Science, Technology and Law

Hi Folks,

This is the Syllabus and Course Overview! 
Science,Technology and Law
1. Introductory Overview
i. Law, Religion, Science: Contending Claims and Overlapping Domains
ii. Galileo, Copernicus, Newton:Secularism
iiI. Industrial Revolution: Jenner, Watts Transformation of Society
iv. Age of Science:
Scientific Explorations, Inventions

Darwin, Pasteur, Plank, Electricity and Atoms

Colonialism, Race and Domination of Imperial Science

Science to Control Subjects n Exploit Natural Resources
‘Regulation’ of Science and Technology

2. Medical Sciences and Law

i. Life-Defining it. Abortion*

ii. Identity 

iii. Paternity- Genetics DNA

iv. Sexuality Gender and Orientation, Impotence, Infertility*

v. Sanity- imbecility, senility, incapacity, disability: civil n criminal liability*

vi. Age of Consent/Maturity- Marriage, Contracts, Electoral Rights, JJ System

vii. Death- Defining it. Euthanasia Assisted Suicide Santhara Fast unto Death 

viii. Biomedical Forensics

ix. Epidemics Quarantine- Pandemics AIDS*

x. Medicines, Clinical Trials

xi. Medical Ethics and Negligence MCI*

xii. Food Adulteration and Food Safety FSSAI/FDA*

xiii. Playing God: Organ Transplant, IVF, Cloning, Stem Cell Research*

xiv. Genetically Modified Crops*
3. Information Technology, Computers and Cyber Law
i. Cyber Space vs Physical Space

ii. Cyber Reality vs Physical Reality

iii. Jurisdiction 

iv. Definition of. Computer

v. Computer Basics Essential Terminology 

vi. Significance of the Subject

vii. Electronic Signatures

viii. Electronic Banking Transactions

ix. Electronic Contracts

x. Electronic Evidence

xi. Cyber Forensics

xii. IT Act 2012

xiii. Cyber Crimes: Pornography, Obscenity, Defamation, Stalking

xiv. Cyber Cafe Rules

xv. Emerging Challenges and Responses
4. A review of ‘Old’Technology Laws 


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Kadam ki Chhaiyyan in Allhabad

I have never lived in Allahabad for any worthwhile length of time. As a matter of fact, never more than three of four days at a stretch. It seems strange how then I relate so affectionately and personally to this place. Is it because I never ended up their as a student after passing my intermediate exams in 1961( as was planned by my parents) and some sort of wish fulfilment draws me to Allahabad? Or, is it happy memories of a few joyous days spent in 1965-66 with  Bhullu (Alok Rai) n Chhote Bhaiyya (Vijay Chauhan) at Dhoop Chanh, Hasting’s Road? Maybe, it was an addictive whiff picked up at R-7 Hauz Khas when Munnu aka Guns was a constant companion and moved constantly between Delhi and Allahabad? Mom darling had insisted that the yajnopavit rite be performed at Sangam to ensure that her sons could perform her Shraddha properly- she was then obsessed with imminent death as a suspected case of Utrine cancer. Well, she lived for three decades more and I lost faith much before she departed and didn’t participate in any post mortem ritual. Minu (Mrinal ) Jijji (Binu di) Ira darling all went to the university there and talk at home never strayed far from their alma mater. Then Harish(Trivedi) became my flat mate in Delhi and I imbibed more of Allahabad. Years later Rajan assumed office as VC of the university and invited me a couple of times for seminars and talks. Enjoyed greatly my interaction with the Hindi medium students at this Oxford of Orient- long past its prime. 

Well, this time my visit to the city was due to an invitation to lecture to IAS aspirant Hindi Medium candidates on IR and Current Affairs. The Crammer I have written , published by TMH has sold very well in the Hindi Belt n I owe it to my readers to be available face to face when required! The kids were eager, far more responsive than their peers in Delhi. I was made to feel like a minor star of black n white films of yesterday years. Enough of digression.

