Human memory confuses me. Rather, my memory confuses. I happen to have a very selective memory. I can only remember things that I don’t really need to remember. I can recall what I wore over a decade back on some particular occasion, without photographic evidence, mind me, but can’t seem to recollect what I read in the newspaper this morning.
My childhood to me is one such huge compilation of fragments of utterly stupid yet non-regretful activities.
The following are some of the activities that I used to do frequently as a kid and distinctly remember.
Tomato rasam for my father: Fortunately enough, for most of my schooling I got to study in a school that had working hours from 7.00 AM to 1.20PM and hence got a lot of time for all essential childhood activities: Playing! Also, we had 5 working days in a week, Saturday-Friday, in a week till 5th standard. This particular incident dates to much before that, my kindergarten days when I had school from 8.00AM to 12.30PM. Most of my time at home was spent scribbling on the walls, raiding my mother’s cupboard and calling up people. Yes, I was capable of dialing up uncles and aunts and having long conversation with them. Something that I just can’t seem to do now. On Thursdays in particular, I would want to cook for my father. Many a times my mother would give me petty chores such as setting up the table or cleaning vegetables, but some other times, I was just too cool for such tasks. I would cut a tomato, tearfully cut half an onion shabbily, cut one green chilly with a pair of orange scissors and toss them into a bowl of water. I would ask my mother to set it on the stove and then add salt and one spoon of rasam powder. I had no patience to wait for it to boil either. Hence, in another minute my bowl of floating tomatoes in the name of rasam would be ready. Ta da! I would serve it along with whatever was prepared for lunch and sit right opposite to my father at the dining table, eagerly, to watch him eat and review it. Every single time he would show the super symbol with his fingers and say ‘ first class’. Oh dear father! Most of the times I wouldn’t even bother tasting it. What parents do to make us happy. 🙂
Mangoes in a carton: Every summer, a wooden box full of mangoes packed in hay would arrive some day at home. The joy! Everybody in our house loves mangoes and were these mangoes amazing. The were our beloved ‘Pakistani mangoes’. I would always count the number of mangoes in the box to just forget the number instantly. My mother would neatly cut them and serve it to us and we would still end up eating with our whole bodies. Man do I hate washing off mango stains from my t-shirts now. Occasionally my mother would prepare divine mango milkshakes out of these. My sister and I would both want to attack the seed, one amongst the many many things I really don’t understand why I did then. My prominent memory out of this remains the white turned yellow clothes after the mango consumption session.
‘Tang parapara’: Visiting family friends was a frequent event and I wasn’t particularly fond of it, unless the other family had kids of my age. Within half hour or so I would become grumpy and start annoying my parents about wanting to leave. There was one of my parents’ friend whom I used to really enjoy visiting. He had a very big office in their apartment (I guess. Or their apartment was in the same flat as the office, can’t fully recall. But I know they had an office inside the apartment. Sigh) between the city and sometimes, we used to visit him there after working hours. There were huge chairs with wheels, which now seem like perfectly normal sized chairs to me, on which I would spin and move around. There were large windows from where you could watch cars zooming past. There were loads of papers on the table and many many black files with steel rings as holders. The family friend had a colleague from Jordan who was a very friendly elderly gentleman, whose face I can absolutely not recall. Our family friend would very politely ask us ‘Tang parpara’ (‘Will you drink Tang’ in Tulu) each time we would go in and settle down. After a couple of visits, the man from Jordan started trying to ask us the same and we would have a hearty laugh listening to him offer us ‘Tang parapara’.
Maybe I should stop for now. There are so many more such incidents that remind me that things that you do as a child are probably what you truly are. Even today I love to cook, I whole heartedly love mangoes and I so love looking at cars zoom past me. This selective memory I tell you.
What do you remember from your childhood the most easily?