Remembering a beautiful childhood with Nursery Rhymes…

BlogAdda always gives bloggers wonderful opportunities to share their stories and experiences. Since I started blogging, I have taken inspiration from the prompts given by BlogAdda; however, this time, I was in slight trouble when I came to know about this new initiative of the website, in association with Kids Hut by T-Series, in which we have to Choose 2 favourite rhyme/story from the Kids Hut collection and blog about our memories or morals that are associated with them. I am 23 years-old now and I could hardly remember anything about my preschool days, so penning this write-up would be a pretty tough challenge for me!

That’s what I thought until my mother came to my rescue. She took me on a wonderful tour to my Nursery and Kindergarten days, and revoked some delightful memories!

Let me be honest at first. I was a cry-baby in preschool. 😀 Mom reminds me I shed buckets of tears on my first day at school and she and dad had a tough time silencing me! Embarrassing for me! But, that’ s what most kids do on their first day at preschool, don’t they? However, soon, I stopped whining and took interest in the different activities of preschool. The one in which I was loved and appreciated was none other than sing Nursery rhymes in front of the whole class without any fear or shyness! May be I had to open my mouth in some way or the other. 🙂 Continue reading

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If I could be six again…

When I came across the BlogAdda prompt for Write Over the Weekend which wanted us to relive our childhood when we were six years old, and include the line “I wish I could be six again, so I could…” in the post, I was immediately drawn to the theme. This poem has flowed out of my mind like a gentle stream, carrying with it my prized memories of childhood, which can never come back but can only be remembered….

Little Boy

I wish I could be six again,
So I could wake up as the sun rose,
Before Mumma and Daddy;
While they still dozed and,
I tip-toed..hush hush!
Like a good child, I bathed and brushed,
And when Mumma opened her eyes,
Boo! I surprised her.

I wish I could be six again,
So I could sit behind daddy on his scooter,
Wrapping my tiny arms,
Around his warm belly and,
Wear a carefree smile.
The morning breeze blowing past me,
As I flew towards school,
Ah! What a joyful ride.

I wish I could be six again,
So I could sit on my dear Grandpa’s lap,
Under the neem tree,
The autumn aroma wafting,
And his stories slowly blossoming.
When Grandma would sing,
The lovely lullaby…
Alas! Now, they’ve gone far.

I wish I could be six again,
So I could relive the magical moments,
Sitting on the bed,
Clutching a plastic doll,
I would wish for a little sister.
And God blessed us,
When one November night…
Lo! Little Jolly was born.

I wish I could be six again,
So I could run on the open playground,
Race yet not compete,
Make friends and not foes,
Be a wild free spirit, uncaged.
But, time flowed past,
A golden era now extinct.
Ouch! Why have I been dreaming?

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

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The Haunted Pond

This post is part of IndiSpire 32nd Edition.

It was New year’s eve in the year 2006.

I was a 14 years-old and in the ninth standard, and to be frank, I despised New Year’s eve celebrations!

I had grown up as a quiet boy, often being reclusive and talking to people only when required. I used to intently listen to people’s conversations, some were interesting but most were lame and nonsense. For the past 4 years, on New Year’s eve, six or seven households of the neighbourhood would get together at a nearby small playground, a few metres away from my house.. A bonfire would be made and the ladies and kids would sit around it. While most women would engage in frivolous and boisterous chit-chat and laughter, the kids would just sit lazily on their chairs, gazing at the fire and yawning and rubbing their eyes at regular intervals. I was one of those kids! The gents would erect a makeshift tent and play cards, sitting under it and have a few rounds of drinks. It was something I didn’t approve, even at that little age. Even the music couldn’t get me up from my chair and join the other kids who could dance as if they had been charged with 400 volts! Food would be served soon, eaten and then, everybody waited for the midnight bell to strike…

Since 2004, i.e. two years back, I chose not to wait till the clock struck 12. Almost all the kids were asleep on their mothers’ laps, and the few that remained kept dozing off. In 2003, either my father or mother would accompany me to the house at quarter to midnight, and they would put me to sleep and lock the door from outside and rejoin their celebrations. I often wondered in the morning how long had they continued their merry-making!

That year, my parents were pre-occupied with serving food to the people, and couldn’t take me home at the fixed time. They rather told me to wait. Fortunately, I celebrated the “Happy New Year” moment with everyone for the first time, and it was a pretty good moment! Soon, the singing and dancing began. Meanwhile, I was feeling sleepy, so I went up to my mother and wished to go home. She, as well as father, who was seated nearby, urged me to stay. I refuted.

I told my parents its just a 5 minutes walk to my house and I’m a big boy now. Surprisingly, they handed me the house keys, and told me to bolt the doors properly. They added that they would come home within half an hour, so they asked me to watch TV till they came.