The large glass window in the guesthouse provided the view of a tall rain washed tree laden with fruit. I couldn’t identify it. Nor could my host. It was unlettered cook’s assistance from Kosambi who said- Arey wo- Kadam hai! 

Stream of consciousness was back in full flow. Was it Binu di who sang in Mukteshwar- Wo to tharhe Kadam ki Chaiyyan, Ghaam ka Maara Ri Mori Guiyaan?

Mukteshwar had lovely stands of deodar, oak and some rhododendron but no Kadam. It was a beautifully cold place. No one complained of bright scorching sun. No one could imagine the bliss experienced standing under the shade of a Kadam tree. Trysts were kept or missed elsewhere. Same as my education. Allahabad University was missed out but can I really say that DSB College circa 1961-65 was less seductive or ecstatic? 

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अब क्या करें?

अब क्या करें? यह सवाल हर किसी नौजवान को परेशान करता है। 

आगे बढ़ने के लिए और क्या पढ़ें? ‘यह सब’ तो कर लिया अब क्या करें? यह परीक्षा तो पास कर ली अब क्या करें? कौन सा विषय या कैरियर चुनें? सबसे विकट समस्या उनकी है जो साधन संपन्न नहीं, जिनके घर- विद्यालय या आस पड़ौस में सही सलाह मशवरा देने वाला जानकार या अनुभवी व्यक्ति सुलभ नहीं। 

यह ब्लॉग हिन्दी माध्यम में पढने-लिखने वालों के लिए है जिनको यह वाजिब शिकायत रहती है कि किसी भी विषय में अच्छी पाठ्य सामग्री नहीं मिलती। काम की जानकारी दुर्लभ है। 

हमारी कोशिश रहेगी कि हम यहां पर उनकी कुछ मदद कर सकें। सलाह, अनुवाद, सार-संक्षेप, समीक्षाओं तथा आलोचनात्मक टिप्पणियों-लेखों के जरिए यह प्रयास निरंतर जारी रहेगा।

 फ़िलहाल सिविल सर्विस की अखिल भारतीय प्रतियोगी परीक्षाओं में अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संबंधों और सामान्य ज्ञान को प्राथमिकता दी जा रह है पर निकट भविष्य में पाठकों के सुझावों के अनुसार सामग्री प्रकाशित की जाएगी। 

बहरहाल, स्वागत आप सभी का! 

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Ranikhet in Rains

Just back after ‘Three Nights n Four Days’ at Kalika-Ranikhet. It rained almost nonstop and kept me indoors most of the time. Clouds covered the panoramic view of snow capped peaks but the raindrops falling on tin roof of the cottage more than made up for all the slushy inconvenience. 

Glen from the Philippines is currently there on a Jayanti Residency Fellowship. It was a delight reliving memories (almost half century old) of a blissful month spent in ‘his’ city-Manila. Downed a can of Foster’s -missing San Miguel. Talked of Jeepnies n Pasig, Indi Cult Movies like Sagwan and had a very satisfying dinner cooked by students at HImalayan Institute of Hospitality Management at Royal Mountain Hotel. Shami Kebab were near flawless but Keema could have been much better! Can’t blame others- gossiping downstairs lost track of time and failed to step into kitchen in time. Ustadji tried his house recipe that stretches every thing- cooked for two is made to serve five! Anyway Govind has learnt how to buy good quality meat n mince for kebab n keema.

Visited Dr. Ramesh Kumar, next door neighbour, who served here as a young SDM in early 1960’s, fell in love with the place and has made it his retirement home. Brindaji his wife has kindly agreed to teach HIHM students English. Wonderfully gifted n dedicated she has broken ice n the kids are beginning to show off their command of this alien tongue. Still a long way to go. Last time here, a month back, had met dear friend Keki Daruwala at his place. The charming couple knows everyone in town and adjacent villages. Always generous with their time n encouraging. 

The tourists have all departed n business is slack for Bishan at Royal Mountain but he was bubbling with enthusiasm. Happy about the jams n chutneys he has produced this season. Sampled some smacking lips. Hopefully, this small venture will provide gainful employment for some school drop outs n village women.

