Keith Kanga My Childhood Friend - Memories Revisited, originally uploaded by firoze shakir photographerno1.
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Many a great dreams great personalities dark thoughts despair morbidity inhabited this house Jony Castle Wodehouse Road Colaba , it touched even those who passed this way.
Keith Kanga was a Indian Rock icon founder of Atomic Forest , his parents had died when he was a little child , he was bought up by his maternal grand mother Granna as we called her she a fierce Jeovahs Witness , she was fine as a human being but a bigot all the way if you belonged to any other religion , her religion was the only Salvation , Watchtower and Paradise .
She hated the Roman Catholics as a Cobra hates a Mongoose, it was in the nature of her religion , it had more hate for others than mere love for Jesus Christ.Her faith finally destroyed her and her grandson too, and though Keith was bought up by her he did not inherit her hate , he was the richest kid the only Richie Rich of Wodehouse Road Colaba.
If Keith's custody for which there was a bitter court battle a lot of wealth at stake had gone to his Parsi relatives the story of his life might have been different and Keith was not a Bawa per se only 50%from his father Dossabhai Kanga a dapper industrialist's side ..owner of race horses and owner of New Era Printing Press Worli .
Keith Kanga was his mother Gwendolyn or Gwyn , his mother was a beauty of her time , she smoked she drank she was a foreigner from Sri Lanka of Dutch origins I think..In my entire life in retrospection I have till date never seen a more beautiful woman than her, that in spite of her beauty her wealth her antecedents she allowed Kieth to play with a Muslim tailors son , living in a servants quarters next to her house but on the other wing of Khatau Bhuvan now Jony Castle speaks volumes of her humility and her love of humanity.
Granny called my dad Darzi , I was the Darzis boy, but Granny liked me simply because I never refuted her bigotry or religious views, she gave me food to eat and Keiths old clothes were always new when I wore them generously presented by her.
I dont know but it is strange she went after the Catholics and the Parsis but was mild on Hindus and Muslims..
And without Granny I would have been on the streets literally , when we moved out of Khatau Bhuvan the servants quarter we lived in belonged to late actor Nawab Kashmiris family the new owner Mr Matthews bought our house 3 room on Wodehouse Road for a princely sum of Rs 19000 .
He allowed us to stay at his Breach Candy apartment at Neelam for a few months than we came to 3 Mohini Mansions Strand Cinema Colaba.
I kept in touch with Keith , than at our new house tragedy struck when I was to give my board exams , my dad lost heavily in his business I was studying at Holy Name High School , my dad rented out our house and packed of the entire family my mom sisters to Lucknow, I spoke to Granny and she told me to stay with Keith till my exams , and this one kind act changed my life , I studied at Keith's house , I was cleaning the house ...swapping the floors taking the horny bitch Fu Fu who was always on heat .. for walks late in the night..
Morning was Bible study for two hours and I never cribbed I thought it was part of life's punishment my dad and I and a younger brother Shakil who was with him , never met, my younger brother sacrificed a lot gave up his school and took up tailoring our family business.
My mother carried her cross in Lucknow very hard times making envelops and taking care of her brood.. it was the darkest days of our lives , I try not to ever think about it.. Granny had decided I had to convert to Jeovahs Witness and this is truth without malice I was not so religious either , so one morning I was taken to the sea side close to Badhwar Park , for my baptism to my good luck it rained Granny bundled us back home keeping my tryst with Christianity for another day.
In the mean time my Dad got his bearings back, he came one day to Jony Castle to take me back, he had changed he had got back the house 3 Mohini Mansions from the people he had rented it out to..my returning was not taken lightly by Granny and this was a moment from a Dickensian novel.. she took me aside blessed me .and was very sad at my going later I was replaced by the kid of a Madrasi family Joboy.
She had come to love me , I used to press her varicose feet all night as she read out the Bible to me , I slept on the floor beneath the bed with horny always on heat Fu Fu as my companion.. bleeding the bedsheets and my soul.
So these are memories that stirred my soul on this once text less post..
Keith was my childhood friend the best friend I ever had he treated me fairly I ate his left overs but they were the best food I ever had those days of penury and hard times.
I came to know of Keith's passing away from a evening newspaper I read his obituary I was stunned , he had sold out his palatial home to Mr Matthews Jony Castle , and had moved away to Delhi..
I had his childhood pictures I still have them I saved them since 50 years ...and than I posted them on the Internet.. 6 years from now.
Keith would meet me once in a while at Slip Disc where they played I would pass him by smoking a joint I used to work late at Burlingtons Taj Mahal my shift ended at midnight , we would talk of old times and Keith loved my mother.
He never came to my house at 3 Mohini Mansion Strand , but memories kept this relationship alive..he studied at a boarding in Darjeeling and later came back to Mumbai and studied at Cathedral John Canon under Mr Gunnery.
The other fiend from thse times was Vimal Patacharige a Sri Lankan his father worked as a goldsmith for Gazdar Taj..most of the goldsmith of Gazdar Taj were workers from Sri Lanka.than known as Ceylon.I dont know what happened to Vimal I tred a lot to find out about him his sisters Sunetra and Ratika.
Dr Pavris daughters his neighbors might know but I never knew them too well to inquire about my lost childhood friend.
The other surviving friend from that era is Rayomand Framroze Ray Framroze of Framroze Court .. Marine Drive we keep in touch through Facebook.
I think this is the most lucid account of my relationship with Keith Kanga , I was not into Music I visited Keith at 3 Coins when they played at Pune as 100 Ton Chicken..the drummer was Sanjay Dutts cousin from Chateau Marine Marine Drive relative of Nargis Duttji..
Than I remember Neil Chattophadaya , Eric and Phillip Vaz kids of Chic Choclit Post Office Colaba.
The only words of Keiths Memories were words of an Album, Blind Faith by Eric Clapton
Following the shadows of the skies waiting for the ships to sail or are they figments of my mind waiting for the ships to sail ...