Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Things I Did For Mrs Davey

Mrs Davey's double
Totally Anglo and quite non-Indian by the looks, Mrs Mary Davey was my Anglo-Indian class-teacher in section-B of class four at school. As of this writing, only two out of seven members of her family are alive. Luckily I was able to obtain important details about Mrs Davey’s family from her eldest daughter, Noreen, popularly known as Papu.

Mrs Davey’s parents belonged to an affluent Armenian Jewish family of Rangoon, Burma (currently Yangon, Myanmar). On the ground floor of the third block on Lahore’s famous lane 3 of Temple Road, my teacher lived as our next doors neighbour with her husband, two daughters (Noreen and Daphne) and three sons (Clayton, Adrian and Llewellyn). The inhabitants of Temple Road were jokingly called Roads Scholars.

Mrs Davey’s sons and most boys within the radius of many miles—including yours truly—studied at the English-medium all-boys St. Anthony’s High School. Other noteworthy schools in Lahore were Cathedral and the Aitchison College. The former was nicknamed ‘kaddu’ or pumpkin school for reasons beyond comprehension while the latter attempted to educate the sons of horse-trading tent-pegging elites. The rest of the lads fell into the cracks of Centre Model or Don Bosco schools. Although the first choice for the fair sex was the Convent of Jesus and Mary, other likeable institutions were Queen Mary’s, Cathedral, Sacred Heart and Esena Foundation.

The stocky Mrs Davey of St. Anthony’s walked with considerable effort and was thus instantly identifiable even from great distances. Fair-skinned, sporting short hair, with a front tooth or two missing; these were the physical attributes that made Mrs Davey appear jovial even when she angrily foamed at the mouth. She always wore sleeveless dresses which exposed her fleshy arms to us skinny brown children w-ho felt intimidated by the superiority associated with white power.

My mother, herself tall and fair, made the Daveys feel so right at home that when the couple indulged in shouting matching, the poor husband dressed in cotton trousers and singlet (spaghetti straps), headed straight to my father’s home-office to mumble, “Woh pagal aurat phir hum say jhajra karta (that mad woman is again fighting with me)”. The husband was never taken seriously because he would not give up the bottle, and Mrs Davey could not keep her sentiments bottled up. And my father, being an advocate at both the High and the Supreme courts, thought their entire case was like a message in a bottle worth tossing back into the sea.
Direct from the Shimla Pahari

Up In Smoke

Mrs Davey’s husband, Clarence, was a lean bald man who worked at the USIS (United States Information Service or the ‘Umrikan Santer’) located inside the Bank Square on the Mall Road of Lahore. His father, a Catholic Welshman, worked for the telegraph office in India. In 1944, somewhere in that incredible country, Clarence met Mary and the new family decided to move to the Land of the Five Rivers: Punjab.

To us children Clarence Davey always appeared to be loosely hanging about the house reading voraciously and smoking ceaselessly. As fate would have it, while simultaneously smoking and reading Ernest Hemingway’s classic For Whom the Bell Tolls, he tucked himself snugly in bed and fell asleep mumbling, “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”.

Fire, being nobody’s friend, soon filled the Daveys’ house with thick smoke that lazy winter afternoon. And quickly the fire engines of Shimla Pahari, their tolling bells not half as musical as those of St. Anthony’s church, appeared at the burning Davey doorstep. Someone promptly alerted Mrs Davey at the school. By the time she arrived at the scene, the fire engines had already given the house the wash it richly deserved. The old furniture, the dusty carpet, a coughing Clarence Davey and his panting dog, all got a free bath. Television had yet to make its appearance in Pakistan but Clsdarence Davey’s negligence produced the greatest live show the neighbourhood had ever seen up to that point.

In his private moments, Clarence Davey always spoke about ‘going back home’ which, without any doubt, referred to setting sail for ole’ England. But in 1966, at age fifty-two and before being able to transport the entire family back, he sailed for his final abode.

What’s Cooking?

