Friday, January 21, 2011

Memories that got lost

I feel terribly jealous when people talk about their childhoods and have extremely clear memories from when they were 4 or whatever. I hardly remember anything- except maybe blurry snippets of the faces of a few friends, what games we used to play (our entire lives didn't depend on the television even in the early 90s) and the few fights we had. Even when I think I do remember some small thing, it feels like a dream- very censored and hazy and sometimes I can't make out if I'm making it up or if it really happened!

I have one clear memory of a conversation with one of my neighbourhood friends, Shilpa (I don't remember her last name- the beauty of it is, at that age we didn't feel the need to find out). She told me that the sun was a star and I looked at her like she was total idiot. The sun is yellow, not shiny and too big to be a star, DUH. I had a good laugh at her expense. And eventually, obviously I wasn't the last one laughing.

But other than these small fragmented memories, I don't remember much- I don't remember what I spent my time doing. I don't remember what my thoughts were- I just remember wanting to grow up so I wouldn't have to take orders from grown ups anymore.

I keep trying to piece it up- ask my aunts or my grandparents what I used to be like (apparently either my parents didn't love me or the no-memory thing is in the genes, my parents remember nothing. My mother doesn't even remember what hour of the day I was born- How anyone can forget the exact time when something came kicking and screaming out of your body is a wonder to me). 

Anyway, so this is the synopsis of the report I have received from people who knew me from then: I was a well behaved child. I loved sweeping every corner of everyone's house (how life changes!). And I was the kind of child that didn't care much about dolls and toys. Sure, I had an imagination and used to tell stories or paint or write my own 'newspapers'. But mostly, I just constantly wanted company (not much has changed on that front).

I always insisted on a 'real doll'.

Just after I started playschool I told my parents that I noticed everyone at school had 'real baby dolls' (read siblings), and I definitely ought to have one too. My poor parents, having wanted only one child (and me being more than a handful) tried to pacify their 3 year old by giving her a room full toys, but I was a stubborn one, even then. I wouldn't be bribed- no, not me. I told them I would refuse to eat and cried till they assured me that a 'real doll' was on its way.

And that's how my sister was born- a fact I don't let her ever forget. Especially when I want her to do something for me- 'Remember you were born only because of me- you're indebted to me for life.' (of course this actually worked only till she was ten; after which she'd promptly ask me to get lost).

Thank god she's here and thank god she has a good memory because even when eventually I got bored of my new 'real doll' and wanted her away from me so I could play with other dolls my age, she hung around and pestered me. She has 'clear' memories and when I talk to her she helps me relive them now.

Mostly, I thank god because she's the best 'real doll' that anyone could've ever asked for- I can't imagine how dull my life would've been without her.

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