Over ate at Lunch with Biren, the IDBI Bank manager. Lovely house he has rented out. He has succeeded in inspiring Govind to take self-employment seriously. Their Yoga sessions early in the morning are more regular than the forced daily marches I had imposed! I declined the invitation to ‘flex’ my ageing muscles and remained content sipping glass after glass of steaming tea at the Dhaba. 

On my last day, the misty veil parted for minutes to reveal the smiling snow capped peaks. Left for Delhi with a pang in the heart, a lump in the throat. Who says rains in Ranikhet, or for that matter elsewhere in the hills, are depressing?

How one wishes that the Uttarakhand Government ‘markets’-like Kerala n Goa- monsoon as ‘Special Season for Special Tourists’. Does the Yatra in Garhwal stop due to cloud bursts n landslides? Only if n when valuable visitors become long staying regulars the roads to n from our hills will be repaired n better maintained. Incomes of locals wouldn’t register a sudden dip. The showers will then be blessed not cursed. 

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Munnar: Just Like Home!

Well, truth be told, our tea gardens are not even an apology. Gone to seed decades ago, revival by good friend RS Tolia is yet to take off but why complain? Clouds hang low here as it does in Kumaon and wind howls rather than whistle, trees bend aWith branches dancing wildly when rains come. And above all else you can hear the rain fall on the rooftop! That’s what one missed in Kochi. Talked to people back home it’s raining there too. Club Mahindra property is located some distance away from the town-good for us. The young man at the tandoor turned out to be from Jhetain the village that Babu once owned! Talk of coincidences. We always seem to encounter a fellow Uttarakhandi wherever we check in for the night. Thought of kids trying to be tandooria  at Ranikhet. One day, one of them may find his way here! 

Off to Tekhady in the morning.

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Missing Old Friends and Kind Mentors in Kochhi

More than half a century ago, when I had just started teaching at Ramjas College, I made friends with CY Gopinath who introduced me to the magic of Kathakali. Enrolled for a short while in a Kathakali class. Rita Ganguli was training with the same guru. Gopi used to provide vocal accompaniment at International Kathakali Centre performances. Revived memories of mom describing Kathakali gurus n sashays at Shantiniketan. Thanks Gopi for so patiently explaining the mysteries of make up and alphabets of mudras. Have ever since always begun my Introduction to Diplomacy class with a reverent bow to Dootvakyam mentioned by Sardar Pannikkar in hil lectures on the subject. 

Suryanarayan, it was who brought from home banana, jackfruit n tapioca chips and described tantalisingly the toddy shops in Gods Own Country. But, it was years before I could indulge in these to my hearts content on a trip with Jiggs researching regional foods. Our hosts were the warm hearted Dominique brothers of Casino Hotel, Coconut Lagoon and Spice Garden fame. But I have already lost track of time!

On a shoot following the course of Periyar River had already spent a night or two with them as walk in guests and splurged on out of this world sea food in Fort Cochin. Had heard a lot about Kerala Ayurved massages but pressed for time couldn’t try it out. Suryanarayan, a Palakkad Iyer, was a patron of Kottakal Vaidyashala n tried to wean away friends from allopathy. Caught a respiratory infection on another documentary shoot with beloved son Indrajit and got treated by a Vaidya in Kasargode. 

In 1970’s AK Damodaran the distinguished diplomat n freedom fighter joined JNU as visiting professor of Diplomacy. A generous, patient man he unveiled cultural riches of Kerala without Surya’s missionary zeal. Talked often of Krishna Menon now unjustly forgotten by an ungrateful nation. Poor man made a scapegoat in a vain attempt to save JLN’s neck post 1962. Years later visited his house now a museum in Kozhikode. In urgent need of tender loving care n proper maintenance. 

Then came the Forts of India series. Researched n anchored with Chani. Visited Palakkad, Bekal n Kannur. Witnessed Thiyyam, feasted on a village marriage meal. Drove through public meetings organised by yes! BSP turning the red landscape blue. 