The first thing I experienced upon becoming Mrs Davey’s pupil was her showering generous amounts of affection by assigning me a location in the classroom that enabled her to keep a special eye on this boy who lived next doors. I do not recall her ever hitting the pupils—corporeal punishment had not yet descended upon us—but she loved labelling every careless student ‘blooming good-for-nothing fella’. In those days we knew absolutely nothing about expensive branded apparel, hence, hearing a class-fellow being branded ‘blooming’ always produced smiles that were impossible to hide behind our little palms. I generally steered clear of trouble by doing pretty much what was required at school but the less fortunate who approached Mrs Davey’s desk with incomplete assignments had their copybooks flung on the floor and from where they slid magically into the wide corridor as if carried upon invisible wheels. One morning when half the class was resting heads down, I was summoned by a smiling Mrs Davey.

“Haaa—haaa— ”, she exhaled over her prescription glasses, wiped them clean with a handkerchief and snapped, “Come closer, will you? I won’t bite you!”

I moved forward until I could smell her Indian Englishness.

Knowledge with Virtue
“Aaj mummy nay kya paka (what has mummy cooked today)?” she questioned.

I held on to my shorts—knickers, as they were called—as I imagined they were suddenly being pulled down by an invisible Jinn. Utterly ill-prepared was I to instantly and correctly answer her question because it involved knowing our kitchen’s geography and mother’s cooking history. But recalling what mother cooked most often, I replied shyly, “Aalu-gosht!”

I must confess that as a young boy I barely showed any appreciation for the subtle variations of aalu (potato) and gosht (mutton) which mother frequently cooked in a humble smoke-filled kitchen. If I felt disinterested in the menu—a frequent occurrence—I simply walked up to Regal chowk to feast on eatables that the street offered and which mother expressly forbade me from eating, namely: spicy dahi bara, hot samosas, or sizzling aalu ki tikia (potato cutlets). Since McDonalds—worthless plastic food—had not yet appeared on the scene to destroy youthful innards, I had blind faith in the nutritional value of my rebel’s menu whereas mother believed it had great nuisance value.

Mrs Davey did not look particularly happy with my aalu-gosht revelation. For her Jewish- Armenian-Burmese palate some ‘blooming’ potatoes and chunks of mutton floating about in a broth probably did not produce the same mouth-watering effect as say chicken biryani or a roasted leg of lamb. But then pretending to love aalu-gosht she whispered in my ear, “Mummy ko bolo, thora sa hum ko bhejna (ask your mother to send me some)”.

The classmates seated nearby only heard a garbled version of her aalu-gosht request and later asked me during recess what Mrs Davey meant by hollow ghost.

I was to discover very early in life that I was blessed with aalupathic abilities if not telepathic ones. Upon reaching home, I whispered Mrs Davey’s secret demand into mother’s ear and found that that was precisely what she had cooked. With plenty of aalu-gosht about the house, mother dished out a generous portion for me to deliver with full protocol at my teacher’s doorstep.

Mrs Davey was thrilled to be on the receiving end, smelled the dish deeply and said, “Mummy ko thank you bolna (convey my thanks to your mother)”.

The next morning at school, thanks to mother’s cookery and generosity, I became the apple—or perhaps an aalu—of Mrs Davey’s eyes. Some times in the middle of teaching at the blackboard, she would turn to look at me and smile. I quickly learned to smile back. At least once a week, she would ask, “What’s cooking?”, and upon hearing an appetizing reply, utter with a twinkle in her eyes, “Lovely!”

This short dialogue dramatically improved my spoken English, and since I imagined that my scholastic future in class four depended on what I was able to deliver at Mrs Davey’s doorstep, I made it my business to know each morning what mother planned to cook. Mother might have been secretly thankful to Mrs Davey for it was because of her that a son had begun to enquire about home-cooked food, and that perhaps one day he would eat at home instead of lick his fingers in public at the food stalls of Regal chowk.

One afternoon, when I home-delivered aromatic mutton stew at Mrs Davey’s she became as ecstatic as a whirling dervish and requested, “Mummy say bolothora aur bhej do. Sath mein chaar tandoor bhi lana (Ask your mother to send some more. And bring along four rotis as well)”.

On the double, I relayed the message back to mother’s headquarters—the kitchen—where I found her facing the stove slapping away rotis in the oppressive heat. Unpleased to the core she retorted, “Cook ME and then dish ME out to that moti mame!”

