28 January, 2021

Patterned Blanket

Three cities have shaped my life, knitting and weaving across each other in little strings

A. Bala
Patterned Blanket
My father Benjamin Abraham Samson, who was Jewish, belonged to the small Bene-Israelite community that landed on the west coast of India two thousand years ago. He was born in Poona, and lived there with his large family in what must have been a sprawling bungalow in the compound of the Jewish synagogue, till his father died. He studied at St Vincent's High School, Poona, and then moved to Bombay as a mere lad to join 'The Dufferin', a training ship for boys who wished to make the high seas their life. In 1945 he married my mother, a Roman Catholic girl from Asansol, who grew up in Allahabad and worked in Delhi during the war as a WREN—an officer of the women's wing of the navy.

They had two sons and twin girls. A year after my twin sister's demise in 1957, my father was appointed commandant of the National Defence Academy in Khadakvasla, Poona. It was a proud homecoming for 'the Poona lad' and my first introduction to the city of his childhood. He and his nine siblings—four boys and five girls—although now living in Bombay, had...


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