Old student Amitabh Kant, belongs to Kerala cadre of IAS has left his indelible imprint on this state. Sensitive to the states resplendent pluralistic heritage and imperilled environment he has crafted a tourism policy that is really incredible! This is where seeds of the Incredible India campaign were sown. 

As rain lashes and coconut trees sway gently through haze n the backwaters ripple my thoughts turn to Kottayam where Anantmurthy was sometime the VC. Also to days when I accompanied Malcom Buck a classmate from Nainital to Charal Kunj for a Christian Youth training camp and discovered how Kerala churches were like Hindu Temples. Or the other way round! 

Sharad Dutt, elder brotherly always, treated me to wonderful prawns and a unforgettable sunset at Covalam just out of Trivedram,  ride into Poonamadi hill country and a visit to Laurie Bakers House. Incidentally Baker had, following Gandhi’s advice settled n worked for long years in Pithoragarh.

Kerala is entwined inextricably in my memory with our native hills. Adi Shankaracharya ordained that the priest at Badrinath will be a Naboodiri from Kerala n the one at Padamanabhaswamy temple a Bhatt from Garhwal. It was he who composed Gangalahari that evokes moving images of the river flowing through hills. 

Off to Munnar in half an hour. Thank you friends and mentors all who have oh so gently made me fall in love with Kerala! 

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Monsoon Magic in Kerala n Missing the Hills

Kochi delightfully serene after Delhi. Settled in a small guest house by the backwaters. Quiet n not at all humid.

The caretaker cum cook Teerath is from West Chaparan. How mobile the young rural Indians are! Metro in the city being built by immigrant construction workers from Bengal they say look more like from Bihar and Jharkhand. Roads here much better than in Gurgaon.

Sky getting overcast. There is slight drizzle. Maybe showers will descend on us tonight. Will welcome them but also miss the sound of raindrops on tin roof in the cottage in Ranikhet. Nothing matches the breath taking beauty of rain washed hills n snow crested peaks playing hide n seek in company of myriad hued clouds reflecting rays of setting sun.

Sat on the verandah for a while- missed again the rustling sound of wind through pines- maybe somewhere else closer to the Arabian Sea the waves lapping the shore creates same magic. Maybe a stronger wind will sway the coconut trees  tomorrow or day after registering the powerful presence of the monsoon.

Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, the menu at the guest house has no appam, stew, Kari meen, prawns but is overburdened with paneer, gobhi masala, paratha etc. Concession to constant stream of visitors from the North who can’t live without their daly fix? Wonder, what does the Metro labour force sustains itself on? Not kappa or even Saturday!

Glad bough some tapioca chips at the airport. Wish had also collected some bananas!

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Batras with Pushpesh Pant

Shooting in Nainital

In mid 1960’s there was a sensational shooting incident on the Flats. PRS Brar then a student at the DSB College (later a much in news police officer) had to fire a shot in self-defence from his licensed pistol when assaulted by a group of Hockey Stick swinging toughs in a scuffle following Student Union Elections. But this is not the kind of shooting we are recalling at the moment.

There was a brief shining moment in the 1960’s when we- the adolescents studying in Nainital-thought that Nainital had scored over Wadi e Kashmir Zannat ka Nazara etc as the first preference of Bombay film moguls. The hoteliers dreamt of making a killing as the visiting artistes and crew would camp for months and every one from the ghorha wallas to boatmen rejoiced in the unforeseen glories of God who had granted them this unexpected bonanza. Young adults drooled at the prospect of ogling at heroines and even more full of oomph starlets. Those grey in hair and with bellies bulging a bit didn’t share their thoughts much but now smiled oftener and began to shave closer while humming an old KL Sehgal number. In short there was romance in the air.

It didn’t take long for the bubble to burst but what fun was had by one and all while the ‘shooting spree’ lasted.

