Stories of your childhood
Stories of your childhood that has become a part of you, stories that warm the coccles of your heart, stories that are legendary on your own rights. Here’s presenting some more stories of childhood from two of my friends and readers of mumways. Thank you so much Archana Mohan (Achu) and Sumita (Lipi ba) Dutta for taking your time to write for mumways and sharing stories of your childhood.
Archana Mohan (Bangalore)
Those who know me may not believe this but I was quite the terror in my time! I must have been 10 or 11 when a young Gujarati couple moved into our building in Mumbai. The lady was very religious and spiritual and she started a Shloka class at her house for kids in our building. I was miserable. She had convinced my parents into enrolling me for two incredibly trying hours every Sunday morning of religious discourse when I could have happily played outside. I paid no attention in class so she singled me out, often screamed at me and made sarcastic comments aimed at my convent school. I was totally fed up with her.
One day after a thoroughly irritating class, I saw her brand new pair of slippers on the shoe stand outside her door. I flicked it and hid it in the watchman’s cabin. Within minutes she discovered that it was missing and wailed dramatically. She dispatched all of us kids to find it and began to pray fervently with her beads. I was having so much fun! After sometime she panicked and raised the stakes. “A gift to the child that finds them”, she cried. I sprang into action and picked them up from where I had hidden them and presented it to her. She hugged and kissed me and praised me sky high. I waited eagerly for the gift. Here it is she handed me something proudly. I grabbed it from her and opened the cover impatiently. What else? It was a booklet of shlokas!
Sumita Dutta, London
My Childhood Memories
‘What one loves in childhood stays in the heart forever’.
Childhood is that magical season of life where we create memories as colourful as spring, which is filled with innocence as white as winter snow, bask in the warmth of an autumn glow and adventurous as an endless summer. I had the privilege of enjoying such a childhood surrounded by loving family and friends, creating that part of my life which shapes me who I am today. And today I will recount one such memory, among so many in my treasure chest, to relive and relish like a comforting sugar candy.
Growing up in Assam ( a state nestled in the north eastern part of India) in the 70’s and 80’s was a tough time. The Assam agitation was rife and our life was often rudely interrupted by some form of social agitation or the other. But despite all that happened around us, we kids still found ways to have fun and adventure – always the right mix to create magical memories.
Sundays were the special days, days when we would visit one of my uncles and meet up with my cousins who stayed in different parts of Guwahati, the city that I belong to. My brother and I would hurriedly finish our homework and get ready to go even before my parents had a chance to enjoy a lazy Sunday breakfast. And no sooner did we reach my Uncle’s house, I would jump off the rickshaw and my knee still has the evidence of the many bruises I had due to a rough landing on the unpaved roads. My mum would often have strict instructions of what to do and what not to do, but they were lost in the monotone of a frayed speech – said but not heard.
One of the first things we would do is to make our ‘houses’ between the tall beetle nut trees with bedcovers stolen from the house. The ‘house’ often came with front gardens and sit out areas – perfect in a way that only a child can believe in. This would be followed by getting food from the kitchen to have a picnic in our ‘house’ and even the everyday food seemed like a culinary highlight.
Once we started to get bored with the house, we would set off to the garden where there was a mango tree that seemed to be full of mystery and intrigue to our little minds. One of us would be brave enough to climb it and inspect the crow’s nest that we were convinced had a family of crows who were just that tad bit shy to make friends with us. We would try to find if there were any eggs but were always disappointed, of course never that it was an abandoned nest. Then we would rush off to an empty plot of land next to the house that also had a pond. The nifty among us would make fishing rods out of sticks lying around in the garden and then began a game that taught me patience. I would always get squeamish with the baits of worms which my cousin happily gathered for us and was kind to hook it for me, but the thrill of getting a fish was too enticing to give in to my fears. Sitting on the wall, setting up my fishing rod and waiting endlessly for a bite – though I don’t remember much success with fishes, I do remember learning how important it is to hope. That one day, there will be a fish at the end of the line.
As the evening drew closer, we would be summoned back to the house, get a proper clean up and returned back to a state more in line with my mum’s view of how ‘decent’ children should be. We never remember much about the lunches and the rest of the food as they were just in the background while we had all these adventures. And while we were getting ready to go, we would make plans for the next weekend and all the follow up adventures. Sunday came to an end but we can always look forward to the next time – a life lesson that I learnt – look ahead instead of just looking back. As I look back, I realise that our days were not heavily supervised by an adult and much of it was spent outdoors where we ‘invented’ all our games. Through all of these, we formed our bonds that bind us all to this day. I remember that as we had all our adventures outside, the house would instead reverberate with laughter of sibling camaraderie among my parents, uncles and aunts. And today, every time my cousins and I would meet, that sound of laughter gets a little bit louder as we all sit together and have fun just as we did during our childhood. Yes, the laughter of those who left us for the other world is missing, but new ones are getting added and the pride, joy and comfort of being part of the family is as strong as ever – a family where we share our tears and the sadness becomes less and where we share our laughter and the happiness becomes more.
A magical childhood – with bonds that last even today and will continue to last as a legacy of our family.
What beautiful, heartfelt, soulful and fun memories! I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did. Thank you ever so much Achu and Lipi ba for sharing stories of your childhood.