March 14, 2013

Relics of Childhood

Today I saw a beautiful and moving series of photographs of children from different corners of the world being photographed with their most precious possessions. The little girl from Zambia and the little boy from Bangkok are so cute, I want to gobble them up!

I tried to recollect the most treasured (material) possessions from my early childhood. Mostly they were comic books and Enid Blyton mysteries. I stacked them in a brown cupboard with a glass door, and in the evening I used to return home after a delightful hour of playing with the neighbourhood kids and my cousins, splash some water on my face (to appease my mother), sit cross-legged on my bed and take out a book from that cupboard. It was a solitary hour of reading that I looked forward to every day; but those books and the cupboard got left behind while moving to a new place. I just hope some kid, who liked reading, found them.

A few days ago I had helped my mother clean up the old trunks in the attic. And it was here that I found certain run-down relics of my childhood.

An unusually cheerful Garfield that liked to hug.

 I called her Tiffany, after the actor who played Vicki the Robot in the series Small Wonder.

This is my favorite childhood possession. My father had bought this glow-worm when I was barely two years old. I liked to think of it as an extremely hunch-backed, chubby-cheeked and kind old woman looking out for me whenever I woke up in the dark after a nightmare.

With the advent of my sister, we played house a lot. Both my sister and I were insistent that our respective Barbie dolls became the lone Ken's wife. The competition was fierce, and we were equally stubborn. It ended in a polygamous Ken with a harem of Barbie wives!

Later in the day, I skimmed photo albums for similar relics of childhood and a whole lot of weird objects cropped up.
I am useless in the kitchen; can't differentiate butter from margarine, don't know where the spices are kept, somehow end up burning even the noodles, and get palpitations every time I have to boil an egg. But here is photographic evidence that as an infant I was quite a kick-ass chef. The culinary skills have regressed since then.

That's me, aged one, flaunting all of the eight teeth I had. The doll in my lap was nearly as tall as me. I used to carry her around everywhere. Too sad that a few years later she was brutally decapitated by my sister.

Even as a child I was over-pouring with maternal instincts. It was a battery-operated baby that said 'Mama' whenever I pulled the blue pacifier from its mouth. It made a weird crackling sound and went mute forever after I poured a glass of hot milk into its mouth. I also tried to paint a natural blush onto his cheeks with a bright pink marker. The end result was grotesque.

This is the weirdest photograph from my childhood. From top right (in clockwise manner), here are the odd assortment of playthings that I surrounded myself with: the giant doll that was nearly as tall as me; (God forbid!) a gun; a yellow bunny, that too on wheels; a weird multi-coloured balloon-like doll; real five-rupee currency notes, and I fail to understand why; a yellow car; a merry-go-round; and an insignificant red doll. But there I sat, with a majestic sulk, grabbing an empty incense stick carton and my own photograph.

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