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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Recounting a Childhood Memory

There are some childhood memories which leave an indelible imprint on your psyche. These remain ensconced in the subconscious and resurface whenever triggered. One such memory which is still fresh in my mind happened a long, long time back and it tells a lot about me as a child.

When I was a toddler I was only interested in playing, playing and more playing. First four years of my life were spent in my father’s village. He was in the army and most of the time away from home. Mother had to stay near the extended family. Mother used to tell me, “You were so active that by ten months you had already started walking and while in the crawling stage you would even cross street drains to reach at your aunt’s courtyard where all the children would assemble to play. You would sit in the middle of the circle of children and would keep clapping, amusing one and all.”

As I grew a bit more, my penchant for playing intensified. There was an incident peculiar to me and worth penning down for its quirky aspect and incidentally was the outcome of my obsession for playing.

I was about five and by this time we had shifted to the city. Much against my opposition and in spite of my howling and tantrums, I was admitted to a school. I cried every morning because I was afraid of the maid (she was coal dark and one eyed) who chaperoned me for a few days. However after the initial hiccups I made many friends and was very happy.

One day it so happened, that instead of going straight home after school hours, I was tempted to accompany my friend to her house for more playing. We busied ourselves with one thing or the other. Her mother surprisingly did not object at all. On the other side hell broke loose in my house. (I could fathom the gravity when I grew up.) My parents had searched everywhere, the school its vicinity and made all enquiries. They were imagining the worst. As a last resort they hired a drummer who went from street to street announcing the lost child’s description, asking people if they had seen her somewhere.

The irony of ironies is that the drummer also came to the street where I was playing with my friend. She called me saying, “Look who is there.” We curiously peeked out of the window and that was all. So engrossed were we in our games. Her mother did not pay any attention either. At last it was quite late in the evening; hungry and tired I was homeward bound. As soon as I stepped into the yard of my house, I saw through the open door so many ladies surrounding my mother who was in tears. (This scene I still recall very vividly). I don’t know how at that tender age things became crystal clear to me in a second. I ran to my mother and holding her tightly started howling at the top of my voice. Ladies dispersed immediately. Nobody said a word. I was too young to be reprimanded and what I could gather was an immense sense of relief on my parents' faces.


  1. good of your parents not to spank you then and there. In our homes, those days, it would have been the norm!!!

    It was easier for us to play without a care. Now the home work itself puts the fear of God in the children, and parents are too scared to let them loose for fear of other dangers.

    In out time, life was much simpler, I think.

  2. I was the darling of both my parents and they knew that i loved playing all the time. You rightly said,life was much more natural,and our parents were never afraid because there was so much trust among people.

    I really feel for our grand children who have so many constraints because Man has become so diabolical.