We are talking of an age before the advent of television. Moving pictures exuded a mystique that was unique. Nainital then had three ‘Talkies’ (cinema halls)- Capital by the lakeside on the Flats was at the top of the heap. It screened English movies and billed latest Hindi films. Ashoka next to the Municipality Office with an imposing clock tower was preferred by the middlebrow audiences and Laxmi situated conveniently midway between Malli Tal and Talli Tal took care of the spill over.

One learnt much later that it was during the 60’s that Amitabh Bacchan and Naseeruddin Shah too were students in Nainital but at that time they were a faceless presence. Raj Sab, Dilip Kumar and Devanand ruled the hearts of millions. Dharmendra was ‘showing promise’ and Rajesh Khanna was yet to emerge as a Superstar. Vyjayantrimala and Waheeda Rahman, Mala Sinha and Meena Kumari dominated the posters.

It wasn’t enough for a film to flaunt a ‘U’ certificate. Guardians decided whether a film was fit for our young eyes and impressionable minds. How one envied Binu Jijji who could choose what she wished to see- she an adult hostler studying in Allahabad University had privileges as a visitor during vacations. When in a generous mood she shared a short description of scenes to whet our appetites more about what was denied to us. Somehow the restrictions were not so strict in the case of Classics like Ben Hur, Ten Commandments, Roman Holiday, Bridge at River Kwai and the like though expression of love or blood and gore were far more explicit in such films.

Capt. Ram Singh was bombarded every evening with listener’s request to play Come September, Ya Mustapha and Colonel Boogie’s March. These alternated with Kumaoni and Nepali folk tunes. The Band he conducted held high the banner of PAC and few today remember that the Band Master had once provided martial marches for the INA and composed the music for soul stirring Qadam Qadam Barhaye Ja, Khushi ke Geet Gaye Ja, Ye Zindagi Hai Qaum ki Qaum pe lutaye Ja!

But we digress. The bulk of the evening fare comprised tunes of popular Hindi film songs. That and Binaca Geetmala were the extent of our contact with the world of films. The word shooting conjured up visions of Arabian Nights and more.

The first film I recall that used Nainital for its ‘outdoor’ sequences was Gumrah. (Bimal Roy had shot bits of Madhumati but opted for Ramgarh and Garam Pani giving Nainital and its haunted houses a miss)

Chalo ek baar phir se Ajnabi bun jaayen hum dono from Gumrah is a timeless classic. This song uses a set but In hawaon mein in fizaon mein does justice to the natural beauty of Kilbury. Shooting for Gumrah brought Sunil Dutt and Sashi Kapur to our town. Then came Bhigi Raat and Shagun. But nothing matched the buzz created by BR Chopra’s multi starrer Waqt. A large barge was fabricated on which a song and dance number Din hain bahar ke was ‘filmed’. It became an instant hit. Its only in Jis gali mein tera ghar na ho sajana from Kati Patang that Nainital of that vintage ‘survives. ’

For Bombay producers Nainital soon ceased to be the flavor of the month or whatever such passing trends are called. Other locations were discovered- more interesting or competitive and we were left with fading memories of ‘the shooting’.

Whenever a film unit arrived the local toughs teased and tested the nerves of the bodyguards of stars and ‘bouncers’ who accompanied them-at times leading to ugly incidents. Once while a song was being shot there were repeated interruptions due to shining mirrors aimed at blinding the poor stars. Finally peace was bought after negotiations with miscreants and Bombay bullies mediated by the student’s union. Dr. D.D. Pant the then principal of the DSB College didn’t like the reputation of his wards besmirched but understood their desire to ‘participate’ from the ringside seat in the spectacle.

Decades later a son of the soil would strike fame as an actor in Bandit Queen and another would make his mark claiming a national award for film direction. But all this lay in future. What blew our minds then was encountering famous film stars in flesh and blood. One looked so fat and another so young! Some remained aloof oozing hauteur a few smiled at fans. The leading ladies all agreed appeared so plain without make up and none of us could get over retakes and lip-synching with recorded music. Reflectors (not the tiny mirrors wielded by naughty boys!) intrigued us no less.

