Just near the first floor landing of the inner quarter of our Simla home was our mother’s bedroom which had a huge four–poster bed. This bed was the daily meeting place of our various Jorasanko aunts and female cousins who regularly gathered there, and whose sessions started from noon onwards. In the midst of card games they munched spicy muri and mouth-watering pakoras. It often occurred to us that perhaps this was the main purpose of these gatherings. On occasions, some variety was introduced in their programmes, such as, someone singing a song or my mother reciting her poems. We three siblings made occasional unwanted forays into her room in the hope that someone would be kind enough to pass us a fistful of muri or may be a pakora or two. Frankly they hardly ever noticed us, and in any case, we were not supposed to tarry there long. Indeed, we had to slip out almost immediately for children to be seen at the gatherings of elders was not the done thing.