Childhood Memories - Boyhood - Younger Days - Yesterday Once More!
Once Upon A Time - Long Long Ago!
Lunch was over and my mum had just finished clearing the table. The tablecloth had been removed to wash the stains caused by spilt food. We were all careless. Carefree too! Nothing could bother us. Nothing did.
Now mother is back in the kitchen, washing, and planning what to make for tea! Father's off frantically searching for his matches, with an unlit cigar between his teeth. Aah! What an excellent meal ... now to light up that cigar!
The table is once more occupied. A brother and sister attending to their interests, and in between them, the youngest of the siblings, a little fellow! The little fellow is trying to do something important like his older siblings.
However he cannot even come close. The age difference matters. Still he's trying hard to. His older siblings don't want his assistance or company. They are involved in something. Something really important. So the little fellow thinks, thinks, and he thinks.
Now wait a minute, the older brother is sketching something, so ... ? All you need is paper. The little fellow then grabs a sheet of paper, and he grabs a pencil too. Well, give a little fellow a sheet of paper, and a pencil and see what he does. Of course he starts doodling! That's natural is it not?
The Past, The Distant Past, Is Where Childhood Memories Dwell
Of This And That - Gimme Five!
This And That!
"He's doing something too," sez the father to himself. "Let me check out what he's up to!"
I soon sense my father's presence behind me! Looking over my shoulder he appears to be terribly disappointed at what his little son's doing.
Doodling, writing nonsensical stuff, drawing images of people and naming them too, drawing pictures of cats, aeroplanes, guns, and even writing out stupid remarks! Well ... where will this sort of thing lead him to?
In one quick scoop he whisks the sheet of paper away from me. When I look up at him as if to say "what the hell ... ?" he says, "write sense!" You should know to do better than this ... he says, "write sense or else get the hell outta here!"
So? Writing sense is just what would qualify me to be in the company of my older siblings, huh? He wants me to write sense all the time! No doodling! Doodling is for idiots.
"My son is not an idiot, so he should pull himself together and write sense." What the hell does he expect me to write? Especially at this age?
Now wait a minute, "cents ... ?" Well, I can write that. What does it matter if it is cents or sense? ... The lesson on currency I have had involved Dollars, Cents, Pounds, Shillings, Roubles, Kopecks ... and so on.
Overestimating his little kid, that's what he did! Okay, you want sense, right? "Here we go," thought clever little Quicksand! "Cents" should make sense! I knew how to spell "cents," so I grabbed the pencil, flipped that sheet of paper over and started writing. Before long he was up at it again.
Childhood Memories ... Oh, It's Nothing Really Important!
Looking over my head once more, dad wants to check out what his prodigy son was up to now! "What are you writing?" I am writing "cents!" says I and then before bursting into an uncontrollable giggling spell, I drop everything and make a bolt for it. Gimme shelter! Gimme shelter!
Mother or sister provides the best shelter. Sis did on this occasion. He rushes up to her and sez, "look at what this rascal has done!" He shows her the piece of paper on which I had written the word "cents" several times!
My sister trying to look very serious says to him "but that's exactly what you asked him to write, didn't you? He puts a disgruntled look at my sis and snatches the piece of paper and tears it to a thousand pieces and walks away like he has been stumped when stepping out of the crease to lift one over the covers, beaten completely by the spin!
Sis and I giggle to our heart's content. He ignores us as hard as he can! He is over there on his easy chair contemplating while striking the umpteenth match to light up his cigar! Can't a little fellow doodle away to his heart's content at least on a Saturday afternoon? No he can't. Especially so when a lot is expected from him!
Memories - Go Back To The Past And Relive Your Younger Days
Something Interesting? Sure, Everything Is!
The record changer is active, and my brother to whom it belongs is busy sketching, seated on the far end of the table. He's an artist. A good one too. The record on the turntable is nearing the end of its spin and Cliff Richards goes, "... three, two, one, zero - here I go ... ! Sailing to the stars and the silvery moon, if you wanna know what heaven's like you'll be there soon ... D-Y-N-A-M-I-T-E!" Then it was "dsh-dsh-dsh!" ... Tony Meehan on drums!