I was somewhat happy and thrilled. There lay a pond, a rather big one, about half the size of a football ground, on the way and the still water would glitter on a moonlit sky. That night, the sky was cloudy and an unwanted chill prevailed in the air. I was walking alongside the pond, gently fondling the wooden fence along the pond’s boundary, when I heard a soft wail. It sounded something between the squeaking of mice and a cat’s meow! I ignored it, until the wail turned more distinct and continuous. Suddenly, I recalled my mother’s words.

If you hear sounds while walking along the pond, take the Almighty’s name and walk fast. Don’t run. And don’t look back. Be brave!

I was brave. I assured myself. I believed in God and that nobody could harm me when He was with me. I uttered a silent prayer and hastened my footsteps. I had crossed only half the total length of the pond!

Three years ago, a small boy had drowned in that pond. Nearby people had seen him fishing in the pond for many days. However, the water level was high on that fateful day and in spite of repeated warnings by the nearby people, the boy had dared to go near the water body. One of the elderly women saw a floating fishing rod at the centre of the pond and cried for help. It was raining and nobody dared to jump into the pond to search for that boy. It was soon believed that he had died by drowning and unfortunately, the body wasn’t discovered. Prayers were recited near the pond in the name of the boy, so that his soul would rest in peace.

Haunted Pond

My mind was not at peace; the wailing seemed to follow me and grew louder with every passing minute. Terror struck me. I felt someone stalking me from behind as I could hear little footsteps. My mind was too clogged at that time to hear little splashing sounds that the feet made. I felt so tempted to look back; I wonder if it was curiousity or plain courage.

I had to run now. Fear was gripping me and I was far away from my parents. As soon as I reached the street that leads to my house, the sounds stopped. I concentrated with my ears trying to hear the faintest wailing, but it was only a group of stray dogs howling at some distance.

The street was so empty. Funny and strange!  Usually, two or three people could be seen, some were coming from another New year’s eve celebration while some stood outside their homes to watch the brilliant display of fireworks as the clock struck 12! I used to make these subtle observations while accompanying my parents on the previous occasions.

Somehow battling a growing sense of fear, I reached my house. I turned back. There was nobody. Phew!

A few minutes later, after changing into my night clothes, I switched on the TV and tuned to Cartoon Network. They were showing Tom & Jerry! What a relief; I needed a good dose of humour to calm down! Hardly, 5 minutes had passed when my bicycle, parked in the garage adjacent to that room, made a rattling sound. It was definitely not a natural sound, which often occurs if you keep metal items in an improper way and they tend to get disorderly. It was a sound deliberately made! I muted the TV set. The sounds got louder.

What on Earth was going on??? Another sound!

Even if someone had injected me with adrenalin at that time, I probably wouldn’t have an ounce of courage to flee from that room. For I had seen a weird white-shaped figure through the thin opening between the two curtains. It was in the garage, at the exact spot where I had kept my bicycle.I stood frozen. Was that a ghost? Or just a figment of my imagination which sends crazy images at such times?

BANG!! BANG!! The front door made a loud sound. I let out a loud scream. It was one of the most terrifying reaction I had made in a long time.

Thankfully, I could snap out from the fear once I heard my name being called by mother. As soon as I opened the door, I tightly hugged my mother and broke into tears.

Since then, I never dared to walk beside the pond after 11 pm. Something was not right there. The little boy who had died….may not be dead as we had thought so. 

 

 

 

 

Rasmalai and a sweet act of compassion

Poor GirlYou are walking down a normal Indian street and you happen to see a small 6 year-old girl on the pavement. The girl is in torn rags, her hand blackened with the grime after she rummaged through the large municipality dustbin nearby and yet, she is happily munching the small amount of food, which she must have found in the dustbin. What is your first reaction on seeing that girl? Disgust or indifference or perhaps a feeling of pity for the people who don’t have the basic necessities of life – clothes, food and shelter.

Well, I am not someone who fosters such feelings. I have seen small kids like that 6 year-old girl countless number of times during my entire childhood and honestly speaking, each time I confronted such a sight, I had a sleepless night. An indescribable feeling of helplessness and anguish gripped me each time, because I was also of similar age and I couldn’t bear to see someone not have a decent childhood as mine. Now, I am a 21-year old adult and I still have the same sleepless nights but the childhood pain has been replaced by anger towards the concerned authorities who do not help such people, and guilt at not being able to help them myself in a substantial manner.

However, I did make small attempts when I was a child, to help such destitute children. It was the year 2003 and I was 11 years old. An age when I began to properly observe and understand the environment around me. I don’t exactly remember the date or the month when this incident happened, but I can say it was summer. I was in a marriage ceremony of one of my father’s office colleagues. Marriages in my hometown Duliajan were exceptionally grand; it seemed the family of the groom or the bride used to make preparations and arrangements the entire year. Everything from the tent and decorations to food and the get-up of the family members and the invitees spoke money. As a child, I loved to attend these functions for I could gorge on dishes, which weren’t usually prepared at home by my mother, except on special occasions.

