“I remember walking to school, which was two minutes away. It was a good walk. First class. I used to walk alone with my backpack on my back. I don’t remember the route very well, but I remember we had to cross a bridge. First class. And when I used to come back home, I used to play around. Until my Father came in, that is – as soon as he came home, I used to be a good boy and study in front of him. He was very strict. He used to take me to Chowpatty beach on Sundays. It used to be just the two of us. We used to watch everything and come home. I never talked much to my father. Father was strict. Very strict, you know. I used to go with him and then come back in silence.”
Friends of Family
“It was almost Diwali time, all the neighbors were busy with the preparations. It was a Sunday if I remember it correctly. I was shattered emotionally because, two things happened the previous night. First I was betrayed by my so called friend, and second his cousins who had come over that night were amongst the people who we usually tag as ‘Bullies’. Yes, surprisingly I have been bullied too. I was hurt really bad, nor I was able speak up the truth because I was scared that those guys would find out and come back again to do those same things to me. A few minutes later, in that depressing moment, I saw my grandfather walking towards my house with a plastic bag of fruits in his hand. I ran towards him, with tears running down my eyes as he waited to the carry me his arms. He knew something was wrong, and asked me what it was but I choked, I could not speak… He gently started rubbing his hand on my back to calm me down but I would not talk. Later that afternoon, he surprised me with a hoop and a basketball. I saw it as a gift, and started throwing the ball around the house. He had big smile on his face, my happiness meant everything to him. I helped him put the hoop on a wall in our front porch, where both of us started playing everyday. Few days later, he asked me again, why was I crying so badly, did Mum say anything? Did Dad? I could not leave him hanging, so I told him the truth. He found out that sand, stones, and twigs were used on me that night. He stormed out of our house and confronted my friend’s parents about it and explained the truth. Our neighbors came to me and apologized on their son’s behalf. That day my grandfather became my friend, not because he went to my friend’s house but because he stood up for me and fought for me. He told me stories about his past life which made me realize who would make a true friend and how he always played basketball when he didn’t like certain way the things were. This is a memory of how my first family member also became my friend. Basketball made our bond stronger ever since.”
“I vividly remember we had a class on Table Manners as a co curricular activity. I was 10 years old. Each student was supposed to carry a knife, fork, tissue, and a spoon. With these tools neatly packed, I set off to attend the class. Hailing from a Marwari background, eating food meant sitting down and eating sabji dal roti using only hands so I was too excited to learn ‘table manners’. As the session proceeded and the trainer came individually to each one of us, he inspected my tools and was speechless. My tools included a folding wooden-knife, and a fork -- yes, a fork which my mom used to punch awlas and make delicious achaar with. The prongs of the fork were badly mutilated! There was a pall of silence and I was barred from the so called “tutorial” on eating etiquette! Decades later, I am still not able to follow the rules to the hilt. Regardless, I’m still proud that can cook like my mom and my kids feast on my creations!”
I remember being put in time out, a concept I did not understand. What I can not remember is whether I cried, or whether I saw pity or remorse on the caregivers face as they ushered me back inside. I had enough happy moments in daycare that I wish I could replace this one with, but for whatever reason this will always be my first memory.