Some memories of travels of days gone by – 1960 – 1975

Why the Nostalgia? A recent mail from Nandan Jha of “Ghumakkar.com” informed me that he is re-posting one of my six-year old story viz. “Doing Nothing in Fagu”. The story was re-published recently. In-fact, in those days I had written few stories about our holidays and travel which were published at Ghumakkar. I think being the oldest (age-wise) contributor at that time, Nandan was generous & appreciative enough to gift me a very nice Reebok Ghumakkar shirt.

In my Ghumakkar TShirt

In my Ghumakkar TShirt


Since then I have not written any post as our travelling had almost reduced to zero. But his recent missive, inspired me to make another effort to do a post .Moreover my TV is conked off ,so I have lot of free time away from “Arnab and Company” debates. I am also in the process of writing first installment of my trip to London in 1958. Hope it gets completed.

Why only Photographic memories?
The title of this blog says “Holiday-Travel of Days Gone By!” and our holiday travel started around 1966. That’s almost 50 years ago! Our first trip, by Jeep ,was to Kulu valley and Rhotang PassI At that time there was no road beyond Kothi to Rohtang. And we stopped at the rest house at Kothi. Our elder son was six and younger was just one year old.

Manali in 1966

Manali in 1966

Can you guess the date of our arrival at Kothi ? You perhaps were not even born then, neither was Ghumakkar nor internet! October 30, 1966 was the day we jeeped at KOTHI.!

Only pictures because I do not have my log-Books anymore with me to write the detailed post. And that also I have only few prints, but hundreds of 35mmand120film negatives. Remember there were no Digital Cameras. Still we were all interested and to know our INDIA.

My wife and I, with two little sons came back from London, after six years, and had a job with Rallis India for three years. Then I got into advertising and joined OGILVY, BENSON&MATHER (OBM), now known as O&M.

We did this tour of Southern India. We had a major problem language. No one on the buses spoke or understood English. They just got the name of the town where we wanted to go, gave us the ticke,picked up the right fare from my wifes hand. I think the travel was quite cheap by these buses. Ticket never used to be more than Rs. 3.Travelling in South was like our travel through Italy,France, Switzezerland till we reached London, like home. That was 1958. This trip was made by Public Transport, and only my wife and I were touring. Children were left with grandparents.

Here is a picture of Tamil Nadu Bus Service on which we travelled in South to places like Chidramabram, Tanjore Ooty, Kodai and Tripati. This is on way to Tirupati.

Tamilnadu Basu Service

Tamilnadu Basu Service

The HUT picture. Its a very popular and Must stop for buses on way to Tirupati.Excellent coffe and idlis. It was about 20 minutes stop.

Hut for a Coffee Break

Hut for a Coffee Break

At Madurai

At Madurai with my wife Uma

Fortunately, both these companies offered fully –paid free holidays for the family, once a year! In-fact the perk included free stay anywhere India at hotels of TAJ and Oberois. So when we were travelling in South by Tamil Nadu bus service, we stayed at TAJ Hotel at Madurai

And while going to Madras from Cochin we were one of the first few families to enjoy the hospitality of TAJ at the newly opened “The Fisherman’s Cove”.

Fisherman's Cove

Fisherman’s Cove

On the other hand, at Tanjor, we stayed in a temple priests hut, as there were no hotels at the time we arrived there. And had a morning bath at the well, before leaving for Chidambram by bus(.If you have not been to Tanjore, You have not seen anything!)

Tanjore

Tanjore

Here comes a pic of the Enterance to Tiruchirapalli temple,from the main road. The place is famous for Chrrots (Cigars).Shops outside sell these pretty cheap. Trichnapali Chtoots are known.

Tiruchirapalli

Tiruchirapalli

From Kodai to Ooty, we fell back on grand old vehicle of India, the Amby.

Amby

Amby

From my memories, the one I still cherish is the 10 gm Gold Signet of BALAJI from the shop inside the Tirupati temple. Price of 10 gm 24 carrot Rs1770

Tanjor

Tanjor

On way to Madras and Tirupati. (This trip by buses to South was in JUNE1983. Please see the photo of picture post card posted by us to our son.

Letter to Son

Letter to Son

Our trip to Jog Falls, Mysore, Ooty, Kodai, Sherwanorbagola, Coorg by our Herald Car was in June1973—still the days gone by! In Mysore we stayed with my wife’s brother who was working for ESSO. One thing we remember is that a man used to come early morning to the house and bring his cow with him. He will milk the cow in our presence and deliver the milk –bucket-full.

The experience of travelling with two young kids, in Karnataka is unforgettable. Sudden rain and nallas flooded, nil visibility, nowhere near township. Lucklily company like Transport Corporation of India(TCI) and their depots on roadside offered great hospitality for the night. In-fact, late VPAggerwal, head of TCI was my client while I was in advertising agency in Bombay.

