Christmas day saw Amitabh Bachchan turn nostalgic. He trekked down memory lane to recall how he used to celebrate the festival during his growing-up years in Allahabad (now known as Prayagraj), and also during his days in Calcutta (Kolkata), a city where he started out in life and holds very close to his heart.
In the early hours of Wednesday, Big B took to his blog to wish a Merry Christmas to fans and also reminisced how he used to celebrate Christmas along with his family and neighbours in Allahabad (Prayagraj) when he was a child.
"Christmas and the days of celebration were always within us from early times, right from the days of Allahabad .. our neighbours Rev Paul Das and his family lived opposite us from 17, Clive Road .. they were at 18 Clive Road .. and their children our group of friends – Shunila, Naresh, Malti .. Naresh was the one who suggested to my parents about Sherwood and then when he invited Principal Rev RC Llewelyn to visit us in Allahabad, the matter was firmly resolved .. we went to Sherwood," he wrote.
The veteran actor has recalled how all of them would sing carols and listen to "Silent Night" together, while his mother made coffee for everyone. The actor has also shared memories of gifts he received, and how Christmas was never complete without cakes.
"Christmas time was carol singing with the group that came over past midnight and Maa making the finest coffee for them in the cold, as we listened to the lilting 'Silent Night'.. there were little gifts that we looked out for form the Paul Das's under their Christmas tree .. little trinkets, miniature cars and the like .. there was so much satisfaction on getting a pencil box.. a rubber a ruler.. the special Christmas cake made by Mrs Paul Das was a delight .. Shunila played the piano for us as we sang Hymns.. it was such a divine moment.." recollected Big B.
The veteran actor has also expressed the pain he felt when a childhood friend passed away, and meeting his sister after almost 40 years in San Francisco.
He shared: "Naresh was a year senior to me in Sherwood, and his sudden passing at a young age was a huge shock to me.. I met Malti at one of our Concert tours in San Francisco, USA where she had migrated and married.. she was so apprehensive whether I would recognise her or not.. and when I was driving away and saw her desperate face I stopped the limo, called her over and she broke down in tears.. it was after almost 40 years that we were meeting .. the next day I called her and her family over to the Hotel and we reminisced old times.."
Then came his stint of staying in the City of Joy. Kolkata (then Calcutta) was where he landed his first job in the sixties. Kolkata's Christmas is absolutely magical, and Bachchan recalls every bit of that magnificent experience.
"BUT the true independent spirit of Christmas and New Year was celebrated in Calcutta, then.. during the time of my first job.. 1962 – 1968.. AHHH.. those were the days my friend.. freedom and cheer and the liberty of living on our own.. the group the company the various homes of friends the restaurants and the celebrations on Park Street.. which I must add still looks and dresses up for the occasion," he wrote.
"Christmas Eve Mass at the church , by the Maidan.. the divine feeling.. the sombre prayers.. and such nostalgia when I shot 'Teen' there some years ago.."
"Indeed as I write it is the time for the Mass.. and the mind and body travels there.."
"Calcutta was the epitome of the celebration during these times in the entire Country.. Trinca's , Moulin Rouge, Mogambo (Mocambo), Grand Hotel, Blue Fox.. Louis Banks, Pam Craine.. ahhh.. such delightful days.. and the non stop partying.." he recalled his pleasant memories, of the best restaurants and artists who performed at these places during the season.
That Calcutta holds a special place in Big B's heart, is evident from his next few lines where he has mentioned:
"What a city .. what atmosphere .. and what energy .. never experienced anything like that ever again .. timeless ..
.. and is it not strange that just the other day , a book was presented to me .. pictorial .. filled with pictures and history .. titled :
'CALCUTTA THEN and Now'"
Although Big B seems to be very happy as he recollects the golden memories of his younger days, the veteran actor has been keeping unwell on and off. He had to skip the National Film Awards ceremony in Delhi on December 23 because he was down with fever.
However, despite health scares every now and then, the 77-year-old actor has constantly been busy with work. He recently wrapped up the last leg of his film "Chehre" in Slovakia. He also attended the opening ceremony of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa last month.