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11 Social and Cultural Life

Memories of Sano Twena

Childhood Memories

by Sanoo Twena

We were the first Jewish family who moved to Agarpara, in winter of 1936. I was 6 years old, and during the first year – the senior year of the kindergarten, was the lone member going to school in Calcutta, the Calcutta Girls High School, the same school to which my mother went, and one of the teachers, Mrs. Hequet, also taught her. I was in the care of Lalu bearer, as he was called, and I went by bus, with three changes: first from Kamarhatty to Baranagore, probably by the No. 33 bus, then from Baranagore to Dhakhineshwar – for Shambazaar, and finally from Shyambazaar to the school by tramcar – and the school stop was at a Chemist shop where the large bottles with coloured liquids were in the shop behind the window. I learned what the liquids were for later. When sent to Dr. Das (the old man who served the factory – he was from Burma) he would call out to the dispenser–“ Abinash – the red mixture”, and I was given it in a bottle to which was pasted vertically a line of squares to indicate each square dose.

I recall the laundry and dry cleaning shop at the end of the journey with the board legend “We dye to live”. As a little boy I would puzzle over - should it have been “die” instead? They also dyed clothes.

Medicine was much simpler those days!

(Sano emigrated to Israel from Calcutta in the 60's.)