It’s been almost half a century since those units that dazzled Nainital packed up and left. What remains (and haunts us in unguarded moments) is the song from Sagun: Tum chale jaoge parchayiyan reh jayengi!



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Batras with Pushpesh Pant

Dotiyals of Nainital


The moment you reached Naintal-at the Bus Stand at the ‘Lake Bridge’ that was popularly known as Daand (Sluice Gate)- before the bus or the rare car could come to a stop-the swarm of ill clad unwashed coolies descended on you. Some strapping youths, far outnumbered by wizened aged before their years elders and a sprinkling of rosy cheeked adolescents jostling to hand you their ‘token’- a small bracelet like piece of steel with a string attached making it look like a clumsy key ring. Once your hand touched it you and your baggage were ‘claimed’. The competing coolies who had lost out had to seek other patrons. Haggling/bargaining came later the wages were agreed upon depending on the distance, the climb involved and the weight of the burden to be carried. Some faces were familiar- both the traveller’s and the porter’s. In such cases it was customary to signal a pre existing ‘bond’ something akin to a relationship between a panda-purohit and the jajman in a Hindu pilgrimage. None else can service him!


The 1960’s were days before the elegant lightweight blow-plast VIP baggage. People travelled with large steel trunks, leather suitcases and ungainly hold all’s. One marveled at the nimble sure footedness the dotiyal porters negotiated the hazardous journey along slippery leech infested paths.


The Dotiyals who were engaged as quartet of dandi bearers or pulled the rickshaws were slightly better off- appeared much better clad and not so abjectly poor. However, to the eyes of a 12 year old, they were not even distantly related to the dotiyals of Mukteshwar all employed by the IVRI drawing regular salaries paid by the Central Government, provided with medical care and housed in crowded barracks but not much worse off than the servant quarters attached to the officer’s bungalows. The coolies were largely invisible elsewhere in Nainital- be it Mallital or Tallital. They gathered near the lakadi tal or coal depot waiting to be hired as a beast of burden; when free- not gainfully employed- they could be seen removing lice from each other’s body or hair. No one could swear that he had seen any dotiyal take a bath. But for that matter none could testify to encountering a drunken dotiyal or one stoned on hash. These were unaffordable luxuries.


At times they sang- songs of love and despair- pining for home they knew not when they would return too. It is difficult to imagine what went through their minds when Capt. Ramsingh’s band struck the tune of “ Bulbuli ma tela, ghumi Ayun Rela, Nainitala! Nainitala!” Not or them the excitement of a Train Journey or Oil to rakishly curl the matted hair nor dreams of joining the army and making it big. Half forgotten lines of another faux Nepali folk song stir upwards from some abyss. “ Paltan man jaunla, Dhan maya launla German ka dhava man!” The glory of martyrdom in war or heroic return from the battlefield was reserved for the Gorkha recruits not these children of lesser gods in Nepal.


Lokendra Bahadur Chand was my classmate in BA at DSB Post Graduate Government Degree College- one of the two such colleges in the whole of UP. He went on to become the prime minister in Nepal. Of course he was not identified as a dotiyal though his birthplace bordered Doti. We were told that Pratap Bhaiyya, the Socialist leader, had once organised an international kavi sammelan in Nainital with a dotiyal folk singer to justify the prefix. But this may be an apocryphal story.


Now people travel light- unburdened by baggage or memories- and there are no dotiyals visible in Nainital.


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Batras with Pushpesh Pant

Nainitala! Nainitala!



Memory plays strange tricks on the mind. It stokes embers of unfulfilled desire one though had long ago been reduced to ashes. Mrinal’s Baithak blogs on Nainital circa 1960’s have unleashed a gushing flood of nostalgia that I have been unable to do anything else for the past two days but live continuously in past- in a stupor spawned by the preferred poison.


