Ever since I left Mumbai for Dehradun, I miss the Times of India and appended magazines published from Mumbai. The paper contained so many pages. First of all the main paper contained almost 35-40 pages. Then there is a Mumbai Mirror which was also more than 50 pages and smaller size was meant for carrying conveniently into the crowded trains or buses and read it to pass the long journeys to the office. Fortunately, I did not have to do the long journey so common in Mumbai for going to offices. I was addicted to the Chai time columns of the Mirror. It contained a Quick Crossword and Soduko which was the first thing I tried to complete after coming from the morning walk. Paper was delivered very early in the morning unlike here in Dehradun. The best part of the crossword and Soduko was that solution was provided in the next page. So after trying and mulling over if I could not find some word, just had a cursory look at the solution and went back to complete rest of it. Quick crossword is not very tough to crack. I am very thankful to the paper because I found that my vocabulary and capacity to find the synonyms increased appreciably and was of great use in my office work where we had to make many technical reports. I am denying the fact that my reports became somewhat verbose because I wrote them from my heart not the brain which is what is required to make such technical reports.
Now I miss the paper so badly here. In the beginning I purchased it and was pained to see a threadbare paper. Very small number of pages and magazines all missing. I stopped buying it. Mercifully, the paper is available in its printed format verbatim on the website. Most of the days, I open the paper and take a print of the crossword and Soduko and solve it sitting before the desktop.
Another column I liked was called “Sepia Memories of Bollywood” which featured very rare photographs of the cast of the movies at the launch time or in between. What is more, the expressions and dresses worn by the actors were analyzed with a keen eye. Following is one example.
“Ek Do Teen Chaar, a film that starred more than just four stars, was launched on October 3, 1970 amidst a lot of fanfare at Mehboob studios. Though the film starring Dev Anand, Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor, Rakhee, Hema Malini, Rishi Kapoor, Tina Munim, Parveen Babi and Amjad Khan, never saw the light of day, here’s a picture of the time when it was launched. Probably the only record of the film on print.
The moment captured by ace lensman Jagdish Aurangabadkar, shows the lead stars Shashi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Dev Anand with Tina Munim, Rakhee and Parveen Babi. Dev Anand’s brother, filmmaker Vijay Anand also hangs on with the stars for the photo op.
While Dharmendra seems to be lost in his own world, Vijay with an arm across Tina Munim’s (now Ambani) legs seems to be enjoying a joke off the stage. The most interesting of all the conversations on or off stage, however, is the one going on between Rakhee and Shashi Kapoor. With their eyes doing most of the talking, the actors seem to be speaking without the need of a language.
Wearing a paisley printed silk saree, Rakhee looked breathtaking and overshadowed the other ladies on stage. Little wonder that the perfect gentleman Kapoor showered all his attention on the Bengali actress who married lyricist Gulzar later.
One also can’t miss Dev Anand’s signature style. While all other men wore a normal suit and a shirt, Anand kept up with the fashion trends in a trim waistcoat and broad silk tie. Also, he is probably the only one on stage looking at the photographer if not at the photo lens.
You may have never known this film was even launched once upon a time had it not been for this only piece of memory.