Karnataka

Karnataka

Travel to Hills in the North
While travel to south was mainly when I was working in Bombay, the travel to hill in north has mostly originated from GURGAON after we moved here on the X-Mas day of1999—just before the millineum. To Mukteshwar, Shimla (we first went to Shimla in1973), Mcleod Ganj, Nanital, Ranikhet et al
FINAL WORD of an Old Ghumakkar

Well,it was supposed to be memories by pictures, but it seems to have more words than the pictures. I wonder if this ,first &final draft,passes the muster of Shri Nandan Jha for posting on www.ghumakkar.com.And the number of pictures he can squeeze in. I hope this post makes more of you to travel and enjoy your country. Build memories, like me,for your grand children and yourself.

24 Comments

  • Namaskaar Sethi Sir,

    Picture says more than 1000 words! And the treasure you build with all those pictures is really appreciable. You kept even the letter posted to your son. That shows how one can hold the memories of the days passing by!

    I enjoyed reading your this log and photos of the coffee hut, bus services and small notes of reaching Koti Rest House, Madurai temple and others.

    Thank you for sharing your travel memories with us and guiding to build memories like you. Thank you Sir!

    I am Excited and Look forward to read your London log soon.

    Regards

    Anupam

  • silentsoul says:

    very nostalgic post Sethi Sahab… joy of reminiscences, sometimes is more intense than the travel itself..

    tks for sharing :)

  • Venkat says:

    Fabulous post, Sethi Ji. Thanks for taking us to the era of Ambassadors, Post Cards, Govt. Tour Buses and fresh, unadulterated milk. Thanks for honouring Ghumakkar with your log. Credit also is due to Nandan. The vintage pictures in this post are truly a treasure. I personally liked the snaps of Fisherman’s Cove resort signboard and the hut serving B’fast.

  • Jatinder Sethi says:

    First of all let me offer my sincerest thanks for the appreciative comments from Anupam,Veket and my dear old friend,Silentsoul. I frankly do not know whether this post is of the ghumakkar standard or not, but its gone up on August 1, courtesy Shri,Nandan Jha. The all credit(or discredit) must go to him. I believe he banged his head to compile it with such old photographs, and little material.
    Whatever the quality, if it helps to wake the travel bug among others, I think, it would have done its job.
    Nandan dear,
    Thanks for post it.

  • Arun says:

    Hello Sethi Sir,

    Reading your post is like listening the story from our grandfather.

    Regards,
    Arun

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Dear Sethi Sir,

    While reading this magical post I was feeling as if I am in the past by many decades. Venkatt rightly said, its an honor for ghumakkar dot com to have such a wonderful post from the treasure of your memories and the collection of vintage photographs.

    I have seen a handwritten post card after so many years, though in our childhood and adolescence we used to write and receive such post cards and inland letters, but now they have become extinct. I enjoyed every bit of this post, it was mesmerizing indeed….

    Eagerly waiting for your London series, hope it will come soon….

    Thanks.

  • Tarun Talwar says:

    Sethi Sir,

    After a long time you posted at Ghumakkar. Thanks for sharing your memories. Inspires us to travel and see more of this wonderful country.

    Nandan: Thanks for making this post happen.

    • Jatinder Sethi says:

      Tarun Dear
      What can one do/ Time comes when life slows down. In spite of ones efforts, it does.
      You people are there to carry on.
      Thanks again

  • Jatinder Sethi says:

    Thank you all.
    Arun Dear, Do I sound like “grand-dad”? Of-course I am a grandfather. I hope you like to listen the stories of old man..
    God Bless you,Arun
    Thanks for reading it.
    Mukesh Bhai, unlike you we do not travel much now-a days. My grand daughter , a great motivator for travel ,is now away doing her MBA. So ghumakkering has slowed down. But always wait to read your
    Posts,
    My regrds.And Thanks

  • Arati Rao says:

    Absolutely superb dear Uncle…I always enjoy reading your posts…its as if i am sitting infront of you & listening to these stories…..Loved all the pictures….Now hopefully a trip to Odisha & the “Ghumakkars” will relish & enjoy your visit to this lovely state :)

    Best wishes
    Arati

  • Stone says:

    Dear Sethi sir,

    I can easily say this is one of the best post I’ve read in months here and anywhere else.
    Now eagerly waiting for ‘London series’.

    Btw, I’m also a KMC alumni like you and Nandan bhai :-)

    Regards

  • Ashok Sharma says:

    nice and interesting post from the past. travelling in peace and freshness of nature with minimal of facilities used to be great.these days pollution and traffic jams and overcrowding of places are real big issues threatening the beauty of GHUMAKKARI.
    Great pics.

    • Jatinder sethi says:

      Ashok, thanks for going through the old file. The positive thing to do is that we insure that we,ourselves, do not add to this pollution.
      regards

  • Amitava Chatterjee says:

    It’s an indescribable feeling to read this post of yours. Wonderfully written and nicely presented to us.
    It brings lots of personal memories to me at the same time and I am sure to all the readers.
    I still have many postcards/inland letters at home from my near and dear ones and many had already left us long time ago for a better place to live. However, I just need to close my eyes and find them all around me.

    One must build memories and your last line touched me very much – like it is my words. I always argue with some of my photographer friends that there is no good or bad photos…as all of them carry some priceless memories. Though in today’s age of digital photography, there may not be many takers to buy my theory.

