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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

NaBloPoMo Day 16 : Memories cont’d…

6. Getting really angry and worked up one day when I was about 7 or 8 and shouting back at Amma. When she tried to calm me down, I ran away from her, still screaming some inanities. She ran behind me and pulled me into the bathroom where there was one copper kudam filled with water. She hefted that over my head and swoosh! The sudden flood of water rendered me speechless, and left me sputtering, and mercifully, quiet. 

7. Hanging around Amma while she washed the clothes and vessels and did the cooking. While all my four older sisters and one younger sister were at college and school, I would be alone at home with Amma because classes for the primary section in St. John of the Cross school in Sankhali were conducted in the afternoon session. Even as she did the household work, she taught me different stotraas, making me repeat each stanza after her. Till today, those are the ones I can recite spontaneously from memory.

8. The heavy, incessant downpour where an umbrella provided little succor from the copious rain. One such dark, grey, rainy evening, I waited and waited for the school bus that never arrived. Someone who knew my parents came by miraculously, took me to their house, gave me some snacks and somehow, in an age where a landline phone was a miracle, managed to convey to my house that I was safe. Somehow my savior also got news that the school bus had broken down, got repaired and would come near the school; he took me there and I reached home much later than usual, but safe. The strangest thing about that memory is my remembrance of how my feet turned totally white and went numb from being ensconced in the wet school shoe for hours together. I enjoyed all the attention, though, as my sisters held my feet in a tub of warm water to get the circulation going and slowly, the feet grew pink and touchy-feely again.

9. Being afraid of crossing paths with drunkards. One lazy Sunday evening, our neighbour’s house jeep driver turned up drunk and tottering outside their house, hurling abuses at them and the world in general. Hearing the commotion, we hurriedly rushed to see what was happening. Uncle was not home, Aunty and her two kids were alone. They just shut all the windows and doors and stayed silent without making any sound, maybe hoping he would go away after some time – which he did. Anna (We call our father Anna, not Appa – many others in our extended family do this too) was not at home either, so we too quickly bolted all the doors and windows. I remember peeping out from the corner of the window curtain, feeling a scary thrill – what if he came to our house and tried to attack us? Years later, someone told me that drunks are generally too unsteady to be able to do much and somehow, visualizing a drunk keeling over with a tiny shove from me, cured my fear of drunks for life.

10. Reading, reading and reading. I had been introduced to reading by a family friend when I was in class 1 or 2 itself. The story of this is matter enough for a separate, stand-alone post, so I won’t talk of it here. The long and short of it – I was reading Five Find Outers and Dog, Famous Five, Mallory Towers, The Secret Seven, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys by the time I was in Class 4. That is, besides the omnipresent Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle. To this day, when I remember some of the stories from Indian mythology, the memory comes with the vivid images of how it was depicted in ACK. Many Sundays, late morning and late afternoon would find the entire family in a companionable silence, reading – Anna with his newspaper, all 6 girls with some or the other book and Amma with her stotraa book or stitching something or embroidering a pillow cover.

Some more striking memories of life in Goa are still left – but these are of teenage and young adulthood. I will write about them tomorrow but as I end this post, am left with a realization.

Whether it was Amma’s water-shock treatment of my hysterical behavior or the positivity induced by reciting stotraas everyday, that mad behavior I mentioned at the beginning of this post, never put in an appearance again. Today, the world thinks of me as a calm, quiet person with a penchant for gently helping others sort things out. Of course, that “calm” is overrated, as 
the two people I live with would readily testify, but their travails are a story for another day!

NaBloPoMo November 2016


  1. Wow - this is really making your life "an open book"! :)
    With you on the stotras. Somehow, things taught musically always stays in memory!

    1. So...does it make for an interesting, educative read, Priya?


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