Often, more and more so of late, I realise that I have lost the small pleasures of life that I once had.
Like standing in the ten-and-a-half annas queue at Metro to see an MGM musical with Van Johnson and June Allyson, or saving four annas to put in the juke-box at Leopold's Restaurant to listen to Frankie Laine, or listening to the Saturday afternoon request programmer over AIR, or Radio Ceylon every morning.
Eating mutton samoosas at the Asiatic Restaurant or a triple sundae at the Parisienne at the other end of the road from Asiatic. Or going to Agha Dairy outside Cusrow Baug for ice-fruit, one paisa for ordinary, two paisa for milk ice-fruit.
I miss the old bus routes, A and A1 and A2 and A2 Ltd., and B route via Queen's Road and Croute via Marine Drive, or the time when I ventured into the beyond, getting into an Froute and going all the way to Mahim. And I miss the trams, making their stately progress along the centre of the road.
So many small pleasures of life that seem to have slipped away. The Weeler Bookstall at VT with its large collection of Sexton Blake novels. Going to the USIS when it first opened at the Mutual Assurance Building on Dadabhoy Naoroji Road (Hornby Road). The jumping-chicken man, and the man who used to sell bows and arrows and catapults, riding o a bicycle, a tall feather in his hat, like Robin Hood. And those ice-cream trolleys, pushed by a man on a half-cycle, playing a peculiar musical tune on bells, like the chiming of a clock, a familiar legend on the trolley, saying Stop Me And Buy One.
I miss going to Cuffe Parade, past the Wellington Mews, over the Wodehouse Bridge, a Cuff Parade of benches and the sea and not a single skyscraper in the sea. I miss the Bombay without Makers and Rajejas and Dalamals and Tulsianis. And the Bombay without road-dividers and Maruti cars and fly-overs and a Kemp's chemist shop at kemp's Corner and a Taj Mahal Hotel without in intercontinental annexe and Nariman point left exclusively to Mr. Nariman and only neon sign in the skyline (501 Soap), visible from most parts of Bombay.
And I miss the people, or the lack of people. Flats that you could walk in and rent, buses that you could enter without pushing victorias, that you could bargain with, seven-sitter taxis waiting all day for a passenger.
I miss the band playing at the Bandstand, a real regimental band, not film records. And the Saturday school outings at the Victoria gardens, and scores of Iranin shops, and Hygeia Hair-Dressing Hall, and Golwall's Swimming Pool.
Sometimes I miss the little pleasures of life. Still, I should not complain. Because if everybody thought like me, we would never go into 21st century. Not that we really are anywhere near it.