Previous- Shaping up my Mind- III
You wouldn’t believe that I still do remember my early childhood days spent in Lakshmi Nagar. That was before I started going to school.. What was my age then??
Often sitting at the entrance of the room, I pointed at the dust particles saying that they were alien- ships; mom humbly nodded. The room was a huge hall. Mom cooked atop an angeethi set in a Baalti with mud in the kitchen outside. Oh yes, she came from a very affluent family only to be doing that and much other inferior jobs. What I mean is this: even after getting married to a man, why a woman have to slog that bad? I would have declared that with utmost pride if mom had stayed on her own and then struggled this stringently.
Back in those days, and even now; the very essence of getting married is to achieve stability and settlement, and certainly not slog like a maid servant. But then, good for her because she had remained blind- folded and believed in such a thing. Think of a girl who had been brought up like a princess and then, demoted to be the house- keeper; with not even respectable means of working equipments to play around with.
I would not appreciate mom giving 1st portions of delicacies to uncle. God, I have remembered how she had not let me have the cabbage- stuffed “pitha”, for uncle to have that. That was last but one plot in Lakshmi Nagar L- Block. One Dotto Deeda stayed in that line. She would often invite me over for lunch. She spoke a different Bangla- “Aar Daal Deemu?” (Should I serve you more daal). Her son was a trustee in ISCKON later and had booked multiple flats only to sell them at higher prices in our apartments. So much of devotion..!!
I remember one Holi festival and that small “pitchkari” too. Peachish orange in color, it looked like flower vase. Dad had wanted me to stay indoors- like, was I to obey? Of course, I was splashed with color water, by across the road neighbors; I had screamed- “how dare you did that; you better come down and then…” I was pulled inside, changed and sat. Diwali was- much how I celebrate even now. Cotton wool stuffed in earlobes and scared till the last of my toe- finger nail or till the tip of my hair. I have never liked fire- works and crackers. Mom and uncle had gone to masi’s place. Dad had taken a few of the “charkhis” out and had lighted them in the huge verandah in the front of the room. I had sat stuffed up like a wet bird; vulnerable, shivering and scared of the outer elements.. I don’t get stuffed up anymore but definitely do not dare to walk on the road too; where the careless people “enjoy” bursting those obnoxious sounding ridiculous crackers which is only a packaged gunpowder. Aren’t “Aliva” too crackers..?? Nevermind.
I left those wooden chairs at one of my landlord’s place a few years back, while shifting to Malviya Nagar. I was tired of carrying them. The set table is still what I possess, re- done though; massively. I too “labored” to make that as an elaborate show- off side- table. The chair cover was white and mustard yellow, with yellow and brown stripes, the ball was red and white. My frilly frock was parrot green with fluorescent yellow frills. That’s Khattar uncle from dad’s office. The two girls are my cousins. My 2nd elder paternal uncle’s daughters: Tua (in centre) and Mou. That was a red dress I had worn. I do have a yellow lacy frock still with me.
Uncle used to get Milk in the mornings. Once he had bought Gems on my insistence. Dad had repeated the act the next morning- out of competition? Uncle had once shown me how to drape a sari with his maroon lungi. When mom was back, I had amazed her with my “sari- act”. Dad had bought those buiscuits with alphabets on them. I would get a few every morning. Often dad would get the Oleanders for me to play with; at times in white and peach too.
Okay, I was little and young. I didn’t know anything of whatever I did. I mean I didn’t do that on purpose. I only wanted to catch the rat. Dad would come out of the washroom in (only) towel, and then change to his underwear and office trousers. I would stand hidden behind the door and pounce on the “rat” while he would be changing; just when he would be pulling his undie up and let go of the towel, I would pounce on the “rat”. That had gone on for close to a week till I really “caught hold of the rat”. Mom had stood frozen in the kitchen as she spotted me doing whatever I did. I held the rat and jumped up and down with joy. Mission accomplished, I had let go of him.. Never repeated that again….. LOL. I was one curious little thing and please, I didn’t know anything about that.. believe me..
Dad had taken me to the nearest small school; I had insisted. Since morning, I had held the Saleti (small black board) and gestured walking to the school. No sooner I had reached; I “suffered” a change of mind. The teacher had given me a toffee and I had thrown that right back. She had then stood a girl asking if she was beaten up there; she had answered in negative. I had replied that she lied.. What tantrums.. OMG..!!
Dad cycled to work at CP. The trouser rings were often given to me to play with- carefully. I never liked chapati- I still don’t. Doctors would tell mom not to feed rice when running temperature; eating rotis dipped in mild- eeaauh!! Saboodana- pathetic…. I hated them..
I never drank from a bottle- always from a bowl 🙂 Mom scared me with that whenever I dis- obeyed her. I had once asked her to buy an orange candy icecream; she had bought two- but let me have them upon reaching home. We had gone out to some polace at 11-ish. She had sat me on the floor with a big bowl (that I got rid of a few years back), so nothing dripped on floor. Once, she had beaten me up real bad, don’t recall my offense 😦 She had beaten me up black and blue and had left me in the afternoon sun in the verandah. She had picked me up in the evening and soothed Boroline all over me. I had not even as much as whispered- much less cry. She had later confessed that she had lost all her patience bringing up the kids, dad had made her to. She had given me peeled peanuts to eat out of the same bowl. I had quietly finished them. Mom had thought that I had not registered what she had murmured between her sobs- I had. And I remember them well. The house in the pics is the same Lakshmi Nagar L- block house.
Mom had told me that I never cried when a baby. I didn’t yell of hunger or howl loud. I only kept playing around. I have a faint memory of how I had broken all my beaded strings playing with Mou on the terrace top. People liked me so much that they bought gifts asking mom my hand in promise..
My handwriting was as if imprinted through a Stencil. My folks had made me scribble before I attended Nursery formally. My Handwriting is good- and I can bet anything upon that. I won the 1st prize in Handwriting competition when in 4th standard, sponsored by Gold Spot. I had read that Pigeon story and had translated that on the spot; of whatever I had conceived in my mind a year back from then. I had become a name in my school. I was only in 4th standard and my classmates (and even seniors) looked upto me. I had become an Idol- in a way. I had so basked in that fame- glory.
It was a Royal feeling when they announced my name before the Assembly- the days my bus reached late to immediately gather near the Medical Room; where the “News reader” and the “Announcer” was to mark her attendance before the morning prayers. I was amongst the Choir- group too. My typical school- day began with singing prayer and then a patriotic song on mike, with assembly announcements, rehearsing for the next morning prayer in the music room- that was often excluded for me. My classmates marked my daily attendance; I would be held stuck in the music room for some or the other rehearsals. It was as if a Celebrity Life that I led.. I would then leave for the venue straight from the school!!
I want that back and all of that. And lot more..
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