My sis is sorting out some pictures to be pasted on to her scrapbook. I am somewhere in between, having completed the assignment to write sense, looking to grab another sheet of blank paper to continue whatever I was doing before I started to write sense. My sister periodically increasing the distance between my outstretched hand and that sheet of white paper that was lying on the table.
"Keep out of reach of children!" This applies only to medicines I thought. Medicines or not she was simply following rules. Dad's face was covered by the newspaper which he was clutching with his hands, the right hand also held on to that cigar!
Little as I was, I could hear him think! He's thinking why the hell was I harsh on him? "Poor fellow! Should give him some freedom too ... occasionally." He thinks to himself. "Poor fellow?" My mind hears his. Wow! Compensation is on the way!
Before the hour has passed, my mother has been ordered to "dress up the little fellow!" The little fellow is duly washed against his will and dressed up too! Stockings and shoes! Sis puts the final touches.
My brother too joins in. He skillfully pulls a tuft of hair from the top of my head, twists it a bit and sets it on my forehead! Elvis Presley! That's the gentleman whose picture appears on the record sleeve which has the caption "G I Blues." I am already beginning to look like him. Great start indeed!
Yesterday Once More
It's All From The Past!
Now the dressed up little fellow says "bye" to his sis and mum, and to his brother too. Mum and sis wave back merrily but the brother simply does not! No sentiments from him! He's as stiff as a starched collar ... especially with juveniles.
Then the dressed up little fellow is towed along to the bridge! The bridge! That's where he always wanted to hang out.
The bridge! A great place to be! The bridge, under which you see a magnificent network of railway lines. The lines coming from the far end diverge and form a network creating different paths so that the trains that arrive could be channeled to the right platform before they whiz into the railway station just about a hundred meters away.
The wall that is parallel to the railway tracks is on the same high level as the bridge and meets the bridge at right angles. The bridge connects our area to the center of the city and is a very busy highway.
The father seats his son carefully on the wall facing the railway tracks. The ground on the other side of the wall too is on the same level and remains at that level for a few meters before gradually sloping downwards to reach the bottom on which the railway tracks are laid.
Now the little fellow is seated comfortably on the wall leaning back, supported by his father's arm, grabbing a great panoramic view of the magnificent network of railway lines! The bridge, the bridge! That's where everybody goes to watch the trains go by.
The bridge, that's where you see those magnificent locomotives thundering by with steam gushing out of the pressure chamber with every backward movement of the piston ... the engine driver pulling the lever that toots the horn ... the heat that is felt even from that distance when the locomotive passes ... those sleek diesel engines whizzing along and transferring to the appropriate track to arrive at the specified platform ... Wow! Time simply flies at the bridge!
Michael Jackson's Version Of Childhood
It's Yesterday Many More Times!
Little Quicksand remembers the order to write sense, and waits for the first train to whiz past to start giggling. "Heez laughing because heez happy to see that train." Sorry script error. No, that's not what father thinks. He knows why I am giggling! After all, all fathers know everything!
My father knows everything that all other fathers put together know! It was fully worth it! That order to stop doodling! The bridge, a great place to contemplate, a great place to burst out giggling without being penalized for it. Trains make little fellows happy. Oh really?
"This little bugger is laughing at what he did this afternoon!" Fathers know! But the giggles come only when a train passes by. Cool. What's so funny about a train? Fathers know! The peanut vendors also know! They know why fathers bring their kids to watch the trains go by!
Kids "is" a great market indeed! They are always in the company of big 'uns. Just walk past them without appealing for business, they'll do the rest. This crafty vendor slows down as he passes us and looking the other way increases the frequency and the loudness of his sales call.
Time Travel - The Mind Takes Over!
The sudden twitch and turn of my head to look over my father's shoulder to get a decent full blooded view of the peanut vendor and the apparent degree of importance and urgency shown by this action produces the desired results.
A sudden burst of kindness from a father is not unusual especially when away from home. Of course the action needs to be triggered off. The interest shown in the peanut vendor did it. Fathers are cool dudes ... and kids are not total idiots!
Peanut vendors do not have MBAs but somehow they perform well in business ... like everybody else who do not have MBAs! My father reaches into the pocket of his coat to grab some coins to pay for these peanuts.
No polythene wrapping. Polythene did not exist at that time. Neatly cut squares of newspaper rolled up to make cones. Bio degradable too. Two cones of peanuts. One for sis. That's put into my left pocket.
