It's all in the family

It's all in the family

It's all in the family

This picture was taken in 1974 at my parents’ house in Tasker Town when my cousin was leaving for the US. Most of the senior members in this family photograph are no more.

I have very fond memories of my childhood. My parents, siblings and I used to go for a picnic almost every weekend. The city was very clean in those days; there were many rivers and streams on the outskirts of Bengaluru and we used to go there for our picnics. Every place that we explored was different from the other. Sadly, the city which was known for its gardens earlier is filled with garbage now. Earlier, it was very safe to go alone anywhere. Now it is just the opposite.

We used to go to Cubbon Park early in the morning for a walk and practise yoga there. There were very few vehicles on the roads and likewise, no pollution. We had ample time to learn a variety of things — music, dance, karate, swimming, ‘rangoli’ making, cooking and table and flower arrangement. Even after engaging in these activities, there was a lot of time left. Nowadays, children do not even have time for their siblings and often don’t know what is happening in their neighbourhood.

We had and still have a Dodge Car 1947 model. My parents have travelled all over India in this car at least thrice. At present, the car is not allowed on the city’s roads because it is more than 18 feet high. But occasionally, on family gatherings, we travel in the same car in and around Hesaraghatta.

We used to get our daily share of news by listening to the radio. Entertainment mostly comprised watching dramas. Academics and education was not as hard as it is today. More importance was given to extracurricular activities like sports, swimming and cultural activities. All of us seven sisters were national champions in one or the other sports activities. I was active in athletics and long jump. I was a national level athlete and am a homemaker at present.

My mother, Sujaya Lakshmi, was a multitalented lady. She knew around 15 languages and was skilled at cooking, dancing, Carnatic music, Hindustani music, flower arrangement, painting and ‘rangoli’ making. She is no more with us. My father, V T Arasu, is a retired chief engineer. He is 89 years old and still wakes up at 4.30 am and practises yoga.

My sister Kavitha is in the USA and has two daughters. My elder sister, Gajalakshmi, is in Karnataka and has four daughters. My brother, Ganapathi, is an interior designer in the city. My fourth sister, Arundhati, is married to Air Commander V D Eshwar. She has a daughter and all of them are settled in Bengaluru.

My fifth sister, Ashwini Venkateshan, is also married and her husband and her have an estate of their own in Karnataka. My other brother, Sabapathy, is a general manager in ITP.

Some of us who are in Bengaluru make it a point to meet occasionally, especially on festivals and family functions. We reminisce about the golden days of yore, the carefree life and the old charm of the city which was full of trees, birds and clean air.

(The author can be contacted on 9876274784)