The Urdu word mame, since British colonial times, has been used exclusively to refer to fair English ladies; from this emerged the honorific title mame sahib. But the pet-name, moti mame, meant fat lady. It was not my mother who bestowed the title upon Mrs Davey but rather her eldest son, Clayton. He was a skinny sharp-featured rebellious young man who refused to walk with his mother on the same side of the road as he felt his skeleton contrasted sharply with a huge motherly frame. He teased his mother by calling her names, and moti mame was a nickname that became more known than Mrs Davey own name.

You are my candy girl...
Sugar, Sugar (as performed by the Archies)

Mrs Davey was in the habit of having Pakistani tea in English style. Before noon each day she would command her favourite errand-boy, “Naseemullah, my boy, run to the tuck-shop and tell that Mushtaq fella to bring for me half a set of tea”.

When I heard the term ‘half a set’ for the first time I thought she ordered tea for the well-behaved half of the class but when Gul Khan, the tea-bearing Jinn, appeared with a small tin tray I knew she meant tea just for one. None thought it odd that our teacher consumed tea in class. But what I found strange was this: at the end of her lonely tea party, Mrs Davey opened her cupboard, unscrewed a small glass jar and emptied the sugar-pot into it. I was able to see a pattern: on Monday the jar would be empty, by Saturday quite full, and then empty again on Monday. All that sugar was certainly going somewhere and Mushtaq, the tuck-shop owner, appeared to be the sweet loser in the battle.

Sugar was a hard commodity to find in those days hence, Mrs Davey did not steal sugar but rather practised the same ‘doctrine of necessity’ that every military dictator (Mil-Dic) from our history has practised. For this story we need only look at General Ayub Khan, Pakistan’s first Mil-Dic and martial law administrator (Mal-Admi). Having grown up in the ancestral fields of Rehana, he conferred upon his self the medieval grand title of Field Marshall, meaning, keeper of the king’s horses. But the public, always quick to respond, nicknamed him cheeni-chor (sugar thief) because his unelected government issued ration cards to the populace and increased the price of sugar from eight Annas (half a Rupee) to ten Annas per seer (approximately a kilogram).

Ayub, who considered himself and his colleagues superior to ‘corrupt politicians’, went on to debase democracy to the most ‘basic’ level, held a dubious national referendum, and boasted such enviable connections with Uncle SCAM that he was able to win the Presidential race against Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, the sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah (founding father of Pakistan). State propaganda was able to convince the voters that Ayub’s election symbol (rose) had the ability to grow if it rained but that of the Mohtarma (lantern) was doomed to be snuffed out.

Suffice to say, the long and painful history of foreign invasions and martial usurpations of ‘bloody’ civilian’ rules in this entire region makes Mrs Davey’s sugary naughtiness pale into such insignificance that it must be posthumously hailed as a brave attempt to conserve a scarce national resource: sugar.

Going Cuckoo
One flew over the cuckoo's nest

Returning to the story, all the three-storeyed flats in lane 3 on Temple Road had similar facades; they were built by a rich Hindu landlord prior to the genocidal Made-in-England partition of India in 1947. Right after entering into any of these flats, one landed in a living room with a 16-foot high ceiling, complete with two roshan-daans (ventilators). And it was always in the living room where Mrs Davey gave me private tuition of a quality so fine it convinced my well-read father I could spank the British in English language.

My huge female Buddha-like teacher always sat on an upholstered sofa, and behind her on the wall hung something that truly fascinated me: a German cuckoo clock complete with sadomasochistic chains and levers. The marginally accurate contraption sometimes upset Mrs Davey by cuckooing at the wrong moments—chiefly those during which she snoozed. Because it was the only time-keeper around, she never was able to smash it despite frequently swearing that she would. Instead, she would have me pull various levers that dangled below the ‘blooming thing’ and which achieved three miracles: the tic-toking restarted, the dead cuckoo arose from the grave, and the Earth resumed spinning on its tilted axis. The resurrected cuckoo’s soft cuckooing never failed to make my teacher happily sink back into the sofa for one more quick nap, and to deliver most of those English lectures while snoring sonorously. And while the fat cat slept, I sat quiet as a mouse, wondering how the cuckoo was able to live in a tiny wooden flat that was housed inside yet another flat on the greatest road of them all: Temple Road.

