We lived in the city for a short while but I was too small to remember many details, other than the fact that we stayed near Qaiser Bagh and Baara Dari and Dikshit Uncle gave me a bath in Chelpark Royal Blue for a fancy dress get together at Cathedral where I went as the baby Lord Krishana. I suspect that my unwavering, albeit misplaced belief, in my ability to charm the fairer sex may have some co-relation to this incident so early on in life! There are two other incidents that I remember, one I will specifically omit to mention but the other one I don't mind sharing. Mittho, our pet parrot was left out in the balcony one rainy night and ended up looking really sick. Friends and family decided he had caught a cold and amongst various other medical procedures, cough syrup drops were downed his throat using those medicinal droppers. Mittho did not survive.
Lucknow was a city where we had both our sets of grandparents and invariably all our summer and winter holidays were spent in the city. The journey, itself used to be quite an event. There were no direct trains from Chandigarh and we used to invariably take a bus to Ambala and then take the train to Lucknow. Back in the 1980's the trains were invariably very late or maybe it was just our unique experience. Since Baba hardly had any leave, he would accompany us to Ambala from where Amma shouldered the responsibility of getting us three siblings to Lucknow in one piece.
The other unique aspect of IInd class train travel in the 1980's and early 1990's were the crowds. The crowds seeking to travel always seemed to be 10 times the seating capacity. So getting into the bogey required special expertise and some unique tools like knitting needles which were most effective in creating the necessary space that would make it feasible for a lady to negotiate the unruly crowds. Amma would determinedly make her way to the ladies coupe holding on to the three of us while simultaneously shouting instructions to the coolie. Once inside the ladies coupe, she would plonk us all on the top most berth and get busy with insuring that the luggage was safely tucked away below the berth.
If the train was not very late then we would find ourselves at the Charbagh station, Lucknow, the next morning, just about when the sun was rising. That was a good time to reach, the city had yet to wake up from its revelry of the previous night. We would have the streets to ourselves other than perhaps the buffaloes on the way back to their sheds from an early morning bath in the Gomti river.
From the railway platform itself, hordes of rickshaw pullers would start jostling for our attention. "Mine is a new rickshaw", one would say. "I know the address, come with me" another would say