairs ladies of the house came upstairs too. The host lady was giving the guest a house tour. Khala brought some kind of Bakery biscuits for the host, which they have requested. I don’t remember, what they were called. They had stopped selling that kind of biscuits back in 80’s. They were thick, large size, …….. These biscuits used to be packed only in paper and got wet perhaps due to sweating after air travel. So they put the biscuits in a  tray to dry in sun. But they were all gone soon after, the monkeys came and got them.

Meanwhile father was gone to arrange for reservation and ticket for rail rides to Ishurdi. He came back around lunch time with host. They both sat talking in the room upstairs outside of which was the monkey. I was sitting with them, not knowing what they were talking. A crow came and sat on balcony. Wajid uncle picked up his gun which was sitting in the corner, and as he was about to fire, crow was gone. All that was strange for me. I did not understand, why he wanted to kill the crow. Or may be he was showing off his gun to the guest. We were served lunch in the outer portion of house. There were atleast 15 people at lunch. All males and boys used to eat in Mardana room together as family. We stayed there overnight,

Same was at dinner, I don’t recall next morning breakfast, but 2 things I remember is we were given bath. At home I used to take bath on my own, but there I was given by mother and the host lady freely came in bathroom, which was awkward for me. To her I was a kid, but to me she was a women, whom I was supposed to hide. Second sometime before lunch the eldest child in the house, perhaps a servant, came to where all the children were, and gave us Jamrul to eat. I did not like its smell and taste. May be because I never had it before. Later on during a month stay in Bengal I was offered Jamrul several time, but I did not eat, others used to laugh at me. I guess they did not understand, that I only wanted to eat, what I liked to. If it does not smell or taste good to me, I will not. Fruit is not medicine, that I have to force myself to eat.

Next afternoon after lunch, late afternoon, we went to the Train station to go to Ishurdi. I think about it now, how strange all that must be, my father 2 women and 5 children travelling as a family. We got on the train, the host came to see us off. Around midnight we reached to the end of the journey. Off course I don’t know the name of the place now. We got off the train and walked to a port, and got on board a ship. This was also very strange and new experience. Though I was told this was my second trip on a steam ship. I first travelled from Chittagong to Karachi, in a steam ship named Aronda. This is not the original Aronda used in WWI, that ship was scraped in 1932. I did not find any record of Aronda that connected, Chittagong Columbo, Karachi in Google search. But I had seen that ship in Kemari, the port of Karachi.

Coming back to the travel, we sailed on board of ship for around 2 hour and then again transferred to a train. We slept on the train but not much, when I woke up in morning, I was looking outside, It was all green, my father time to time explain what I am seeing, I only remember now trees of Banana, coconut palm, and tori palm. On a station parents bought some tea and biscuits, that was breakfast.  A fruit vendor got on board a little later, and father bought some Leeche and Banana. I have mentioned that in Banana story. About 11 we reached Ishurdi. We were loaded on several cycle rickshaws, and went to choti khala home. Fazal Khaloo at work. And Saeed khaloo who was married recently, and we had missed the wedding because of quarantine. Saeed Khaloo had left to go to her work city. Some one from home was sent to railway station to get him back. He came back and stayed with us for few days. Ammi and bari kkala did the ritual of welcoming the Brother in law, as they would have done if were there during wedding. Presented gifts and salaami, etc.

The details of the one month stay I will cover in next story

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