Snow White and the Dwarf

What deeply worried my school teacher was this: she was beginning to get old while I grew younger by the day. Since I had become proficient at raising dead clocks, Mrs Davey cultivated one more hair-raising talent in me in order to reverse her aging process. Before imparting linguistic secrets in English, she would first have me take care of the cuckoo-clock and then stand me in the rear to hunt down all the white hairs I could find in her Armenian-Burmese-Jewish scalp. I turned white with fear doing that for the first time as I thought it might make her bleed to death right there on the sofa, and that a policeman from Mozang thana might handcuff me for stealing her precious silver hairs. But no such tragedy befell when I gave a long white hair my first vicious pull.

“Come on man, show that blooming thing to me!” she thundered for the evidence.
She loved using the word blooming. I produced the white proof and she threw the blooming thing on the carpet where her sleepy dog too saw it fall. And so, like many other things in life, I soon became adept at sustaining a younger look for my aging class-teacher. I might have been her best kept secret because had she mentioned me to other aging ladies of the locality, they might have whisked me away to do the same chore for them for free. And so the home-deliveries, the private tuition, the clock winding, and the pulling of white hairs continued as if I were marked to become the sugar-lady’s man-servant. Of course, my parents never discovered all the chores I performed for Mrs Davey.
McPig (with French flies) anyone?

Forbidden Food

Then one day Mrs Davey asked me to eat a little something at her house—very unusual considering it was mostly our food that frequently graced her dining table. What I got was a portion of a thin slice, pink in colour, and meaty in taste. When I swallowed it, my teacher smiled with an approving nod and sent me home early. And when I described for my mother what I was given to eat she shouted aloud, “Oh Allahmoti mame nay tumhein soowar ka gosht khila dia (Oh God, the fat lady fed you with swine flesh)!”

I suddenly felt Christian, then Jewish, and finally Armenian. Mother’s good neighbourliness and patience suddenly vaporized and she tried to re-convert me to being Muslim by inserting her fore-finger deep into my throat. The trick failed; I was unable to vomit the forbidden meat. It took until the next morning to flush out from my system the animal declared by the Lord as ‘unclean’.

Had this incident taken place in today’s utterly intolerant climate, the entire household of Mrs Davey might not have survived the blitzkrieg of the Bearded Brigade. I do not recall seeing mother confront Mrs Davey with rolled up sleeves but soon afterwards my visits to her house were put to an abrupt end. We never found out how pork, which was not sold in Pakistan, ended up in my teacher’s possession. All I was told was that Muslims, Christians and Jews were all strictly forbidden to consume it, and that Mrs Davey had done to her student something totally uncalled for. Suddenly, I was back to being just another boy in her class who stayed away from her house, her clock and her silvery hairs.

Prime Sinisters
You too, Nehru?

During the Indo-Pak war of 1965, Mrs Davey’s sons picked up a stray dog for a pet. Considering the officially-induced hatred Pakistanis displayed for Indians during that tense period and the Indian origins of the Davey family, the animal was named Nehru after India’s first Prime Minister. Then another son of the Temple Road soil, Ajji, picked up yet another dog and promptly named him after India’s second Prime Minister, Shastri.

While the ‘spiritless’ Indian army knocked at the gates of Lahore and risked being converted en-masse to Islam, and as our high-spirited soldiers dreamed of hoisting the star-and-crescent flag atop Delhi’s Red Fort, the boys at 3 Temple Road vented out their emotions on the poor dogs by garlanding them with old shoes and chanting, “Nehru kutta hai, hai. Shastri kutta hai, hai (down with Nehru the dog. Down with Shastri the dog)”.

Nehru was deeply touched by all those leathery medals and being smarter than Shastri, soon befriended a bitch-at-large befittingly named Edwina; the pack of ogling dogs were happily named Mountbatten 1, 2, 3 etcetera. Much later into adulthood I read about the alleged love-triangle of Indian history in which Lord Mountbatten did not mind very much if Jawaharlal Nehru addressed  Edwina as jaan (life) instead of the more appropriate bhabi jaan (dearest sister-in-law).