One doesn’t really require the crutches provided by British gazetteers or memoirs like Pilgrim’s Wanderings in the Himalla to make an effort (doomed to failure!) to recapture bars of music wafting from the Band Stand heard many moons ago or to savour once again the lingering taste of forbidden delights like Prem ki ghee ki tikki, Bakharuva ki tel ki jalebi or Chowdhary ke alu ke gutake.


Nainital then was the Summer Capital of UP and was much more glamorous than historic Almora and the spit and polish cantonment Ranikhet. This is where the Governor sojourned in summer and hosted an exclusive at home. The Boat House club hadn’t yet embraced democratic norms- the New Club in a lonely cold corner of the flats kept alive the wannabe Plebian challenge alive. There was an annual regatta with Yachts with colourful sails skimming the surface of the lake- at times tilting dangerously making the ‘land-lubbing’ spectators skip a heartbeat or two. Others had their eagle eyes focused on the Hockey matches played on the flats- part of the celebrated annual ritual Obidulla Cup All India Tournament. It was here that a future Olympian had honed his stick skills. His father (M. Ali) continued to enjoy his personal reputation as the best tailor in town even after Jr. had represented India.


Mrinal has mentioned Ramlal Bros. The family has many claims to fame. The supplied uniforms to almost all public schools and had struck personal friendships with most parents who patronized their establishment. (But memory seems to be playing tricks with me- was it the first shop on the right hand side or the left as one entered Malli Bazzar?) May I not be accused of gender bias as I remember with great affection and sense of loss Durga Panwari. Can anything match the joy of getting a bida made to your specification and indulge in a stealthy puff unseen by countless self appointed local guardians- oh the seductions of nicotine! To join college mates at this adda was certainly akin to a rite of passage.


Talli Tal Bazar was a different universe- very down market, but no less tempting. Sher-e-Punjab didn’t only serve tandoori chicken and roghan josh it also turned a blind eye at regulars uncorking a pauvva of rum or addha of santara and washing down the spicy fare with it. But this market too could boast of outlets that ranked higher than any competitor in Malli Tal Market. Indra Pharmacy run by Basant Lal Gangola was a landmark in more ways than one. On the road to Bhowali stood Yakub Mian’s Saloon where the gentry preferred to have their hair dressed.


Not to forget the mid lake section. This is where the Library drew the reading types like a magnet and Chowdhry ji whipped his deshi Espresso paired with alu ke gutake pierced with matchsticks to make handling these easy. On days when one had money to splurge one couldn’t resist climbing the small uphill path to reach Sackley’s Swiss Confectionary. It offered fifty percent discount to students- obviously this in practice translated as students of Public schools on their day out in town. Narain’s Bookshop nestling under the shade of the Grand Hotel was self consciously more highbrow than Modern Book depot or Kansal’s. The gentleman who presided over the counter conducted himself more as a friendly soft-spoken librarian than a bookseller.


CRST is as everyone identified and identifies the Intermediate college with a long name commemorating the philanthropy who endowed it. It ranked much lower in pecking order than St Joseph’s, Sherwood, All Saints and Birla School- even GIC in Gorkha Lines or the GGIC close by. Then there was the Sainik School started by that indefatigable Socialist Pratap Bhaiyya in Saria Tal.


But it is not the marquees of shops that made Naintal. The changing signage isn’t what leaves me bewildered- numb with sense of loss. It’s the people one misses most. Those who had become institutions in their life time- family physicians like Dr. Charu Pande, dentists like the German Dr. Freund and Dr, Sharma who bough his practice, lawyers with larger than life appetites and reputation like DK Pande and legendary school teachers like Dhyan Singh Massab and his wife Dhyan Sundari Rawat. No less was the contribution of ‘unknown soldiers and saints, poets and painters, eccentrics and stuck up snobs in making Nainital something special.


Thank you Mrinal for scratching away the scab and make the scar tissue pulsate with pleasure and pain at same time.


Following in your footsteps, I shall keep blogging about Nainital that lives only in shared memory- partial recall at best but enough to smile and get over the travails of living in plains.





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