This is a very long post. Not recommended for people with a low amount of patience or a high amount of 'better things to do'.
Am not sure what 'age' is doing to you. To me, it is doing all that it is ‘supposed’ to do. The very predictable strand of grey hair ‘peek-a-booing’ occasionally…the skin on the neck, hands and feet are not as wrinkle-free as it used to be…the heart confesses its age when I climb the stairs…the limbs pray for a bench/seat/pedicure when I am out there shopping for hours…the ears can’t stand loud pub music anymore…the body hates hangovers and gives warning signs when I have drank too much already….the memory gives me ‘you-have-exhausted-your-allocated-memory space-please-delete-old-ones-to-make-space-for-more’ alerts.
In short, I am getting old. I don’t mind the gray hair or wrinkles, but I can’t stand the thought of letting go of my most prized possessions…my memories. So I thought I will have a memory backup on my very own blog (just like I have backups for my photos and home videos in external hard drives, CDs and online galleries). They are presently crowded up in my recycle bin, waiting to be deleted forever. This is my last chance to retrieve them.
I have already documented some of my favorite memories on Rai&Rio’s blog, here. Following are the detailed descriptions:
In the past, I was immensely ashamed of having pooped in my pants in class 1. I returned home terribly smelly with my pants full of poop. Am amazed that Ma didn’t flush me with my pants. Now I see it as a funny memory. That’s another thing age is doing...biting away pieces from my ‘Shame Bar’ every day.
As for performing the jingle ‘Washing Powder Nirma’ on stage…in front of a hundred people who were expecting me to recite ‘Baburam Shapure’ (as that was what I had been taught, told to recite, and the announcer had announced that I was going to recite)…I am so proud of myself! I felt like singing ‘Washing Powder Nirma’, and so I did. Wish I still had that confidence, spontaneity and innocence. Worth mentioning, that it stood out among the ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ , ‘Hattima Tim Tim’, ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and I was an instant hit, basking in my celebrity status for months after that performance.
I also remember hanging by the gate waiting for Baba to return from the fish market. I was such a cat then, that people said I could almost eat raw fish (though I don’t remember if I ever did). The first thing that Parul di did, when Baba returned, was to fry me the biggest piece. And I would sit in one corner of the kitchen, happily munching the bones and licking my fingers. I wonder why I am not so fond of fish anymore. I know ‘curiosity’ kills the cat. Does ‘too much fish’ also kill the cat? Does anyone know?
My fascination with diaries and stationary has come a long way. I played with bits of paper, diaries from past years that still had empty pages in them, pens of all shapes and sizes. I pretended that I was a senior bank executive (as I looked up to Mama, who indeed held such a role, and also had many diaries). I had a red plastic phone that I used to call up all my ‘customers’ and I frantically scribbled on my diary as I spoke to them on the phone (as I had seen people doing in banks). When I got bored, I became a bus conductor and tore pages from my diary to make bus tickets that I sold to the ‘passengers’. Baba never quite overcame the heartache caused by the thought that other children were doctors and teachers in their childhood games, while I was a bus conductor (he seemed to have totally forgotten that I was a very senior bank executive too!).
My acting skills got critically acclaimed when I performed the role of Cinderella (my first time on a stage). I was so small then, that I couldn’t speak. So someone who could, spoke from the background…narrating the plight of Cinderella. I was just supposed to make some minor hand movements and smile and cry on cue. When the curtains went up, and the flash lights fell on my face…and I saw those faces in the audience (Baba with his camera in front…and Ma beaming proudly amongst her friends)…I started crying. Since that was really my ‘crying’ scene, the audience was amazed at what a natural I was! Somebody patted Ma on the back and said ‘She’ll make you proud. So small, yet none of the adult actors can cry like her.’ Only minutes later they realized that I was actually crying…because I was scared. The voice at the back had moved to happier days…and I was still crying. As the last and the only resort, the curtains dropped before time, and I was dragged out of the stage by the director. With a pained face and wounded pride, Ma took me in her arms. I wasn’t such a natural after all.
When I took my first baby steps, Ma got me a red pair of ‘paek paek’ shoes. No, that’s not the name of the shoe. I refer to them as ‘paek paek’ as that was the sound they made if someone walked in them. Wearing a red dress and the shiny new shoes, I went to the playground with Ma. I think Ma wanted to ‘show-off’ to her friends that I had started walking. Again, I failed her (and proved that ‘showing-off’ never pays). As the first step was taken, the ‘paek’ was heard…a heartbeat was missed… a screech was emitted…and a jump was taken to Ma’s arms. I was so terrified of the sound that I refused to walk for a long time after that. So, while my other friends walked and ran, I crawled and squatted.
These are some of my favorite memories. Some I vaguely remember. Some I remember quite well because I have heard people talking about it a million times (especially the ‘poop’ one, as it was a family joke). My obsession with preserving memories has manifested itself in a variety of ways…photo albums, scrap books and keep sake boxes. Read this to know more.
Like my ‘I like’ list, this post made me very happy. So I urge the ‘regulars’ (you know if you are one) to write about their Favourite Childhood Memories. Even if you are one of those rare people whose memory has been blessed with lots of space (like Google …’Over 7338.647885 megabytes (and counting) of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message.’), you will never regret writing this one.