With or without Edwina jaan by his side, our own prime sinister Nehru roamed wherever he liked, ate whatever one fed him and slept like a log at the oddest spots. The Daveys owned him but he was the dog next doors, the dog that fully had his day, and everybody’s dog without a worthy pedigree. Although a depressing atmosphere of suspicion hung in the air during the 1965 war days, the intelligence agencies were able to clearly tell that Nehru and Shastri were not Indian agents. And we all saw Nehru bare the teeth and viciously scratch the ground when someone asked, “Nehru, do you wish to die fighting for your country?”

Nehru virtually dying for Edwina 'bhabi jaan'
An old gent who stood watching remarked, “Since Nehru has displayed anger over being asked this question; he is a foreign agent in dog’s clothing.”

A naked faqir laughingly remarked, "He is indeed on your side, and he will die fighting long and hard if you promise him a bit of coloured ribbon".

Later in life I found out that the naked faqir, wiser than many fully clothed onlookers, had actually quoted Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte on the subject.

Now that my hairs are greying I am inclined to agree with the naked faqir. Today one can see loan-defaulting politicians working hand-in-glove with conniving bureaucrats, businessmen with armed guards, trained at our expense ‘security personnel’ taking over businesses, and small bands of ‘al-CIAda’ extremists spreading themselves thin over this Land of the Pure.

Thinking about our own canine Nehru I wonder what the deceased could have achieved by merely barking in defence of Pakistan at the Canine United Nations. He was a creature of habit that always bravely barked up the right trees under which no other dog even dared to relieve himself. True, Nehru loved chasing after Chevrolet Impalas yet never bit any living thing half Edwina’s size. I do not know where they buried brave Nehru who warded off strangers and stray dogs that ventured into our neighbourhood. I would like to imagine he is licking his paws in dog-heaven.

In 1978, another Mil-Dic named CIA-ul-Haq descended upon the nation to teach her democracy and to stamp on human faces a boot for almost forever. Ever since his mango-flavoured departure on an American-built intergalactic spaceship that boldly went to a place where many Mil-Dics had gone before, luck has favoured militants who would rather blow themselves up wearing suicide dinner jackets than enter barbershops in Pakistan for very close shaves.

And so in 1977, unable to stand one more Mil-Dic, Mrs Davey, age fifty-nine, passed away and joined Clarence Davey to become a teacher in God’s divine no-medium school. I imagine the heavenly tea-bearers are busy fetching her half-sets of tea, that there are mountains of white sugar at her disposal, all kinds of curries and permitted roasted meats present themselves the moment she thinks of them, her cuckoo clock tolls louder than the Big Ben of London, and that all of Mrs Davey’s silver hairs are now transformed into tresses of 24-Karat gold.

Dedication
I dedicate this real-life story to the memory of my 'class one' class-fellow, Akhlaq Ahmed, who passed away after protracted illness on 18 November 2013. I lowered his body with my own hands into the grave but he can still be seen in that class one' group photo I have. Of course, he will live in my memory as long as I live.

©Tahir Gul Hasan, 2014

References and grateful acknowledgements:
  1. The first in the 'nostalgia series' of articles dealing with my childhood is The Amazing T-Pad
  2. Unless you can genuinely proove otherwise, I coined the terms aalupathicUncle SCAMal-CIAda, Mil-Dic and Mal-AdmiCIA-ul-Haq, and dog-heaven. Please give me credit when you use them.
  3. Twenty-five killed in plane crash (making Ayub Khan the winner in the C-in-C lucky draw of the Pakistan Army) 
  4. The Field Marshall From Beyond The Grave
  5.  America welcomes President Ayub1961
  6. Medieval jurist Henry de Bracton’s  Doctrine of necessityThat which is otherwise not lawful is made lawful by necessity”. And Roman law maxim urged by Ivor Jennings: “The well-being of the people is the supreme law.”
  7. I have no idea where the images of Mrs Davey's look-alike, the fire-engine and the St. Anthonys' logo came from. But thanks anyway.
  8. Sugar-pot photo
  9. German cuckoo clock photo
  10. Pig photo
  11. Angry dog photo
  12. Henri Cartier-Bresson: photo of Lord Mountbatten, Edwina and Jawaharlal Nehru

32 comments:

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this - from the appreciation of our Intel Agencies regarding the clarification of Nehru's origin to the comparisons between moti maim and our dictators. I was hoping you would extrapolate her version of political governance from everything you know about her...she would make a pretty good P.M for a country like ours.

