It's been a very long time since I visited Jodia Bazaar, the locality where I spent my early year (1947-1956). I want to go there but the place is full of street criminals who wouldn't think twice before shooting you to get your cell phone and wallet.

It was a very different world then, without the modern amenities that we can't live without. I remember the time when my father bought a portable fan. It was imported, probably from England, made of cast iron, and I happened to drop and break it, getting a thrashing from my dad.

There were no telephones. The first time a phone was installed in my father's office, I and my cousins (along with a couple of visiting relatives from India) walked past the office to go to a telephone booth to talk to my father and uncle (his elder brother and partner). My father later asked me, "Why did all of you walk to the booth, when you could easily have come to the office and given the message? I told him "Just to know how it felt to talk on the phone". For many years getting a telephone installed in one's home would take many years.

Ours was the only family in the whole building that had an automobile. It was a large used Morris (1942 model), and cost Rs. 3,000 (a princely amount in those days). The day it was bought, I went to the balcony with my parents to look at it (it was parked in the street below).

Our apartment was on the top floor and very cool. The air was pure and the only smoke was from the wooden stove owned by a woman on the ground floor (wood being much cheaper than coal in those days). There was no gas and the electricity would go off around sunset (I think it was due to the shortage of fuel caused by the Korean war).

I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that it was a beautiful world in those days, although by today's standards we were very poor.