Revolving around memories of Rivoli…Growing up in Simla of the Sixties
I was never ever a movie buff … perhaps watched only a few movies, counted on finger tips, in theaters of Simla of my times…and after leaving Simla none at all!
But curious as a cat or “Rakaat” as Amma would call me….I would go to almost all movie theaters and watch the coloured snapshots of the movies which would be displayed behind a wire gauzes notice board. These pictures would give me a chance to imagine all kinds of stories. Rivoli was the nearest to Lower Bazaar, rather all were! Whenever we would go to Sood Junj ghar, we the kids, would run to the Rivoli theater to look at the colourd pictures pinned on the display board. Once we tiptoed the stairs up the hall and sneaked in to see the room wherefrom the movie was run! How excited we were as if we had become privy to something precious!
Many a times I would stand reclining at the wooden railing towards the skating rink side and watch downwards. It was mostly when the skating rink was used as a mela cum exhibition site with a big merry-go-round….the biggest and the highest we had seen in Simla! Bauji took us for a ride on that merry-go-round but how afraid I was …my little heart literally ticking so loudly…. The merry-go-round would go up and I would wait whether it would be parallel to the Rivoli building or go higher …but it was much lower than the Rivoli building.
And how can I forget about the tragic fall of so many people who had stood watching the annual carnival from the Rivoli side. The wooden railing gave in and people fell down…tumbling down the hillside! I never went near to the Rivoli building for so many days.
I watched a few movies at Rivoli but what comes to my mind is Sangam with Amma and Bauji and my elder sister. And later when I was in college Chalti ka naam Gaadi with my friends and classmates!
With Rivoli going down….a part of my growing up years in Simla of the Sixties has gone down. Down but not done away with as it would be always a part of our shared memories! Long live Rivoli!