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  2. “Oh Allah, moti mame nay tumhein soowar ka gosht khila dia"....Hilarious!!!!

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  3. HaHaHa @ “Cook ME and then dish ME out to that moti mame!”

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  4. I loved this story! So well written, I can visualize the whole scene. You came out of your writer's block spectacularly!!!
    -Nasira

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  5. Mrs. Davey! Saw a "lot" of her, but never knew which class she taught, and always wondered where this "gori mame" had come from. She was after all more "gora" than others of the Anglo-Indian community. Attending to her coiffure is a first indeed.

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  6. Tahir after reading this artical, I was 'energised' (Star Trek) back to the good old school days. I remember many mems (moti & slim), Gora & kala sahibs as well. ' Soovar ' is still not easily available in the land of the pure (except in the corridors of power. ..Islamabad, where they roam about freely). Ms. Davey must have given you roast beef, which in those days not many people knew about, and it was available only at one or two bakeries of Lahore. Please do write about Mushtaq's tuck shop (samosas, pineapple candy, small bottle of Coke etc). Taj Din 'lattu walla'. Keema roll wala at Regal, where half the school went for the 25 paisa cuisine. Nostalgic! !!

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  7. Ladies and gentemen (some of you anonymous):

    I'll reply to all of you just as a gentleman would--one by one. Thanks very much for being here and appreciating what's truly in-between-the-lines or what only a dyed-hard Anthonian would understand.

    FEHMEEN:
    I had to edit out what the 'MM' (moti mame') said or might have said about the Mil-Dics and Mal-Admis. I hope you will add these two original words to your dic-shun-awry. I'm glad you 'thoroughly enjoyed' what I did too.

    NASIRA:
    Your presence here is appreciated. In another space you wrote:
    "I absolutely loved that story. You were so descriptive and it was so well written, I could see the scenes playing out in front of me. It felt like dejavu instead of a story. You came out of that writer's block phase spectacularly!!!"

    Nasira! How could you drown me in such profuse compliments? You've done it well and need to keep doing it here. The whole story runs like a movie in my brain. You can't imagine the amount of editing that went into it, hence the pseudo writer's block.

    AAMER (paiyan):
    I always thought the Farangees (derived from Frenchies) pronounced coiffure as KOI-EFF-YOU-RAY whereas its actually 'kwah-fyoor'. Don't do this to me in my aunt's language. Now, pass me the hair colour.

    ASAD:
    Is that you 'little' Trekkie? Do you know Aamer 'doc' Iqbal from ole' St. Anths who also commented on this article?

    Thanks for making a star appearance here. Immediately become a member of my site and pass on the link to other 'boys' on an urgent basis. They don't know what they're missing, especially the piece about Madam Shama: "The Amazing T-Pad".

    I know what roast beef from Tollinton Market looked like; the stuff I was fed was 'different'. I'll definitely write about the things and events you and others have mentioned. Watch this space for more wisdom-dressed-as-lunacy.

    I actually only smelled the 25-Paisa qeema-roll and never tasted it. Poor deprived me!

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  8. Beautifully written! I thoroughly enjoyed the hilarious dialogues. "he felt his skeleton contrasted sharply with a huge motherly frame" I was laughing out loud to descriptions like these.

    The story caught my attention and held it till the end when poor Mrs Davey dies. Loved it.

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  9. Excellent ! Tahir, really transported me back o the good old days.
    I remember the Temple Road flats, I often used to go to Michael Silvera and Larry Niblett's flats there albeit much later in the mid '70's. I was in section A and was taught my madam Cornelius in grade 4 so missed out Mrs.Davey though I remember her vividly.... Thank you for the treat ! Keep it coming...
    Noeman Shirazi

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  10. Such an amazing one. Haven't ever enjoyed reading a blog with such interest before. Gives out a crystal clear picture of how school days used to be for our parents. Wish we could share the same memories with the generations to come.

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  11. Wow ! An inspiring, interesting and exclusive article. You've got style.
    As said earlier ; Tahir Ka Hai Andaze Bayan Aur.

