In the olden days, many people had their own cows and buffaloes to take
care of their dairy requirement. Still, a milkman was very much a part of the
village or town scene.

First, we had the milkman leading the cow or the buffalo by a rope and
milk the animal right in front of our house. For this he would bring his own
vessel. But he would show it to us to prove that the vessel was indeed empty
and did not contain any smuggled water. He would start milking only after
we gave the ok. He would then measure out the frothy, pleasantly warm milk
into our vessel. It was a different matter that, though the milk was not
adulterated, the volume of the milk would go down once the froth and the
temperature went down.

Next came the ‘bhaiyya’s who would bring pre-milked milk in their huge
cans tied to their cycle carriers. Though there was no problem of foam, these
men were known to dilute the milk generously from the roadside taps
depending on the demand. A daily squabble between him and the housewife
was a regular feature. One of the ‘bhaiyya’s used to walk in directly into my
kitchen, pour the measured milk into any vessel available and push off. This
would lead to quite a few awkward situations as I had just then been

Then came the private dairies with delivery boys who would supply milk
from containers equipped with taps. Though there would be no adulteration,
there was the problem of foam created by the rich release.

Finally came the Government dairies (followed by private ones) supplying
pure milk in sachets with the date printed on them. Even these had been
rumored to be tampered with syringes but with reliable agents taking over, the rumor died a natural death. Modern children are so used to this source of milk that many of them do not even know that a cow/buffalo is the actual
source of milk and not the sachets. This milk would be delivered at our
doorstep by a person employed by the agent. These milk routes would be
sometimes undertaken by educated persons holding other jobs and they
would be doing this only as a side job and consequently would be very

Our milkman was a cheerful bachelor who was also an Insurance agent.

When he came to deliver milk, he had a spring in his step, his cycle horn
would honk merrily and he would exchange greetings on festival and other
special days. If we did not by any chance respond to the repeated honks of his cycle horn, he would come inside, ring the doorbell and hand over the
milk. Even his leave of absence would be intimated to us with a panache; he
would write down the ‘off’ days on a chit of paper carrying his Insurance
agent rubber stamp When he went on leave, he would go happily and return
even more happily. Later, as his days of absence grew more, he outsourced
the job to ‘boys’. I got to know that his increased visits to the village were
due to the fact of his getting engaged to be married.

One day, he brought us his wedding invitation. His bride was a college going girl who would not join him in Bangalore till she finished her

I noticed that he continued to be happy going home but would
understandably be a bit depressed when he came back.

One day I asked him if his wife’s examinations were over and that if she would be joining him in Bangalore. He responded in a funny, half despairing
tone, “No, she has a baby now.”

So, his absences and outsourcings continued, more than ever. One day he
took all the ‘boys’ also home– leaving us in a lurch; the occasion for it being
the naming ceremony of the second baby!

Now our delivery man has become surly and snappy, going round with
a permanent sulk. His step no longer has a spring. Instead, his whole
demeanor and behaviour reveal a sort of impatience. If you are not there
with the first apologetic honk of a horn, you will go milkless that day. He
couldn’t care less. No greetings are exchanged on Divali and New Year’s

I am hoping that soon his wife and children join him and they lead a happy
life in Bangalore. Is it too much to expect a cheerful face first thing in the
morning, if not a big smiley?

Moreover, what would be his role if we revert back to the glass bottles,
to avoid plastic?



Looking at the collection of my blogs__ all centered on the family, my son remarked, “Now we HAVE to do something so that mom could write about it.” But no such fears! Born in a big family and married into an even bigger one, I never run short of topics for my blogs as my dear kinsmen keep providing something or other to write about.
One such incident was a very recent one. My brother-in law not only narrated this to me but also gave me permission to write about it.

We being ex- Air Force people are regular visitors to the Command Hospital. When both of us have to go, my husband takes the car out, while the two- wheeler will suffice him when he goes alone. My brother-in law, also a retired Air Force man and the owner of a car, never believed in going all the way to the Command Hospital. He preferred to pay the local civilian doctors and get the services.

But once, he happened to be convinced that Military doctors were the best for his particular problem and so he started going to them. After taking the car once or twice, he explored other avenues and found that going by the City bus was highly economical, that too on a Senior citizen concession. He would always come and tell us how his expenditure incurred on each hospital trip ran into single digits though he travelled in all luxury.

The other day, he happened to have drawn a big amount of money from the bank for a family function. As the function did not demand all of it, he was carrying the rest, Rs 6000 to be exact, in his wallet along with his driving license, senior citizenship card and RSI card (Defense Club).After one of his trips to the hospital by bus, he discovered that the wallet was missing!
When he told me about it, I assured him that the wallet would be returned to him as his cards carried his name and telephone number. Sure enough, next morning he received a call from a North Indian Software Engineer who had come to Bangalore on work. He had found the wallet on a bus other than the one my brother-in law had taken. But when he went to collect his wallet he found all the cards intact, but not a single paisa in cash, because that’s how the gentleman had found it.

But, I was all admiration for my relative for saving precious diesel for the country at the cost of his own wealth.