Dal and Rice

Dal and Rice

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Dal and Rice
    Book Description:

    Wendy Davis inherited this affection for India and its people. In Dal & Rice she chronicles the memories of her childhood and offers a poignant and measured character study of her father. Her story is part social history, part travelogue, but mostly a very personal account of a relationship with an exotic, chaotic, and often mysterious country.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7517-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xvii-xx)

    It is a privilege to be asked to write this foreword forDal and Rice, a wonderful pot-pourri of memories of a childhood in India. I have known Wendy and her sister, Joyce, since I was a boy when Wendy once drove me through Scotland in her battered red car. Joyce’s son, Nigel, was one of my best friends and I was staying with the family on holiday in Perth. I can’t remember where we were going at the time or why. But, inevitably, because I suspect Wendy is accident-prone, we broke down in one of the remoter parts of...

  5. Foreword
    (pp. xxi-xxiii)

    When Sir Godfrey was stationed in Ahmedabad, he lived very near my father Ambalal Sarabhai’s house. I can’t remember anyone more friendly and understanding – to children as well as adults. The years of intense conflict between the British and the Indians made no difference to his friendship with my father. When Sir Godfrey was moved to other positions, his relationship with my family not only continued but became stronger. He visited us every year. The children were always happy to see him, and birds he had tamed during earlier visits would follow him about. When I started a school, Sir...

  6. Maps
    (pp. xxiv-2)
  7. One In the Beginning
    (pp. 3-32)

    Pa learned from the Indian people that a daughter resembled her mother not by her facial appearance but by her behind. Mother and daughter could be recognized when their behinds were identical. If this was true, presumably my father liked his future mother-in-law since mother and daughter had similar behinds.

    My mother, Bessie Ziman, was born in 1895 to David and Lena Ziman in Reefton, New Zealand. David Ziman was a financier and prominent mining entrepreneur. He moved his family to England when my mother was a girl. They lived in London in the house opposite the one where my...

  8. Two Between Two Worlds
    (pp. 33-56)

    In those days most British mothers in India went to England to give birth and returned to India with their infants. My sister, Joyce, was born five years before I was and, once back in India, my mother had an ayah to look after her during her early years. I was born in 1928 and my mother then took me to India by sea. It must have been difficult for my sister now that Ayah had me to care for as well. With my parents’ agreement she was also bringing up a friend’s son, Lewis. My sister was reluctant to...

  9. Three A Schoolgirl in India
    (pp. 57-76)

    When I arrived in India at the age of twelve my education in Karachi, where we lived, was provided by a series of governesses. This was not because I was such a dreadful child but because the governesses’ husbands had been transferred to the war zones. Other families in the non-Indian community were experiencing the same problem and they worked together to organize Miss Hickey’s War School.

    Miss Hickey was tall and militaristic and waged a one-woman war against the mistreatment of the local donkeys. Donkey and camel carts were the main form of transportation for people and goods in...

  10. Four At Home in Karachi
    (pp. 77-124)

    In Karachi we had two official government doormen, or puttiwallas. They wore a uniform of red jackets and wide white pantaloons with a red sash around the waist. Mohammed, from Baluchistan, was extremely handsome and a fine red turban added to his height of more than six feet. Ali was short and fat with a grey beard and reminded me of Father Christmas. Mohammedans normally pray five times a day and Mohammed did so in private at the bottom of the garden. I sometimes saw him at his evening and morning prayers when the sunsets and sunrises reflected magically in...

  11. Five Kashmir
    (pp. 125-152)

    In the 1940s there was little air conditioning in India. In the same way that Parisians leave Paris in August, so people leave India’s major cities during the three hot and stifling months of the monsoon season. Escaping from the heat of the plains for two weeks or longer in the hills made life bearable. From all over India people travelled to their nearest hill station, whether Simla, Nunital, Mussourie, or Kashmir.

    During the hot weather in Sind, my mother, Anne, and I were fortunate to go to the cool Himalayan mountains of Kashmir. With us went our dogs Bunty...

  12. Six War and Home Collide
    (pp. 153-173)

    The news that reached us in India in 1942 was depressing. Burma had fallen to the Japanese. It was expected that the Japanese would continue on to Assam where there were no fortifications, only tea plantations – and valuable oil wells. This was the home country of Rumer Godden who wrote so lovingly of this hilly part of the world in her novelKingfishers Catch Fire. Allied ships that had escaped from Rangoon harbour, having been brutalized by Japanese bombs and torpedoes, limped into Karachi harbour. Some ships could be rehabilitated but others could only rest peacefully, providing parts to revitalize...

  13. Seven Out of India
    (pp. 174-184)

    My mother and I returned to England in 1945 after the British had landed in France. We sailed on theMagdapurthrough the Mediterranean. On arriving in England I went to Roedean School, which had been evacuated to the Lake District but later returned to its original site in Brighton, Sussex. My sister Joyce was demobbed from the Indian army and returned by ship to England in 1946. She later married Michael Seys-Phillips whom she met in the British Territorial Army.

    By the time my mother and I left India Anne was with another British family and returned with them...

  14. Postscript: Following in Pa’s Footsteps
    (pp. 185-190)

    Pa believed that if everyone wrote their problems on a piece of paper, placed them in a hat, and passed the hat around to others to exchange problems, people would be relieved to have their own problems back. Throughout my life this has helped me in difficult times, whether in India, England, or Canada.

    In September 1973, five years after Pa’s death in August 1968, I immigrated to Canada to take up a position as a teaching assistant in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Occupational Therapy, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Canada uncorked me, for which...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 191-196)