Having written about my baby in the last post, I was wondering, what if she asked me after few years, “ Papa, you always come up to me and say ‘do this, don’t do this, eat this, don’t be naughty’ and stuff like that. Going by your present self, I am sure you might have been much naughtier than me. Tell me about your childhood. Please Papa” I was wondering if I should tell her about my growing-up coz I am scared, it might have a negative effect on her. It has also made me revisit myself; that part of myself that I haven’t thought of, since a long time. It didn’t matter to me, but here I go, call this the positive effect of blogging or fatherhood, perhaps both.
I was a very calm and quiet child, ditto contrary to my younger but naughtier brother. I have felt that there are several negatives to being calm and quiet, the foremost being, you are taken for granted by everyone on the belief that you could be easily coerced to give-up. I understood this much later, when I thought water was about to reach my neck, or so the juvenile mind told myself. Once the realization sunk in, there was no stopping me; I became a mischievous young lad almost overnight. I fought for my rights, like how those old-about-to-die-any-minute-politicians fight in the parliament, and achieved many a victories.
The brawl between my brother and me over supremacy and power can be easily explained by the metaphor of “Mulayam and Mayawati” san the murderousness. And of course, there were times when Mom had to intervene to stop a murder from happening. It all feels like a bygone era friends, a bygone era.
There are several positives to being the son of an army officer. We almost had a round trip of the country before I was in 7th standard and when I was in 7th, my father retired himself out of the army. That was when I was admitted to K.V in Kerala which came as a severe shock to my North-India educated self.
I was ridiculously stupid in my earlier part of childhood. I know stupid isn’t the right word, but my vocabulary doesn’t support me in finding the most apt word to explain myself. Hence the second most apt word.
I was extremely poor in studies ( if I tell any of my present friends no one would believe) and a ridiculous dreamer. I used to score mostly less than 5 in most unit-tests out of any figure, and to get zero marks were as frequent as a snowfall in Antarctica. Having said that, how I managed to reach 7th without failing once is a miracle by itself.
It all changed when I started my schooling in Kerala. Having studied mostly in North India, I was an illiterate in my local language and as well as in English. I could hardly read English, let alone speak. I could be easily visualized if I tell you my resemblance to Tom Hank’s character in 'Forrest Gump' and 'The Terminal' combined.
Then tragedy struck. I was asked by The English teacher to read a paragraph from the textbook. There I go, struggling to form sentences, having no clue as to how most words sounded when appropriately pronounced. I became a joke and the classroom uniformly chuckled as if they were listening to some standup comedian deliver carefully rehearsed jokes. For the first time it hurt and every cell of my body sniveled in pain and insult.That was when I decided I would change myself.
Walking back home from school, the distance of about two Kilometers stood testimonial to my resolve, my tenacity, that I would make the very people who laughed at me, my admirers. Though I found few admirers, I regained my much deserved self respect and one of the best orators in college.
The realization that I was indeed awful, made me search ways or think ways to improve my position. I became one of the most avid members of the school library and one of the few who read literature.
I remember my first book, The animal farm( George orwell) and how it transformed me from a kale-akshar-bhains-barabar to someone well read and competent in school level English.
It were also the moments when I realized that if Meena, the class topper could top so naturally, me with equal number of limbs and legs and probably grey cells too, could do as well.
P.S:More stuff later, abi to puri picture baaki hain mere dost, and Sorry for sounding emotional in between.
Photo courtesy: Google Images