Missing the Times of India Mumbai Edition

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

“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.

Obits

The Times of India carries large number of obituaries every day. It devotes full one page for this purpose where bereaved people want to share with the world the loss of their dear ones. Generally, there is a photograph of the person who has gone up and then there are epitaphs some of which are simply exaggerations, but this is permitted because there are both flip and face sides to everything and everyone’s perspective is different.

Today, I saw a obituary which quotes a poem by Henry Scott Holland. It is reproduced below in Toto. It is beautiful poem exuding optimism and treating death as only a transient reality. It runs as follows:

“Death is nothing at all.

It does not count.

I have only slipped away into the next room.

Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.

I am I, and you are you, and

the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.

Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity.

What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.

One brief moment and all will be as it was before.

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”