Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Changes

    Life was chugging along happily for the young couple and their two toddlers when father got an appointment letter to join the Railway Service. It was a dream come true as my grandfather and elder uncle were already in the Railways. Living in idyllic surroundings , riding horseback was fun but rural.
The Railways offered very good service conditions ,free accomodation, passes or free travel for the family, and of course there were no train  reservation problems!
Later my parents were joined by my  grandparents,  younger  brother, elder brother and his kids. The reason behind this that all the womenfolk and kids were left at my parents place while the menfolk lived alone at their places of postings!
 India was slowly awakening to Gandhiji's call for Swaraj or Freedom from the British Rule. My      Mom described how they burnt all their fine imported silk saris and clothes in a massive bonfire when there was a clarion call for boycotting foreign goods and using only Swadeshi ones made in India.
  The Britishers exported raw material to the Mother country and later manufactured goods were imported or sold back to the Indians. No factories, manufacturing units were set-up, even a needle sold in shops was made in England.
My father and uncles ordered various items from the mail -order catalogs made for the purpose.One just paid the money and ordered a particular product which was home delivered from England. My father had ordered a revolver , cameras, a special ring which had his photograph in miniature and many other items from the catalogs. Even the toys sold in local shops were imported as nothing except wooden toys were made in our country.My Mother had beautiful crockery like dinner-sets,tea-sets, cutlery all made in England stored in a majestic wooden teak cupboard.
My brother and myself being born in free India were awed to see so many imported things at home. We were used to buying only Indian products and Made In England was very unique and exotic , England was a foreign country requiring Passports, Visas after all !
The late years saw the Quit India Movement gaining strength ,the beginning of the Second World War and many other equally important upheavals at home.

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