Memorable Memories

This is one meme that may take a while. Ever since I was tagged by Smita, I’ve been thinking about my childhood and trying to figure out which memories to write about. 25 years feels a long time (Those of you over 25, don’t have a go at me…). I’m going to try and see how much I can remember…and how much I want to share…

All By Myself:
Until I was about 5 years, my family and I lived in this little place in Oman. Unfortunately, this place was so tiny, it didn’t have a school. So I went to India to do my junior and senior kindergarten years. Mum and I would go to India and live with her parents while I attended school. Dad was still working in Oman. Anyway, the one thing I remember vividly is travelling by aeroplane all by myself when I was 3 years and some months. My mum joined my dad when I still had school and I was being looked after by my grandparents. Anyway, to cut a long story short, in the school holidays I was to rejoin my parents in Ibra and so my grandparents dropped me off at the airport under the care of this airhostess and I flew from Bombay to Oman by myself while my parents picked me up at the other end. I still remember all the attention I got from the air hostesses. I remember getting stuff to colour in, getting chocolates, having a window seat and basically being spoilt rotten. It pays to travel by yourself as a child! 😉

Halloween Horror:
I think it was when I was about 7 or 8. Three friends and I in Salalah decided to go trick or treating. I dressed up as a clown and we were to meet up at one of my friend’s place. It was pretty dark and the four of us started walking towards the back of her house to take the short cut to the other houses. It was pretty dark and since it was a narrow path, we were walking in a line. The next thing I know, we hear this dog barking. Now, one thing you must know is that dogs were banned in Salalah and someone said this was a rabid dog. So we screamed and started running back towards her house. And then…I tripped. And I screamed because I thought the dog was going to maul me. But it didn’t. I vaguely remember it coming close to us but my friend’s mum came out and I think the light scared it off. Funnily enough, you would think I’d have been scarred by that incident but I still love dogs.

Memorable MemoriesFootball Fanatic:
Some of my memorable childhood days in Salalah were spent riding my bike, swimming, going to the beach and most importantly, playing football (or soccer as most of you may know it as). I started playing socially with some of the bigger boys where we lived. I think that was because my friend’s older brother was one of those boys. Two incidents stand out vividly of my football prowess. One was when I was goalie. Picture this: tiny 6 year old girl. (And yes, I was tiny…I’m 5 feet now, so you can imagine what I was like at 6!). And then there’s this boy who is 11 or 12 and on the bigger side…he runs..he shoots the ball towards the goal…and me (trying to be heroic) I jump up to stop it…and I do. But…it hits me wham right on my tummy. And I cry. But only for a bit because everyone reminded me of my awesome save! The other incident was the tiny me tackling the ball and managing to steal it from a much bigger guy…wait for it…but running under his legs. Yes…he was very tall. And the other boys didn’t let him forget that incident easily. How a little 6 year old girl managed to steal the ball from him.

Riding Adventures:
I loved my bike. And more importantly, loved riding with my friends. I still remember how we would all wake up around 6 in the morning during the summer holidays in India and then ride around our suburb. We would try out different routes to ‘explore’ the area. Sometimes during the extremely hot days, we would bring 2 rupees and buy one of those ice lollies. My bike was a big part of my life…until I was around 14. And then, for some reason, I just stopped. I regret it now. And I would love to buy me a bike now to ride around and explore.

Bollywood obsession:
I was obsessed with Shahrukh Khan. Especially after Kabhi Haan, Kabhi Naa andDilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. A close friend and I were so obsessed we would repeat the dialogues from the movies and try and enact it too. When I think back now all I can say is: What the fuck was I thinking???! Luckily this obsession ended around age 12 when cricket took over.

