The last post’s hangover of Teddy Bear and doll marriages is not yet over. I am having a strong tendency to go back to my child hood days again. I never thought it would be so sweet but as I have started writing I feel like indulging in more on the same topic.

As a young girl I was very quiet, never got involved in any quarrel or fights and was supposed to be the best behaved girl in the family, but not always. I have created embarrassing situations for my folks. I did have the mischievous streak in me and it came out during the most unwanted times.

As I had told earlier I was in a joint family and I had three cousins all elder to me and I have created problems for the eldest two. My eldest cousin was studying for his pre-degree course and he was in the NCC. Every Saturday he would get ready early morning in his Khaki uniform with belt, cap, a plume of pink feathers on it, the NCC badge on his shirt, and the military shoes which made the metal sound. My anna (cousin) would really look smart. We used to be awed when he got ready and marched with his head high. After the training over when he returned he kept his cap and badge in the safety of a locker as we were all young and naughty.

I liked the pink feather on his cap and one day when I found the locker door ajar I carefully removed the feather from the cap and added to my collection. It would have been enough if I had stopped with that but I also removed the badge and cut out the NCC logo and kept it in my box. Nobody knew this except me and I never thought I had done any thing serious.

Next Saturday my anna was getting ready, he searched for his cap and found that the feather and the badge were missing. He was really upset and seeing his predicament I slowly brought out his badge and he was shocked to find the badge had become a miniaturized version as I had happily trimmed it down. Then he complained to my mom who appeared on the scene when I did not want to see her. I slowly retraced my steps to search for a safe hiding place but not before I got a few beatings from my mother. I started crying out loud and my anna was sorry for the complaint he made and pleaded with my angry mom to spare me. Licking my wounds I went and sulked for the day.

Next to this anna, 2 year younger was akka who is 8 years older than me. She was and is liked by everyone as she had a good way of taking care of all the young ones. When she was in 10th standard I was in 2nd, studying in the same school. She had a Mathematics teacher, nobody bothered to know his name as he was popularly known as kullan (dwarf), his nick name. Everybody was afraid of him and he was my akka’s class teacher too and was very strict.

One day in the evening we were standing outside our house, that is my akka and me. She never knew in her wildest of her dreams that what was going to follow would get her into trouble. As we were watching the people move by, our hero of this story, the teacher made entry. We sighted him rather suddenly and retreating from bumping into him was unavoidable. Immediately my akka folded her hands in Namaste and greeted the teacher, he acknowledged it and moved on. As she was heaving a sigh of relief, the teacher moved on and was taking a turn at the end of the road which was 50 feet away from us. I was perplexed why my sister should be so scared of such a short person and to show my sister, I was bold enough I shouted “Kulla……”. I think my voice would have been heard even if he was a kilometer away as the road was deserted. My akka immediately squeezed my mouth shut to stop me from an encore. With fear she looked in the direction of the teacher and we exactly saw he was turning around to look at us. Both of us ran inside the house, my akka’s eyes welled up with tears and she started complaining and telling she would not go to school the next day. Hearing the commotion my mom came outside and what do you think would have happened? As usual I had to face the music and drum beats. I don’t exactly know how my akka faced the class teacher. But the teacher didn’t rake up any issue and my sister was spared. But I had on a quite a few occasions bumped into him at various family functions and I imagined I was looking at a face which carried a mischievous smile to make me believe that he knew who I was.

I am sorry akka and anna that I had put you in trouble. I don’t know what went through me at that time. You are so wonderful people that I always love and cherish every moment I spend with you.

I have one more to add to my list. My father had a textile business and many salesmen used to visit his shop from Tamil Nadu, we were in Kerala then. Those who came to the shop would also drop home as there were no good hotels, lodges to stay in Mattancherry those days. We had a separate room on the terrace for guests. Once, a person from Salem came with my father to our house. He proceeded to take rest in the room up stairs. I was sent up to serve water for him. When I went up he started to talk to me in Tamil, a language which was alien to me then. I knew only one or two words. He asked me “sappattacha?” (Have you taken food?) . I didn’t know what to answer so before he asked further questions I ran down the stairs, but my big mouth did not keep quiet. I called him sappaturama the only word I knew in Tamil (meaning a glutton which I knew only later). I don’t know what he would have thought about me, may be he thought I was only a kid. But luckily for me I didn’t tell all this to any body and nobody heard me as I had gone upstairs alone. Probably he also didn’t inform my father about that incident.

I felt very sorry for all the things and never had an opportunity to express my self to them in person. But now a days writing my blog has given an opportunity to do so and I thought it would be appropriate to do that sooner rather than later. They would have forgotten all this but I remember all this vividly. I do feel embarrassed and hence I have made a point that when children come out with their mischief and difficult behaviour I never go over board and bash them but let them politely understand what the other persons’ perspective could be so that they do not repeat similar behaviour. I feel this is all childhood is about, bold and fearless. In fact there is a Tamil proverb Ilam kandru bhayam ariyathathu. (A calf is not afraid)

Cheers!

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