After spending a few minutes with my parents in the sitting lounge of the tent, we made our way to the food court. Alright, let me state another fact here. On most special occasions in my hometown, be it marriage ceremonies, birthdays or farewell parties, food wasn’t served, rather the buffet system was followed. I don’t know whether it was a right choice or not, as I watched people build a mountain of food on their plates, eat only a quarter of it and throw the rest in the dustbin. My mother helped me stuff some food on my plate and I sat on a nearby chair and began relishing the delicious food. When I was done eating, I threw the plate in the dustbin and headed towards the wash basin. Suddenly, I noticed a small girl of around 6 years a few steps away from the wash-basin. She was with a grown-up lady, probably her mother, who was busy clearing another food dustbin into a dug-out pit. The little girl was licking a plastic bowl, where sweet dishes were served in the food court. She had definitely picked it up from the dustbin. I watched her intently for sometime. She looked emaciated and hungry, but the small bits of food stuck to the bowl surface made her happy. I got a lump in my throat. The next moment, I saw the lady and the little girl heading towards me. The lady was bringing the empty dustbin for the next round of to-be-thrown food items.

I don’t know what made me take that rash decision but I dashed towards the place where the Rasmalai was served. I asked the waiter to give me two bowls of the sweet dish. Carefully holding the two bowls in my tiny hands, I walked towards the wash basin. I didn’t bother if anybody was following my actions. I knew I was not doing anything stupid. When I reached my destination, I saw the little girl standing timidly there. Her mother was busy cleaning the food court. I smiled towards her but her face was expressionless. I did not want to scare her so I gently placed the two bowls of sweet dish near her and walked away. As I turned towards her a few seconds later, I watched her eating the sweet dish with such a beautiful expression of joy that mere words couldn’t describe.

That night I cried a lot. The scenes of what I did at the marriage ceremony kept flashing in my mind and tears flowed. They were not tears of pain or guilt of doing something disgusting. They were tears of joy for an act of compassion. A God-gifted joy!

I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at BlogAdda.com in association with Tata Capital.

Uncle Chips, Pokémon and a colourful childhood…

In the lazy afternoon of 5th July, 2013, as I lay on my bed, my eyes staring fixedly at the bare ceiling above, my mind escaped into slightly forgotten territories of the mind. And one such place was the world of Pokémon.

Ask some of my school friends, especially those who were my class-mates in Section B of Classes 6, 7, 8 and 9, and you would be surprised to hear from them how obsessed I had been about Pokémon at that time! Those were the days when this new show called Pokémon had started to be aired on Cartoon Network and within a really short span of time, it became highly popular among the kid-folk of my hometown, Duliajan. As a matter of fact, the reason for the huge popularity of this English-dubbed Japanese anime can undoubtedly be attributed to Uncle Chips. Reason is you used to get a free Pokémon goody like ‘Tazzo’, ‘Zenga card’, ‘playing card’ etc. inside every pack of Uncle Chips! And for a Pokémon fanatic like me, seldom a day went by, for 2 years or so, without purchasing at least 1 Uncle Chips pack! 😀 Well, don’t be scared by the jumbo degree of junk food as I rarely emptied the chips packets into my mouth; my sole concern was to grab hold of the goody as soon as the packet was blasted open! (And if luck favoured me, sometimes, two or three goodies popped out) 🙂

I wouldn’t be doing justice to this post if I don’t write about my Pokémon-related antics in Class 6 in 2003. The year saw an exponential rise in sale of Uncle Chips and a wave of frenzy, to collect Pokémon goodies, swept almost all boy classmates of mine. Such was the craze that we used to trade each other’s goodies, either with the purpose of keeping and admiring them at home for a night, or in order to create variety in one’s collection. (Once, I really got annoyed because I found the same Pokémon Tazzo in 11 continuous Uncle Chips packets!) I admit that a tiny amount of trickery did help me collect goodies without having to sacrifice from my own set, thus, allowing me to amass a huge assortment of varied goodies. 😉 I don’t know whether my good friends Souvik Ghosh, Abhinash Saikia, Abhinav Jha, Manisha Dutta and Jayashree Doley remember or not, that we used to sit near each other in the classroom and spend every free minute, between periods or during tiffin-break, in playing Pokémon battles in rough notebooks. I fondly remember how I used to randomly draw some weird-looking creature and give it a weirder name, and tell my friends that it is a very powerful Pokémon and that it shall appear someday in the cartoon series. Quite unexpectedly, most of my hand-drawn creations did appear on TV in one form or the other! Pokémon eventually turned out to be my favourite time-pass activity.

As the slideshow of bygone memories continued, I withdrew myself from bed and walked up to my almirah, where I safely kept everything I had collected during my salad days. A mini search in one of the shelves led me to my prized collection of Pokémon goodies. The box was a little dusty, so I brushed it off and opened it. Emotions stirred in me instantly. Picking out a few of the goodies, I spread them on my table and captured them with my camera, hoping that this picture is able to reinvigorate the same vibes in future, as it happened this day. 🙂 🙂 🙂

My  Pokémon Collectibles

My Pokémon Collectibles