Cricket Crazy:
My journey with cricket is a huge part of my adolescence. I still remember in the 1996 world cup telling my dad I didn’t understand this “stupid game” and that nothing would possess me to watch it. Following that, and seeing the Aussies (Steve and Mark Waugh being my first favourites), I probably followed cricket even more than my dad. And annoyed the rest of the family with it of course. My love for cricket translated into playing with friends in the evenings as well as playing socially at school. There were no teams for girls and so I never did play the game as ‘professionally’ as I would have liked to. But I continued to play until coming here to Australia. Yes. Until I was 21. I was fanatical about following matches as well. While at school, some of us would constantly try and get score updates (I can’t remember how though, given that we didn’t have mobile phones!) 1999 was great because I watched every single game of the World Cup since my Year 10 exams were finished. Unfortunately, it’s due to that I also put on oodles of weight. Watching cricket, eating chips and not doing anything active leads one to become fat. Wish I’d known that back then!

Scrabbling along:
My sister and I had some great moments together despite our fights early on. During adolescence, we got closer and Scrabble was one of the games we absolutely loved. I initially loved it because she was easy to beat. She is after all, 5 years younger than me! But as she improved, we still continued to enjoy the game and the giggles that came along with it. There were a lot of other board games too and I still remember how we’d play on a hot Sunday arvo or during the summer holidays in the arvo when mum was taking a nap. Ah, those were the days.

City Life:
After the Year 10 exams (age 15), my friends and I went to the city (South Bombay) by ourselves for the very first time to watch ‘You’ve got mail’. The movie was my idea and it was a huge thing for us travelling all the way by ourselves. And I for one was nervous. Not because of the travel. But because I worried about them liking the movie! I still remember not being able to relax until the intermission because I kept thinking “What if they hate the movie…it will be my fault“. And yes, I know I take on a lot of responsibility for things I don’t need to! It’s funny to think though, that that was my first time into the city and some weeks after that I joined a college in South Bombay resulting in me travelling a whole hour each way from my suburb to the city for 5 years. It became a part of my life…

And that’s about it. It’s not that I don’t have other memories. I have several. Some good. Some not-so-good. At this time though, this is how much I feel like sharing. It’s my life. And I’m satisfied with it.

I would like to tag the following people to share their childhood memories:
Titaxy
Legal Alien
Matt Parker
Nu
Richa
Miss Carly
Tash
Joel
G

And of course, any one else that would like to share…

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

My Earliest Memory

I was but a three year old attending my first year of kindergarten at an all-girls school. We were in Bombay for the school term and living with mum’s parents. Well, not all of us. Dad was still in Oman. I liked school. Hell, I was ready for school before it even started. School was a breeze. Academically at least. Friendships were a different issue.

I remember wanting to become friends with these three girls in my class. Their names evade me. But their faces were etched clearly in my mind {thanks to having class photos!} years later. I tried the usual ways a person does to become friends. But they weren’t interested. Eventually though, they were charmed by me. Or so I thought. They said they would be my friends. On one condition. I had to rip up a particular girl’s alphabet book.

So I did.

I ripped up a three year old’s alphabet book. With the hope of being accepted.

Well, I was accepted into the group. But I also got told on by the girl whose book I ripped. And I didn’t get away lightly. I got whacked with a ruler on my tiny palms in front of the entire class more than once.  It was a lesson for everyone and I was the example. Let’s just say I learnt my lesson very well.

My Earliest Memory

Did I tell mum about this? I don’t remember.

Did I tell anyone else about this? Not for a long time!

I don’t remember much of my friendship with these girls. I think I hung around them for that year and the next. Before dad got a job in Salalah which had proper schools {unlike Ibra} and I was able to enrol there. I can’t remember if they were mean to me or if they changed their behaviour. Needless to say, I never saw them again.

When I look back now, I think I struggled a lot with friends probably till I was a teenager. There was a huge need to be accepted — to the point where I lost myself and became whatever people wanted me to be. If anything, one of my earliest memories reminds me why I do the work I do. Because kids go through a lot of shit! And sometimes, it helps having someone in their corner.