    Every time you come up with unique and humorous topics, one really gets engrossed in reading. I thoroughly enjoyed it too. It brings a lot of memories of good old school days . The description of Anglo-Indian community and how the whole story folds. Excellent !

    Your blog is always full of science-frictional socio-political satire with fire.
    I take my hats off for your well written and stirring article .
    Happy writing :)
    Laila.

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  12. Do people remember madam (s) D'Silva, Fraser, Bukhash, 'Choosi' and of course everybody remembers Shama O'Tarid. Sir Motiram, Fardy, Dudes Mont, Lewis, Gandhi, Maulvi Munnawaruddin, Iqbal, Naveed Omer. Brothers Keely, Golden, Breen...???

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  13. Byce & gurls (this is how some would pronounce the words), thanks yet again for commenting. I always answer my fan-mail on first-come-first-served basis.

    AVID
    Thanks for commenting. All good things must come to an end, just like Mrs Davey. I think she was quite sensible despite being labelled 'pagal aurat' by her husband.

    NOE-MAN
    Yes, this here is the 'transporter'!
    What's up man? You took "7.2" years to interact on my blog! Of course, live interaction is always better for which YOU need to carve out time.
    I met with Micky in Frisco years ago (every event seems 'years ago. I haven't seen Larry and his lovely wife Cheryl since long.
    Madam Cornelius was good but Mrs Davey was the best. If you think your teacher was better than mine then sir, let me see you write a better piece than the one printed here. Shooting yourself in the foot in the process will not be considered a genuine excuse for being unable to write.
    Yes, more is coming your way, buddy.

    MINA
    BLOG? You may call it a yubb-site but not a 'blog'.
    Anyway, thanks for commenting. You're right; we parents had much more fun than you kiddos can possibly imagine. Back then, things were not at all phone-and-TV centred. As a starting point, read this 'blog' to your children if you have them. The flame must be kept burning.

    LAILA (NANNIMUS)
    Didn't that 'adaaz-e-bayan' belong to old Uncle Ghalib? But if you insist... (and I insist that you insist).
    I hope I lit up the right fires and blew off your bonnet in the process.

    ASAD
    Yaar, you'd be surprized to learn that people having lost so much grey matter still remember the 'sixers' and 'benders' of those—sadomasochistic, shall we say—teachers. But that's a topic we shall touch upon sooner rather than later. Stayed tuned, bro.

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  14. More fan-mail (sent through devious electronic means) answered.

    M UMAIR
    Sounds interesting, will be reading it tomorrow during break between classes :)
    Regards
    MY REPLY: Thanks!

    MIAN IMRAN NAZIR
    Beautifully depicted the old memories god bless u my dear Tahir.
    MY REPLY: Thanks and may God bless you too, sir.

    WAQAR MALIK
    Loved it; nostalgic and a treat to read it. What's up at your end?
    Best regards
    MY REPLY: Shame on you; Noe-Man made an 'appearance' here. Now haul over your hind quarters this instance!

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  15. Additional comments...

    WAQAR HASAN RIZVI (Temple Road fame)
    Tahir. You are quite a story teller. You have a great full time job after you retire. I wrote my comments and I'm not sure if they were published.
    (Sent from Vic's iPhone)
    MY REPLY: Buddy, you're much too kind. Don't worry about your computer illiteracy (inability to post comments here); I'll keep that a secret. But do stay tuned for more.

    M. KALIM AHMAD
    Dear Tahir,
    You have written a very good article .I liked it very much.
    We are all fine here.
    Regards,
    Your friend,
    Muhammad Kalim Ahmad
    MY REPLY: Thanks old buddy. Stay well wherever you are.

    RIMMEL KHAN
    Hey it’s a blast here, COLD and a BLAST. Love your stuff, it’s just simply great. Listen , we are launching a Tabloid here in Canada and later in the states, I think I mentioned it before.
    Anyways, want your blog as a ADDY.
    Re-print your work and have credits and links to your blog. We will be starting with 10,000 copies.
    I have been forwarding your write-ups to all, and we all love it here.
    As you can see I am a big fan of yours. I loved the T Pad one too.
    Cheers
    Kooki
    MY REPLY: You know you're a blast from my past! All I can say is thank you for reading and chuckling in that frozen hell. You know how much we enjoy each other's company.
    Anyhow, your offer sounds warm; I need to consult with my lawyer and literary agent as there's something going on over HERE as well. I haven't been sitting on my hands, you know!
    Warm regards to the family.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Interesting, nostalgic and funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sounds like a very professional review. Thanks.

