Malvika’s Perambulator

Eucalyptus was a buzzword those days. Every fool and his Chacha was busy planting eucalyptus. So was I!

We had bought a piece of land near Chandigarh and were also building a house there. I had been married only a few years and that was when my wife decided to deliver a bouncing baby!

Both of us had been living in a tent. It was the middle of a North Indian winter. No place for a baby.

Bringing the Caravan home

On a trip to Delhi, I saw a caravan parked by the roadside. A man was washing and cleaning it. I drove over to see it. The man cleaning it was wearing Air Force overalls.

I pulled over and stuck up a conversation with the gentleman. I said I had stopped by to see this beautiful contraption.

“What are you going to do with it?’’

“I don’t know!’’ said the Squadron Leader.

“You want to sell it? I asked.

A big smile split his face and he said yes!

I drove home to the farm from Delhi with the caravan! My daughter would have a home, well, of sorts. I continued to stay in the tent.

Malvika spent the first 8 months of her baby-hood in the caravan. Warm, dry, comfortable with Mother by her side. The caravan has two bench seats and an attached toilet. We could not have asked for anything better. The house was complete and we all moved in. The caravan was a comfortable place to sit in during the day.

Malvika grew up and went to Sanawar. Then onto Windsor University in Canada.

As it looks today

The only one who continued to make full use of the caravan was my octogenarian mother. After her bath, she would go to the caravan for her breakfast, come rain or sunshine. She spent the whole day there. After her lunch, she would have her siesta in the caravan. It was only when it started to get dark that she would come indoors.

Malvika had got a job and moved to Delhi. My mother passed into the Happy Hunting Ground in the sky. The caravan just stood around. It was of great emotional value and lovely memories.

Then came Corona and everyone’s life went topsy-turvy. Malvika had to work from home. She packed her apartment in Delhi and came back to be with us.

Interior is as colourful and comfortable

Malvika is highly organised, she continued to work a 9-to-5 day. The caravan became her office. She moved into the garden and had it painted a bright yellow with polka dots. The interior was done up with colourful cushions.

Thanks to Malvika the caravan had a new lease on life.

H.Kishie Singh is based in Chandigarh and has been a motoring correspondent for newspapers like The Statesman, New Delhi, and The Tribune. His column ‘Good Motoring’, for The Tribune ran for over 27 years. He has been also been the contributing editor for magazines like Car & Bike, Auto Motor & Sport, and Auto India. His latest book Good Motoring was published recently and has co-authored a book with The Dalai Lama, Ruskin Bond, Khuswant Singh, and others, called The Whispering Deodars.

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