    It’s really wonderful to read this post after a long hibernation… thank you Sir. Will eagerly wait for London diary.

  • Jatinder Sethi says:

    Dear Amitava,Thanks. Humbled after reading your praise of the post, Well Times are a changing,but I do believe in leaving some memories for the children to cherish.Some think we are living in past if we Time travel to the past.Thanks again

    I intended to write a short piece about our trip to London in 1958. But its become, more of “A journey Through Life” and our trip and 6 years stay in London. Moreover its become very personal,autobiographical,almost 12000 words Plus big personal old pictures.Not really for posting. .Any way I need to give it a finishing touch today.
    Must tell you though. All this is based on the Air Letters we posted to our family,and they had kept each and every one. Handed back to us when we came back.
    SILENTSOUL,,, Hope you wouldn’t mind.

  • AJAY SHARMA says:

    Sir,
    I agree with all the above stated feelings, expressed by the well wishers. May god give you more youth to carry on traveling and bless us with your golden moments. I wish I too someday become as enriched as your good self. Traveling is priceless and those who are passionate about it always cheer. Thank you sir for delighting and enlightening us with your graceful story.

    Regards
    Ajay

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thank you Sethi Sir. I know I would instead call you Jatinder but ‘Sethi Sir’ seems to be the call of the season. :-). I salute your perseverance and it would have been really really lame for me if I would not have done this. I am so glad that this finally came out in this shape. It reads and feels brilliant. Thank you.

    Now to keep the tradition of a Ghumakkar log, I should also make some technical comment. One thing which I noticed was this big bill-board at that Coffee-Hut Shop. Well, it is in English. I tried recall what I have seen in my country side (North Bihar) and I do not recall much. Makes me wonder that probably this part of India was more developed and there was better access to education. Even Smriti Irani now knows better than me on Education so just a guess.

    Look forward to read your London memoir somewhere. God Bless and Insha Allah, many more travel happens for you.

    • SilentSoul says:

      “Even Smriti Irani now knows better than me on Education so just a guess.” Dear Curator Sir please avoid politically inflammatory comments on this beautiful forum. People may come back with some bitter truths about AK-49 :)

      And keep the bottles in the freezer, they may become chilled till I reach Dilli.

  • Jatinder Sethi says:

    Nandan, I must confess I felt very mean, just chasing you to do some magic with old foggy pictures and f
    story. I am really very grateful for posting the Post. I wanted it as it remains with me as a memory.Otherwise the pictures get lost and memories fade.
    That coffee hut is on the way to Tirupati,and most of the buses travelling ,up and down, stop there. The English bhasha is for people like me.
    Well our travel to London in September1958,with just50 poundsn pocket ,newly married to my class mate, not kn owing a soul there, has become a 12000 words “A JOURNEY THROUGH THE FIRST PART OF OUR LIFE–a very personal, lot of photos -has become very self indulgent memoirs.
    It has gone to a friend in Washington for his views. I do not think it is fit for publishing.

    I can send you for private reading and your comments–that I value very much.
    Regards

  • Hello Sethi Saheb,

    Having arrived in this world in 1958, I am neither in your age bracket nor belong to the younger ghumakkars’ gang. This way, I have to miss the fun of both extremes. However, I am one of those people who started taking photographs on Agfa Click III taking 120 roll of film. Most of the time, we were happy with the 6 x 6 cm. contact prints and didn’t venture larger prints because the pocket money used to be insignificant, rather NIL. However, I can value these old and precious memories of bygone era very much.

    I haven’t been to South except Goa, Bangalore and Mysore. Have heard a lot about TN temples from my late father who used to describe his 1968 tour of Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram, Madurai etc., with astonishing details , and these places are permanently on my wish list.

    I loved your easy flowing, effortless style of narration. Dear Nandan, thanks for sharing this superb vintage post with us.

  • Jatinder Sethi says:

    Dear Mr.Singhal Sahib, I know the age you in, as my son is almost the same category. I had bought Russian camera in London in 1958 for 10 pounds which I used to take pictures. It was a Rolliflex copy. I still have it.
    Thanks for your good wishes.

  • Jaishree says:

    Hello Jatinder ji

    Your photos and log reminded me of my parents’ albums.
    Just not that, this post not just took me to past but future as well.

    I imagine myself, looking for spectacles with wrinkled hands, opening the drawer of memories- of me and Manish, of my kids, and then caressing the digital screen with my ginger fingers and feeling content of the life well lived and traveled. I imagine myself calling Manish in my ageing voice, and he still coming to me on my first call( I hope so), and smiling at me with his double chin, saying- you will never grow up!

    I wish I will travel more than I can remember and remember more than I travelled.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this treasure.

  • Jatinder Seth says:

    My Dear Jaishree,

    Do not look at the future of” wrinkled hands, and aging voice ‘Always feel young,vibrant and laugh loudly. You will never feel old. No use worrying now. One of the sayings I like says”Today is the Tomorrow of Yesterday which we worried about” So “Worry Me?’ don’t.
    Thanks for making me feel goog.

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