Sitting at home, the thought crosses my mind that every activity and aspect of my life, that does not involve wearing a mask, evokes a sense of nostalgia in me. On the same right, there are also areas that immediately bring a smile upon my face amid these wanderings in my mind. I will take the liberty of sharing some of these snippets with you.
Little hands made for great mischief!
One memory takes me back to my years as a toddler. I can clearly picturise the rather comical event that occurred while vacationing with my parents.
I’d spotted a lady who was sitting alone in the airport. I then made my way towards her and dunked my biscuit into her cup of tea. Quite obviously, she was infuriated and began yelling at my parents! In my defence, I was only maybe three years old. My parents now lose no opportunity to narrate this rather embarrassing episode to me.
Another of my habits—or better so obsessions—was my love for certain TV shows — namely Teletubbies, Dora the Explorer and Noddy. I would set an alarm or ask my mother to wake me up at 6 am just so I could watch Dora and the Teletubbies. In fact, there was even a time when adults constantly told me that I would even mouth the dialogues from this show while I slept. I had a huge collection of Dora dolls and merchandise, and my first birthday was supposedly a Noddy themed one. I also loved Winnie the Pooh movies and had quite literally had every single dialogue memorised!
I also owned a huge collection of DVDs; these are useless now in an era of online streaming. There were also the infamous (for my parents) Disney movies. I would play these on loop the entire day.
I also vividly recall, that there was also a phase I went through, when I wanted to be an animal rescuer. Of course, the inspiration was drawn from one Dora the Explorer episode. However, my animal rescuing aspirations were crushed when a cousin told me about the possibility of getting killed by an animal myself. This made me realise that any job, that did not involve a possible chance of me getting eaten by a shark, would be a safe bet.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been an aesthete. However, I hold a special liking for literature. I am still very fond of reading but there was yet another phase in my life when I was completely obsessed with books.
I was so voracious a reader that it would often affect my sleep cycle. I would hide books under my pillows, sit under my nightlamp and read the entire night. I’d read the Harry Potter series in this manner. It was as though there was a certain sense of accomplishment in being able to read through the night without getting caught. I even recall dressing and acting like my favourite characters! I am sure these must have made for a humorous spectacle for onlookers.
Unforgettable memories and people
The fondest memories in my life this far are certainly from school. I joined St. Helen’s School in Kurseong, West Bengal, as a student of class one. Over the course of my time there, I made lasting memories. And beautiful ones at that. I had some of the best teachers who trusted my potential and extended opportunities. Some of the most looked forward to moments were when we’d play a game we called bombast. This was followed by breaking into dance at the far end of the class, and then we’d share lunch.
I consider St. Helen’s my second home and I revisit these memories all the more since I recently moved schools. Between walking through the corridors and wandering if my friend had brought along Maggi for lunch, to lessons, assembly skits and injuries aplenty, I can only look back with immense fondness. School allowed me to build great friendships. Drishti, in particular, is my regular companion during bouts of binge watching and my avowed partner in crime.
Then there’s Tanvee; she’s seen all my life’s phases — from the animal rescuer aspirant to the book worm, and everything in between! However, even though Tanvee and I were thick as thieves, she had to leave school. I then joined another group of friends.
With Sippora and Kunga, I realised we shared a common love for the Harry Potter series. We’d often impersonate characters from the book and for the most part, we found reason to spend as much time together. The other highlight was the many momo parties with Alka, Sippora and Wandita and sharing guffaws of laughter with Leezum, Kavya, Anju, Anavi, Arunima, Shatabdi and Kavya Rai.
I really do owe it to my classmates for their contributions to my personal growth. This facet cannot be discounted. I also remember eating Chocobars and there is a rather poetic perception I have held about this savoury snack. In a certain way, a Chocobar has much in common with human life. It melts and is finished rather too soon but it the good feeling lingers on. I am glad I became friends with all these people whom I call family now. Initially, they seemed to provide great company but as time went by, I realised I stayed for the laughs and the memories we were creating.
There is one who holds a special place
But among all these friends, there is one who occupies pride of place. She has been a constant companion almost since childhood. My cousin, Mannat, has been both family and my best friend – a person whom I consider my confidante. I recall twinning clothes, playing, fighting and of course, our impromptu disco parties.
Living in the hills as I do extended me a rather calm and serene childhood. I have made many great memories, built strong friendships, and have cultivated varied interests. These have also imparted lessons, ones that are in no way less valuable than those imbibed within the confines of classrooms. I am most grateful for all that I have experienced so far and I am ever ready to make more memories. This way, I can revisit these memories as I advance in years and say, “It has sure been a life well lived!”