Monday, July 21, 2008

Travellin by sea on a French Liner from Kobe to Bombay

My dad's tenure at the Indian Consulate, Kobe, ended in mid-Septermber 1966 and we got onto a French Liner to come back to India (my dad and his colleagues of course called it Headquarters). That was one of the most memorable moments of my childhood. The voyage on the liner was just mindblowing.....the liner had several levels, economy class, luxury class, 2 swimming pools, a game and reading room, on each level, deck chairs everywhere.....fussball which me and my dad would play often. My own Titanic experience. Fancy dining hall.....huge....with gourmet French cuisine. Of course, me and my baby brother had the soup, pasta and some pieces of chicken and fish most of the time. I made friends with a Japanese team of table tennis players who were coming to Bombay.They were good at origami and made me at least 6-7 dozen cranes of all colors. I was so overwhelmed with their gift. We got along well since I spoke fluent Japanese those days and I spent lot of time with them when I was not at the pool or playing on the deck.....
We stopped at several ports...Manila, Hongkong, Singapore, Bangkok and Colombo before reaching Bombay.
Hongkong was scary with its tall buildings, since I had spent the last three years in a quiet neighbourhood of double storey houses with tiles roofs. Manila I dont recall too much except for the heat and humidity . Singapore...... it was raining all night....and we did not get a chance to visit an sites and instead went to meet a Bengali family , friends of m parents.
Bangkok was a great experience ....I loved the floating markets....and the food.....
Colombo too was pleasant.
After Colombo the sea got rough as it was the tail end of the monsoon season. The huge liner started rolling and we were all forced to stay indoors. In fact, the dining hall had to close since everthing was falling off the plates and bowls....which were clamped to the table. My mom got seasick...but I was all over the corridors.....visiting my Japanese friends in their cabins.
When we finally reached Bombay , we stayed at a quaint hotel on Marine Drive...with huge rooms, high ceilings, very wide stairecases.....lovely building....constructed in the thirties or forties.

So began my first memories of India....
I had left at the age of four and had no recollection at all except one vague memory of my grandma giving me a bath in Calcutta....have posted one on Vietnam..

14 comments:

DhiRAj SinGh said...

U raving polyglot... u spoke Japanese too!!!

Indrani pushilal said...

I spoke and also thought and dreamt in Japanese.....

Nikhilesh said...

I love the way you put in the words. I can almost imagine what you saw and felt. Keep going. I am fascinated and want to know more.

Nikhil

missionadvntr said...

Beautiful experience! I enjoyed your story. When do you plan to come to Portland? My home is two hours from Portland. I am a Brazilagonian: Brazilian and Oregonian (above California) and speak three languages fluently.

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SunshineSue said...

Lovely story.......interesting to know how life unfolds and brings you to new destinations. Waiting to hear about the railroad experience......sounds like an interesting adventure....keep on writing :)

Abdullah said...

Very interesting. I ejoyed my visit to your blog a lot.

Vijay said...

My father had restaurants in Mumbai, but my favourite one was the one opposite Princess Dock. I would dream of becoming a sailor...
Though I never became one... Even later (as I grew up) I'd fantasise of such a life (specially after reading Somerset Maughm's books)...

J.Y.K. said...

engrossing Indeed ! keep writing more.

Expressions said...

Very nice stroy!

Expressions said...

Very nice stroy!

Arup Chanda said...

Good reading.

Arup Chanda said...

Good reading.

Mahendra Padte said...

This is not just the blog, but emotions in words that portrays the nostalgia. 🥰