Childhood Memories... (long post alert!)
In the comments for the last post Lucia mentioned she loved it when I talked about my childhood. And there lies the genesis of this post. As I sat on the train on my back home yesterday evening, I tried to think about what were the immediate memories that came to me. I was a bit surprised at what came out, but then I am never sure about what my mind is gonna spew out. I guess on some level, I should be concerned that this is what came forth first and not some happy, sappy memories. I did not have a sad childhood or any thing. I had very loving parents, who did their best to set me along the right path in life. I don't how to explain this..
Tell your kids..Don't ever try this.
I was probably 5-7 years old then. I was in craft class and did not do very well on an assignment. Like is usually the case I had to get my dad to sign off on the grade which was crappy at best. I was mortified of showing those grades to my dad. I was doing well in everything else but this. But if you were like me then, and you were told there was just no option but getting good grades, you would be scared too. So what does this boy genius do?
I found one of the earlier assignments that my dad had signed off on and very carefully proceeded to cut out that signature of his (which for me meant sticking my tongue out from the side of my mouth as I cut with the scissors.. meant I was so focused on that task). You know where this is going right? I took that piece of paper with his signature on it and stuck it on the assignment that I had a bad grade in. I must have been mighty proud of my handiwork, for I took it in the next day and had the chutzpah to show it to my arts teacher. Oh boy, did she blow her top?
My parents were summoned to school and informed about my act of "forgery". They were both understandably upset at what I had done, and it also reflected poorly upon them. After we got home, my dad took out one of his leather belts and proceeded to whip me on my legs with it. I do not recall if my mom tried to stop this or not. Boy that whipping was painful I have memories of crying as it was meted out to me. I remember the skin having cut, but more distinctly I recall my mom applying (merbromine , Mercurochrome a mercurial compound applied topically as an antiseptic) the red color of that doing nothing to disguise the ugly welts.
I recall having to go to school, the next day wearing those marks of shame. I am not gonna go in to the merits/demerits of corporal punishment here (I don't believe in it). I just know I screwed up, what I can't answer is why physical force of this nature was used, wonder why they did not try to just verbally chide me. We know what something like this would have landed my father in, if it had happened in the US. The only other time I was hit was when he slapped me over a small misunderstanding, in public, that actually stayed with more and hurt me more. I wonder if the foundation of our rocky relationship was laid on that day. I won't talk about why he he slapped me here.
He is a kind loving man, but not always with polished edges. He had a much harder childhood and life than I had, and when I look back I owe a debt of gratitude to him, for where I am at in life would not have happened without him and mom. I have made my peace with him and am at peace with myself about it.
Do any of you recall ever trying a stunt like what I did?
This is probably a bit dark. I am not sure it means anything other than at that age I just did not understand it. My recollection of it however is crystal clear. We lived in staff housing for employees of the Indian Railroad (railways) as they call them. I recall going down on the street to hangout with my playmates. It was a quite afternoon, not too many people about.
There was this family that lived a few doors down, they had 3 sons, all I knew was they did not have a clean, well kept house. One of the 3 sons, I think the oldest was walking towards me on the street. As he came abreast of me he reached out and grabbed my crotch. It happened so fast I barely had a chance to react, I did pull away though. That was it, the guy went on his way, and I was completely incapable of understanding what happened. All I knew was that it did not seem right. For whatever reason I never mentioned this to anyone incl my folks, but it stayed with me. I made sure I avoided that guy, we moved from there a few years later. I was too young to comprehend it but not enough for it to fade in to the recesses of my mind.
There was another episode on a train a few years later, when I had just finished high school. You know those commuter trains in Bombay? They get crowded like tins of sardine. Some perv decided it was a good idea to rub him self against me. He was aroused by it too, it was so friggin obvious!!! I was horrified and tried to move away, but he moved along with me in the mass of humanity in that coach.
I had to do something, too scared to say anything, I moved towards the doors of the compartment. The trains there don’t have doors that shut, so as the train started to move out of the Vikhroli station (I remember the station name, how could I not) and started to gather a little speed. I got off, I did not see the guy get off, but as I left the station out on to the street I kept looking back, trying to make sure I was not followed.
I took a long walk around the streets near the station, part of me already starting to distance myself from what happened (self survival..I guess?) , and the other parts filled with revulsion, anger, fear and loathing at myself and the perpetrator for what had just happened to me. This also brought forth memories of the earlier incident and I wondered what made me a magnet for something like this. I am not sure if there was higher power at work here or just my street smarts that saved me, but either of those episodes could have gotten uglier. They stay with me as a reminder of the evil that lurks in the mind of men.
Now that I thoroughly depressed ya’ll.
Dreaming Of Chocolate..
As a kid in my time, sweets were strictly rationed. First of all we never saw the dazzling variety of candy back then in India that we see in the US. I think that was probably good, for I do tend to have a sweet tooth (I went thru a 5 lb jar of gummi bears in 2 weeks single handedly a few yrs back). But my obsession with staying in shape and an ability to control my portion size have saved me, that and not wanting to make my dentist richer than he already is ..no sire!
Back on track.. We hardly ever got candy on week days at home. Only when mom went out and took me and sis along, did we get candy to eat and usually was the hardboiled type. So one day we discovered “Gems” candy made by Cadburys. They are like M & Ms and to this kid, it was the closest that came to being in heaven after I ate one. The way each colored gems melted in my mouth was bliss. Like a lot of kids, I would also lick each one and then stick my tongue out to see the color on it, in front of a mirror or ask another kid to tell me how it looked.
But mom would never give me more than one or two of those. And I had a dream about this, where I was begging her for a gem, and she was like “No sweetie your teeth are gonna rot with too much sugar!”
But she gave in to my entreaties, and out popped a single gems in to the palm of my outstretched hand. As it touched it I closed my hand over it. That was when I woke up, and my hand was closed, I opened it half expecting there to be a gems candy there. Needless to say I was disappointed.
So there you go folks, some good some not so good..my childhood memories. At least now I won’t take some of them with me to the grave.