I reflected back on my earliest memory thanks to being tagged by Suzy. In turn, I’d like to tag Vidyaand hear about her earliest memory. Do take a moment to check out their earliest memories as well as other Write tribers here. 

What about you? What is your earliest memory?

Do share!

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

My journey with books

I can still vividly remember my very first book that wasn’t a Grimm fairy tale. It was Enid Blyton’s ‘Stories for you’. My parents bought it for me after I achieved a good mark at age 5 in my Year 1 exams {Yes, I know you shouldn’t reward outcomes but rather focus on effort —but my parents were unaware of that back in the day!} I think I read the book in one sitting. And was hungry for more.

Luckily for me, my parents were only too willing to feed that hunger. Sure, sometimes it was in the form of bribery rewards. But at other times, they were happy to indulge me. It was interesting because neither of them read as much. Dad was too busy reading big fat medical books and mum, well never seemed to develop a love of reading that her father had. But I think they were both secretly glad at my love for books. Except maybe at lunch and dinner time when it took me ages to eat because I was too busy reading.

Through primary school, I devoured Enid Blyton getting lost in the lands of brownies, fairies and pixies and places where toys would come alive at night or where there were different adventures on top of a tree. I was enthralled by adventures the children in the books experienced while I tried to solve it with them. I escaped into their lives of sneaking out at night and solving mysteries, going on picnics and indulging in things I could only dream of — meringues, scones, eclairs, ginger beer. Later on as a teenager, I dreamt of going to a boarding school like St. Clare’s or Malory Towers. I wanted to be friends with the likes of Pat and Isabel and Darrell. I even begged my mum to send me to one only to be met with a firm no and that real boarding schools were not as fantastic.

As the years went on, my tastes for mysteries increased and I read legal thrillers such as John Grisham and Sidney Sheldon. They didn’t always match some of Agatha Christie’s who-dun-its but still kept me hooked. When I started university, I chose English Literature as one of my subjects {even though I intended to major in Psych}. I figured because I loved reading, this would be the way to go. Ironically, the two years of studying English lit actually ruined my love to read for pleasure! I think it was the pressure to analyse things and also conform with the views of the lecturers that made me want to throw the books out of the window. That and the fact that I found classics like Mill on the Floss, Grapes of Wrath and Oliver Twist a tad boring.

My journey with books

Fortunately, a year later, while I was in my final year with only psych subjects, I got saved. I found my passion for reading thanks to Harry Potter. I was able to read the first three books quickly and waited impatiently for the fourth to be released. That impatience combined with excitement continued over the next few years right until my final year of Masters here in Australia. I still remember anxiously waiting for the final instalment and pre-ordering it at Big W. Texting a friend while reading to find out how far they had reached. And pretty much finishing it within a day and a bit in between lectures, placement and work. All the while getting teasers thrown at us by our lecturer who finished reading it before us!

Over the years, I have been hooked on Jodi Picoult and the moral issues she manages to delve into while also reading more literary novels and ones that make you question and think about the world or life in general. I guess in some ways, I am currently doing what English lit wanted me to do. The difference is I am doing it on my own accord. Some books I read are probably a bit depressing and relate a lot to psychological issues but somehow, I love them. My friends who are psychologists don’t understand why I would want to read books on such heavy issues particularly given that we work day in and day out listening to such stuff.

Nowadays, fiction that is close to truth grips me. Books that speak to me on a personal level grip me. Writing that is beautiful and tugs at my core has me hooked. Anything that has a message or makes me think long after I have left that world is tantalising. A story that makes me ask questions about myself or the world I live in is something I adore. And finally, characters that stay with me and become my lifelong companions — they are worth waiting for.

It’s no wonder I have read so many books and still have about 70 more on my bookshelf I have to finish before I turn 35.

Yes I continue to re-read Harry Potter and Enid Blyton.

But I also love the anticipation of a new story. A new adventure. And in the process, making a new friend.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!