Past & Curious is a collection of 40 short articles written by Stanley Carvalho, who was born and brought up in Bangalore during 1960-80 time period. The author mentions a quote by Pomeroy in this book: " Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect!", and in these articles, he writes about how Life was in Bangalore during his childhood days. With not much population or traffic in the city, people mostly lived peacefully in independent houses surrounded by an ecosystem of trees, plants and animals, leading a relaxed way of life. Carvalho presents various representative images of those days (which need not always be unique to Bangalore alone) - the postman, barber, street vendors, bakers, old restaurants, cinema halls, photo studios, radio, Anglo-Indians, and so on. While some of the articles (like the one on circus) are very plain like some school essays, there are many interesting articles too in this collection, like the one on making of Christmas tree, where the author describes some of his experiences in a very humorous way. The cartoons by Paul Ferandes which accompany these articles are charming, but I wished that the book also included some photographs from old days.
It has been more than 20 years since I came to Bangalore. I can't say I was ever greatly excited about the city; Most of the time I have been complaining about the bad infrastructure and pollution, etc. But interestingly, looking back to my early days in this city, I too feel like it has been so long now that feelings of Nostalgia are creeping into my mind too! At evening time, during most of the Sundays 20 years back, I would be sitting on a double-decker BMTC bus from Kempegowda Bus Station to Jeevan Bima Nagar after watching various pathetic movies at some of those numerous single screen theaters at Majestic area, and the journey used to take just around 30 minutes! I remember going to Lakshmi Bhavana for "luxurious" dinner of roti and mixed vegetable curry, reading Samakalika Malayalam Varika while eating, and cooking rice with payar at home using the kerosene stove during weekdays. I greatly miss the crispy masala dosa and vada at Brindavan Restaurant, and the excitement of finding a book at Premier Book Shop, and the experience of watching a Malayalam film at Sangeeth Theater, sitting with more number of rats in the hall than human beings.