REMEMBERING ZANZIBAR

 

<<So you know Devendra. He was my cousin's son. Jusab Tharia's house was at right angle to ours. I think we moved to the house in Portuguese Street in 1945/46. Abid Jafferji & family live there now. Mandir also came much later-when i wasn't there. There used to be men's garbi in Golarana's gorofa behind Bohora school.>>

Zanzibar was just out of this world. What made it different was not its physical aspect but the environment and surrounding that prevailed there in those days. Today it is haunting. You pass through those streets and gullies in the stone town where you frequented in the past and some ghostly feeling creeps in, and in the still of the moment everything around there seems sad and sullen. 

Devendra was my class mate at King George. He was the chaglo (pampered) of his parents. So sad he died at such a tender age. 

You mention Jusa Tharias, we were also staying around there on Kiponda Road (opposite the Ithnashri mosque and Akber Takim's office). Jusa Tharias had a gramophone (rare in those days) and they played the Indian songs so loud that everyone around there could listen, and also to the annoyance of certain neighbours. In those years the songs of 'Barsaat' and 'Aah' had become very popular and in particular i remember the song 'ajare ab mera dil pukara' (Lata & Mukesh) being played again and again. 

Your friend Abid Jafferji (a jolly good fellow) is in Daressalaam and presently feasting off iftaar (the Bohoras daily have grand iftaar at their mosque in Ramadhan). He's not keeping good health but can't resist the delicacies, and knowing Abid he would not even listen to his doctor, Dr. Jafferji. I suppose one of Abid's brothers is in the UK. 

If my memory serves me correctly, the temple at Hurumzi was there ever since i remember. Earlier it was smaller and later replaced by a bigger one, or was that a Jain temple? 

Talking of Golarana's 'gulfo' (is it 'dello' or 'gulfo'? What's the difference?), it evokes lots of memories. It was right behind our mosque (nai misid) and on our way to 'nai misid' we'd to pass through there. It was very lively and had hectic pace. The Golaranas were industrious and indulged in various activities. Their ladies could be seen sitting in the doorway and grinding grain into flour. They also dried off spices and vegetables in the open and at times that would even block the road. You're right; their celebrations of various festive occasions had certain grandeur. In particular i remember holi, on our way back from the mosque we'd wait there to watch them set fire and perform the ritual. They had a beastly white dog that would scare us out of our wits. I vividly recall that day of 'eid' when my cousin, the late Bali, on our way back from the mosque after 'eid namaaz' was attacked and badly bitten by it. Poor fellow had to be carried to Dr. Patel for injections and then confined to his bed for the entire festive occasion. In the neighbourhood of Golarana was Muhina's pitho (bar) where the walevi (drunkards) used to hang around. All of that has gone with the wind. 

Thanks for the memories.
   

                                                                                                                                                                                


Last updated November 2007 Copyright Abdulrazak Fazal 2007 - All Rights Reserved