      Delete
  17. Sir, you've truly spanked the British using only their own language! Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  18. MIAN MUNEER-UD-DIN ('meeru')
    Very good and nostalgic … but very long !

    MY REPLY: Thanks. What did you expect, an SMS-length article?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi TGH,

    This was really very good.

    Now when can u do us one on Mam Shama Utarid ? I am certain there are many here who would love your eloquent narrative of encounters with her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Meeru buddy. You look so proper in that picture; a real Kakakhel.
      I hope you noticed the dedication to Akhlaq 'Akla' Ahmed who passed away recently.
      I can't believe you've been such a Rip Van Winkle! Man, I penned this piece AFTER paying homage to ma'am Shama. Scroll down the front page and read THE AMAZING T-PAD.
      I await your comments. Take care then.

      Delete
  20. Aurangzeb Khan February 19, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    So the secret of your scholastic well being lies in serving the Moti Mames of St. Anthony's. By the way, in the photo, Lard Mountbatten doesn't look quite amused to death at Pandit's obvious monkey business with the lady...!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TGH February 19, 2014 at 8:21 AM
      Forget my secrets, Aurangzeb. Did you or did you not like what I wrote? Did laughter rid you of constipation?
      You may go ahead and research the Lord's preferences while he was in HINDia.

      Delete
  21. Ghafoor Manan, March 3, 2014 at 4:01 AM
    Sorry ,forgot mentioning Taha Mahmood ,who I also got to meet briefly after 40 incredible years.He is also alhamdollilah doing well for himself.
    Ghafoor

    ReplyDelete
  22. zarina ahmed, March 5, 2014 at 11:10 AM
    Thank you for doing the needful. It was the right move to remove such comments. One should be careful while giving their comments in your blog.
    TC- Your well wisher.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Majumdar, March 12, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    Hi,
    This is your old friend and admirer Majumdar aka Maj from chowk. Howdy? and remember me?
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TGH, March 12, 2014 at 5:26 AM

      'Majumdar', 'Maj', 'Chowk', 'old friend', 'admirer'?
      That's too many descriptives! Ever since a certain-out-of-control vehicle collided with my tank, my memory has not been quite what it once was. Perhaps of you showed me old letters or a momento, I might remember all what you have mentioned.
      Regards.

      Delete
  24. Majumdar, March 14, 2014 at 8:48 AM
    Tahir mian,

    I am not at all surprised that you do not remember this nacheez, I was too small an interactor. But like everyone I lapped up your stuff, your jibes at chowq, El Ciada, potshots at hanuds, yahuds and mirzais and all that. Dear Masadi sb directed me to your wbesite and as I can see it is thought provoking as ever.
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TGH, March 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Oh yes! My MAMMARY just returned! How have you been all these years, MAJ? It's just too bad you missed my filmi-collision joke in the previous comment. It's true, I forget nothing. Anyway, I appreciate your profuse appreciation.
      Since Chowk self-destructed (as desired and predicted by this 'nacheez'), I haven't a clue where the ladies and the male bouncers went. Probably they all ended up marrying one another.
      I'm into other better things now and this space gives me great happiness. If you enjoyed in the past things I wrote then you'll enjoy this space much more.
      Please convey my thanks to Asadi for bringing you here. So join this site using your Gmail or Yahoo account.
      Keep reading and stay blessed wherever you are (in 'The India', I presume?).

      Delete
  25. Your article on Madam Davy is stunning !!!.You are absolutely fantastic.The details are unbelievable.
    Allah has endowed you with an incredible Rolls Royce brain. Can you copy & paste some of my comments on your website?
    Love & Regards
    Ghafoor

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm almost certain you've described my mother here. I have read nothing about your father yet.... -Mermaid

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree, the Father and the Holy Ghost are missing from my articles.

    ReplyDelete