The contents of the other cone is emptied into my right pocket and the empty cone crushed and thrown away. Bio degradable, I said. That's the way it's done all over the world. It's great to have a pocket full of peanuts, not everyday though! It all started with the command to write sense!
Once Upon A Time - Long Ago!
Back To The Past!
This little fellow knew what the major currencies were, he was ready and in a way hoping a question would be fired at him. He was ready to answer. Now he is under some kinda obligation to. Remember the peanuts.
The whole day is kinda "devoted to education" when dad is around. I am just told something and asked to repeat, irrespective of where I am or what I am doing. Fair enough everything comes in small doses.
"Only as much as the little fellow can handle," I heard him tell one his many friends. He wakes up my sis at two in the morning to listen to the English version of a speech made by Nikita Khrusheyev on some occasion, coming all the way from radio Moscow too. He was very much interested in everything.
Suddenly he snaps at me without any warning. "What's the capital of China?" Immediately I snap back "Peking!" He nods, pleased, but not too pleased. He knew child psychology long before my sister started to learn it, otherwise he would have clapped his hands and screamed to the entire neighborhood "my son is clever, he knows the capital of China!" Not my father, certainly not mine. It was only the other fathers that we knew who did that!
I liked the reward schemes very much. Every time I memorize a poem I am taken to the toy shop! Later on when I learned to read and write, a visit to the bookshop and a glance at those Enid Blyton books neatly stacked on the shelves, "which one of those do you want?"
Yesterday Does Matter Today!
I always hear my father wishing. "I wish I had more money so that I could buy this fellow more of these books," although he says to me very sternly, "one book at a time."
I remember him always picking up cash from the drawer and counting it and putting it safely into his wallet before leaving home. He never ever wanted to disappoint me.
I remember the title of the first of those books, "The Mystery Of The Burnt Cottage," followed by "The Mystery Of The Disappearing Cat." Just one book at a time. Everything should have an order and a right sequence!
I knew it was simply a question of insufficient funds at times. However, we had everything we wanted and I was content right throughout. Books, toys and other treats that could have been considered as extras. These too came along whenever the conditions were right.
I remember that lesson on how to read the time. Of course things come in small doses but not always. After the very first lesson, I was expected to know how to read the time at any given time.
Suddenly without warning comes the call for the time, then I go right up to the clock and start guessing. No response from him means I am wrong. So the lesson starts again. One more time. Only as much as the little fellow can handle.
The funny incident that followed is still spoken of in our circles. My mother's cousin was in his twenties, and he dropped in one day as he does often. While he was around, the call came from my dad for the time.
Thinking that my dad really wanted to know what the time was, he glanced at his watch and read out the time! "You shut up you idiot! I didn't ask you!" He was confused and he reacted by running inside. The giggling little fellow ran behind him! Gimme shelter, mum or sis!
There were lessons on currency, capital cities, languages of the world, who invented what, who discovered what, who wrote what, who the king was, and of which land ... of course these lessons come in small doses, only as much as the little fellow can handle.
Dad used to devise his own methods of helping me remember. When I was taught the directions, he said "NEWS." Remember news comes from North, East, West, and South."
How nice it is to be totally content with an occasional visit to the bridge and a cone of peanuts, or a visit to the seashore followed by the gift of a kite or some hydrogen filled balloons with a stern warning not to let go ... and memories of those brand new books wrapped up in brown paper ...
It's really delightful to wade back in time, remembering and re-living those events ... smiling, and often laughing ... it's simply yesterday once more. Nothing could bother me, and nothing did!
Time goes on and things keep changing. Dad left us a couple of years before man from the planet earth first set foot on the moon. He would have simply relished following the pre-launch reports of the Apollo missions in the newspapers and magazines. He would have been delighted to get to know all the scientific details involving the historic mission.
My sis and I would have been filled in with science associated with space travel. He would have bought me more science books to prepare me into understanding more advanced stuff associated with the Apollo program.
He would have been thrilled to listen to commentaries of the launch from NASA, relayed by the Voice Of America, describing the moon mission from start to finish. Sure he would never have slept until the mission was completed!
I am still trying dad!
© 2012 quicksand