23 January 2012

My first Pizza and my first Levi's

In the year 1971 people in India had not really heard about Pizza's and Levi's.  Most of them didn't, that is.  Courtesy an American Stepmom, I had heard eaten, worn and loved both these items.

My Mom (I am going to shun the 'step') loved cooking.  In Bangalore, in the 70s, she was able to get most of the ingredients of her western recipes in Russell Market.  We would often come home from school to find something exotic cooking in the oven.  The oven was something unique.  It was like a tin box with shelves and a door that just sat on the normal gas chulhas that we have.  It was ingenious and workable. Later when mom got one of those round electric ovens, she found it not as efficient as the simple gas-top one.

The pizza's bases were handmade, not one of the bread things we get so easily these days.  The toppings were usually keema and Amul cheese.  It worked, I tell you, like a charm.  Pizza days were a big hit.  It was nearly the end of 80s when pizza's started appearing on the menu's of fast food restaurants.  I rushed to eat them, reminded of the glory days of eating pizza's in Bangtalore.  I was disappointed with the bread bases, the vegetarian toppings of the early pizza.  It has improved vastly now but I am not crazy about it anymore. The taste of Mom's thin crust handmade pizza's will linger in my memory forever.

Sometime in 1972 or 1973, my Mom made a quick trip to America to visit her ailing mother.  When she got back, she brought for me an american classic; A pair of Levi Strauss jeans.  Again, in those days it was not yet something youngsters died for, simply because they did not know of it. The way the pair of jeans was 'treated' is worth recounting.   It was soaked in water overnight, then washed, its legs twitsted into knots and beaten to soften it.  I was told that a 'new' looking pair of jeans was just not done, it had to look worn and faded to be really valuable.  Needless to say I practically lived in those jeans.

Again it was nearly the 80s when the jeans mania hit the middle class.  The only way of procuring a pair of Levi's was to have someone bring a pair back to you from USA.  Ah, those were the days when jeans were lovingly ironed to sport trouser like creases, or even dry cleaned!  How boring it is these days to just walk into a showroom and buy a pair of any brand of jeans.  We used to feel like conquistadors when our beloved relative returned from a trip abroad with a pair of jeans for us that sported this label.


  1. Russell Market is still thriving like ur teenage days. It has got stuff u wont find in malls. And the best thing is ut has turned out to be an eatery place for night birds. It's open till 2ish everyday and 4ish on weekends. And During Ramadan it never closes.

    U r one of those fortunate ones who has seen the transformation literally. Tab aur Ab me.

  2. Wow! You have witnessed the "Then and Now" scene!! Interesting!

  3. Vee I have such a hankering to visit Bangalore. Itne saal ho gaye. Sigh. I will pass on your Russell Market news to my mum too. We are both Bangalore lovers.

  4. I want you to come here one day and I will take you to the places for eat, for memories, it will be fun. Come over you and Angad. I am host

  5. And if it's October Hena can join us you and Angad oo. :)

  6. Aayenge zaroor. I is my fond wish to visit Bangalore once again and haunt my old hang out spots.

  7. Hum sirf sochate hain aur plan karte hain. Aao na

  8. 1971 was the year that I too was exposed to pizza & Levi's & Wrangler jeans & other similar stuff, so it is great to hear your experience. I have never had pizza made with Amul cheese & kheema, but maybe I will try it out.
    So I suppose you would like Feroz as a pizza topping ;)

  9. Samir, it was great to be young then. Feroz? I thought my pet squeeze was Dev. Not that I mind Feroz, he looked really handsome and delectable in many movies.

  10. WOW - now thats something I will totally agree with.
    I got my first pair from US that too in Mid 90's as a cousin was traveling and trust me - it was way too good than what we were getting here at that time. It had something about that I still can remember it.

    Even today whenever I hang my denims after wearing them for like good 15 days in a row - I tell my wifey dear particularly to wash them as hard as she can and to NOT TO GIVE IT TO IRONWALA for ironing at all as I wear them without Ironing :)

    I feel so sad when she gives over my used denims (read 5-6 years of use only) to the security guard or to the rag picker in our area - I always feel heartbroken. But somethings cannot be changed and this is one of them.

    Your post made me total nostalgic. Looks like I am going to pick up another pair of Levi's - thanks to your post :D

    Keep Writing

  11. Rohit, :D Thanks. Levi's should gift me a pair for promoting them...