Thursday, March 7, 2013

Nostalgic Oddments

In recent years, the word 'shoebox' is often getting seen in articles of magazine section in newspapers.  Triggered by this idea, I finally made one, two and three shoeboxes to preserve the various oddments I had gathered over since my childhood.  Sentiments and memories of the items I list here are many, but I will try to be brief on each item.  Let us have some nostalgic moments. 

This is the first 'shoebox', but actually it was a banian [vest] box.  This cardboard box was suitable to keep the items. The box itself is Mysore vintage, most likely from the 60s.  The vests manufactured by the long defunct and famous Krishnarajendra Mills [K.R.Mills] were used by my grandfather. 

Let me begin with this since this is of the earliest toy I can remember.  Wooden blocks with pictures pasted on them.  The kids had to arrange the blocks to make the picture - like a puzzle. There were six pictures to be made with each side having a picture on the six sides of the cuboid block. There were 12 in the set, but three are missing. The block I hold shows a portion of an areoplane.   There was 'cow' and 'horse' on other sides.

Frame of counting beads.  The original frame had gone weak and when I grew old enough to do some carpentry and when it was time for my daughter to play with it, I replaced it with suitable old wood and replaced the wire also.  Some beads had to be left out.  But they are safe in a box.  This is my pre-school counting instrument. 

This little plastic elephant can walk on its own.  All it asks is a sufficient down gradient to show its ability.  It was bought at Mysore Dasara Exhibition in the 1960s.  My favourite toy.  I feature it here despite keeping it in the showcase and not in the shoebox..  It has no place in the box because it is an ELEPHANT!  :)

Another memorable drawing toy.  I used to make a number of designs using these wheels and different coloured ball pen refills.  Also bought at Dasara Exhibition in the late 60s.

Yet another toy from the Exhibition bought for ten paise in about 1970.  It produces a shrill and loud 'tic-toc' when the flat piece is pressed in and left.  Extremely popular toy.  The eardrums hummed in pain when friends stealthily came and pressed it very close to the ear. 

I have featured most of the Exhibition-bought toys in the 'Dasara Exhibition' blogpost. [click]  This was another very good toy to play. Just a good rubber band was needed to make it work well.

A key chain with my name on it in gold letters!  A gift from my late aunt.  More of it is written on the other blogpost.

Burmah Shell Petrol Bunks were common in our city.  This is a gift from my friend Ashok, the grandson of famous novelist 'Vani' who lived opposite our house.  His uncle had a lot of these, but I never knew why there were so many.  Ashok had given me two and both of them are in tact.  One is in use. 1970 or thereabouts.

Meccano Set  - above, collage picture of instruction manual.  Below, pieces that have survived 4 decades. 

And stored in a smaller box of K.R.Mills, may be banians bought for a then young me.

I recently wrote a separate post on this memorable book.  See here: [Click].

This itself is a box.  Still, I include in the 'shoebox'!  Aluminium boxes for carrying school books was a fashion in 1968-70.  That is mine, pestered and got from my grandfather. It is serving as a container for homoeo pills now.  Those who carried these boxes to the class were 'executives' - in the view of others, or so we thought!   :)

Panama Cigarette box.  They may be short duration special offers. They were very popular in the late 60s.  My father did not smoke but he acquired from someone and used to keep small coins as savings in this.

I will show how my handwriting was at a very young age.  That is a small diary gifted by an uncle.  

See who he was.  1966. 

..."and was laid to rest in Grayfrairs churchyard..." This was a sentence from an English lesson 'Grayfrairs Bobby' [a dog] from Class Two.  I used to write this to check my pen.  Somehow this part of the sentence has stuck in my mind.  I now learn [from browsing for this post] that the spelling is 'Grayfriars' and that this is a popular story of a terrier dog!  It was a real story.  Read this - very interesting: [Click]

Click to read my middle school writing.

Addition/Subtraction.... this served as my scribble book for many years!


This is much earlier.  My grandfather writes the questions from the lessons on the top right. My script is easily identifiable. 

80% of these are from my marble-playing times.  A few are worn out as can be seen.  My elder streetmate who lived in the opposite house had actually won 500 or 600 marbles.  His name is Ganapathy. We used to envy him.  He was a sure shot.  I lost many to his great talent.  For satisfaction, I used to buy the marbles at a shop at Devaraja Market on Sayyaji Rao Road, next to Komala Bakery. 1960s and early 70s.  For ten paise, we got ten marbles. Later I used to buy nails for my cricket boots in the same shop in the early 80s. Thereafter the shop was closed as the Shetty owner probably had got old.

High school. Tenth Std.  I wanted to copy Kariappa's Motor Bus.  A motor was pestered and got for Rupees fifteen [large sum in 1972-73].  Was successful to some extent and even managed to show it in the 'Science Exhibition' in 1973.  The leaflet is in tact.  The shaft and coil survived....... but not its body. The shaft is seen in the picture below - on the left. 

This was another silly toy I had bought in about 1974. But I had used it as a calling bell! 

This is the second toy motor I bought in 1976-77 or so.  I had made an improvised bus using gears. 

This is another very memorable toy I made for the sake of old memories.  Read about it in a separate post here: [Click]

Both are not my tops.  The one on the left, landed dangerously in front of our door from somewhere and fortunately it did not hurt anyone.  When I heard its sound, I went out and saw this top but none were in the street!  It remains a mystery.  None came after it either. I tried to play it, but it was ugly as it was 'top-heavy'!  The smaller one is with me for many years and I cannot remember its history.   This is the design we bought and they had good centre of gravity. 

Mysore Dasara Exhibition purchase.  Cannot remember the cost. It is the same size as the 20-paisa coin in brass.  It was the same design as that but plain on the other side. A key chain - Mahatma Gandhi Birth Centenary, 1969.  It was popular in those times. 

Tweezers I had bought for zoology dissection in Class 11 and 12 [Pre-University years].  Still in use for various things.

This is the thimble we were made to buy [also needle and thread] by our 'Work Experience' Teacher, MKG at Sarada Vilas High School [1972].  The skills he showed us in those days have been so handy even now.  

Two special key chains given by my wife.  One is watch-like- to open at the back.

The other one is even more special.  It has a cartoon strip folded into a tiny book form.  When the tab is pulled, the strip spreads.  Russian product.

Thanks for the time at least scrolling up to here!!   
There are some more, but that will be in Part 2. 


adina dosan said...

I can't believe you saved all those old toys! I had some almost similar.

Amrit Yegnanarayan said...

Do you ever toss anything? KR Mill Baniyan, your toys are all with which I grew up. That tic-toc noise maker pic has gone viral. The pic looks the sames as what you have posted. Check it out