Stories From My Home – 7: Appa and Thomas the Tank Engine


We don’t always have to travel to seek stories; they are right there in our homes too. In “Stories From My Home“, I examine the many objects surrounding me at home and attempt to document and share the memories associated with them, one story at a time.


What do you want from London, Appa?

Can you get me Thomas the Tank Engine? A model, a book, anything to do with him.

I wasn’t surprised at what my Appa wanted. He was crazy about the railways, trains, engines and everything associated with them. He loved watching the animated series on Thomas the Tank Engine and I used to love watching him watch the series on TV and giggle away.

So that’s what I got for Appa when I returned from London in 2009 after a year-long stay — a small model of Thomas and a book with illustrations of all the engines and characters in the series. I got him other things too, but once he saw Thomas, nothing else mattered. The look of delight on Appa’s face when I gave it to him is something that I will never forget.

Continue reading “Stories From My Home – 7: Appa and Thomas the Tank Engine”

Stories from my home – 2: The box of coins


We don’t always have to travel to seek stories; they are right there in our homes too. In “Stories From My Home“, I examine the many objects surrounding me at home and attempt to document and share the memories associated with them, one story at a time. 


When I returned home after visiting the RBI Monetary Museum, it was to find my oldest brother there on a surprise visit from Pune.

I immediately handed him the set of Information Brochures I had purchased at the Museum and launched into an excited account of my visit there. My brother listened to me, went through the brochures and then said:

“You know, I just remembered. There used to be this box of coins at home, though I can’t recall the last time I saw them. With all the moving around we have done, it probably got lost somewhere.”

Amma, who was listening to our conversation, suddenly piped in and said, “No, it has not. The box is in one of the cartons in the kitchen loft.” This statement was enough to make us search for the box in the loft immediately. It took us a while to sort through the stuff there, but eventually we found what we were looking for — the box of coins.

It was a small plastic box, heavy with the coins it contained. It jingled tantalisingly with a metallic sound as we brought it down from the loft and opened it eagerly. Continue reading “Stories from my home – 2: The box of coins”

Appa

The mood was quite festive in the shop. It was the first day of the 10-day Ganpati festival and customers were lining up to collect their pre-booked idols to take home. They would give their names and man at the counter would check against the labels attached to the various idols and hand over the correct one with some flowers and coconut, and a loud “Ganpati Bappa Morya”.

Soon it was our turn to collect the Ganpati idol we had booked.

“Namaskar,” said the man at the counter, “What is your name?”

“Ganapathi”, said Appa (my father).

“Uncle, I asked for your name,” said the man at the counter.

“Ganapathi,” repeated Appa.

“Uncle, I know you have come to collect your Ganpati idol. I want to know the name you have booked it under,” said the man at the counter, a little impatiently now.

“That is what I have been telling you. My name is Ganapathi,” said Appa patiently.

The man at the counter looked a little stunned and then burst out laughing. “Sorry, Uncle. I have never had a Ganapathi come to collect a Ganpati idol.” He handed over our pre-booked idol with the flowers and coconut, and then came out of the counter to touch Appa’s feet and ask for his blessings.

Whenever Appa shares this incident, which happened about 10 years back, with family and friends it always brings forth lots of laughter. And during the Ganpati season, it is a much repeated story. The 2011 Ganpati season is underway now and this year too, the story will be narrated, not by Appa, but by us with a bittersweet tinge. For Appa is no longer here to narrate this incident. He passed away a month ago.

Continue reading “Appa”