Bring it on... again
Being born in a middle class family to a doting mother, I should say I had a reasonably comfortable childhood. May be, not great in many terms but yes, I was a happy child. My parents did not have a great marriage and my equation with my father wasn’t good. I do not remember a single day sitting on his lap or even near him or him behaving affectionately with me or even my brother. I feared him, his temper, his presence but never hated him, at least till my college days. But my mother made up for everything that my father wasn’t. She loved both of us, my brother and me, to the hilt. An innocent homemaker, my mother put us before everything. In a way, she lived for us. She was the main reason why I did not turn into an unhappy child and remained well distant from the negative atmosphere in the house.
One of my pleasing memories of childhood is the company of books that I had. Since I could read Malayalam too, Balarama, a children’s weekly, became a constant companion in my days as a school girl. Balarama had a good collection of comics, informative pieces, jokes and contests. Even today, I remember many of the informative stories I read as a child. The magazine was more or less like Tinkle, which also I used to devour as soon as I could get my hands on it. Both the magazines had my favourite character in them – Shikari Shambu. I loved Shambu and I remember how relieved I felt when I reached the end of the story as in the end, he would have defeated all his nemesis and emerged victorious, even though by sheer luck.
Another children’s magazine that I got was the Chandamama. It had such nice illustrations and stories! I looked forward to our weekly trip to the market as I could run to this store to get hold of my Chandamama copy. Adding to the list, were a number of other story books that gave me companionship. Today, when I look back, I can say that the happiest days of my girl life was the ones spent on reading.
And my school and my teachers! My school wasn’t big either in terms of infrastructure or facilities but I can say with confidence that thanks to the teachers who, though, were not highly knowledgeable, did a sincere job, I did not lack much in terms of school education. I was one of the top scorers of the class and thus the teachers’ pet and classmates’ envy. My main competitors class were two boys, Vijay and Suresh. Vijay and I would always be neck to neck in terms of academic results. Suresh mostly stood third. One of the best compliments that I have received in my entire life comes from these two – when I was in eighth standard, I was admitted to a hospital for Malaria and could not attend school for some days and could rejoin school only for my semester exams. My mother would get notes from my classmates which I studied at home. I appeared for my exams and not only stood first, but also received generous praise from my Hindi teacher for my excellent performance in the Hindi exam. Vijay and Suresh were disappointed and told me, “We are also going to fall ill before the next exams and when we return, we will also be able to get such nice marks as you did.” This was the competition at that time, not bitter but sweet!
I love writing and reading and it is all due to the books I got to acquaint with and my teachers who would not hesitate to praise me for my work. Once for a school test, I wrote an essay on ‘The accident I witnessed’. I remember writing it with adjectives, exclamation marks and interjections. My English teacher, an elderly man, who I loved and my other classmates detested, told the class, ‘She has written such a nice essay, it is as if she wrote it as a live commentary of the accident. Good one, dear.” This compliment is what motivated me to write more and gave me the confidence that I need not adhere to what is conventional and that I can play my words the way I want because those words belong to me. Perhaps, it is the confidence that I acquired as a student, that has encouraged me to enter this contest too!
If you ask me, whether I would like my days as a girl to return, I would say, ‘Yes, bring them on... let me live that life again – a life of simple pleasures, quiet fortitude and great surroundings with kind teachers, loving friends where I was not required to run or race but walk at my own speed.’ There was no fear about future and no anxieties about a career. Life was just about living well with values and confidence. How many girls can say that about their life today?
This post was entered in a contest on women’s web - http://www.womensweb.in/articles/celebrating-girls-celebrating-women/