Do you remember how you were like in those days? By those days, I mean younger days. When I say younger, go back a few years or even a whole lot of years depending on your carbon dating results. Go back to your teens. Even to the cusp of teens. How do you remember yourself to be? Recently, a friend of mine told me about me. He started off with a question. "What happened to you?". A disturbing question. Thankfully, he did not let the question hang there like an orphan. He continued. "You are so different from what you were in school". By now, the conversation was steering into dangerous territory. I was curious. So I kept quiet. "I remember you as perpetually pissed-off kid".
A pissed off kid! I was not flattered. What made him think of me as a pissed off kid? Did I have a permanent scowl on my face? Was I grumpy always? I couldn't figure it out myself. I thought I have a perfectly disturbed childhood like rest of us. There are a whole lot of things I would like to change from that period. But in total, it was a good one too. I gave enough anguish to parents and elders. In the end, I turned out okay. What was construed as perfectly normal was given a different interpretation by my friend. If it was meant to be any consolation, he closed it by saying, "Now you blog, you take photos...". Essentially, he did a me on me. He kept it clear, but vague enough to get me thinking. Just like me.
We do not really remember our childhood. We only remember fragments of it. Sometimes, these fragments can be dangerous and misleading. It is good to have an outsider's view. Having said it, my friend was being truthful, though it was disconcerting for me. Luckily for me, there were better things to learn about my childhood during my recent visit to Kerala. After a long time, I met all my maternal uncles after a very long time during the recent trip. Since I had crammed many things in the short day, I was spending more time than initially planned and hence getting late. This led to a remark from my uncle. "You were never late. You used to be at least 5 minutes early". So punctuality was a casualty of becoming older! I don't even remember me being punctual! I have three maternal uncles. By strange design, the youngest of the three was the last one I met on that day in Kerala. We had to pick him from the nearest town before going to his house. Since he had health challenges recently, we were not happy with the arrangement. We didn't want him to be going out to get something just because we were visiting him. I was slightly angry but didn't say a word about it. After we reached his home, he gave me a packet. It was freshly baked peanuts wrapped in a newspaper, the kind you buy from a street seller.
I was surprised. I don't like peanuts. Why is he buying me peanuts? I am glad I didn't ask this question loudly for his wife explained me about his little escapade. He had gone all the way to the nearest town to buy peanuts. During my growing years, I used to hang around with my youngest maternal uncle a lot. According to him, I loved peanuts and would always ask him to buy me some. Even though I had forgotten about this, this is how he wants to remember me. Sitting there holding that crumpled newspaper with peanuts, I tried hard to remember. I couldn't recollect this phase. But I did remember a lot of other things. The distance my uncle covered that day in order to buy the peanuts made me travel back in time by decades of years. That journey in a split second made me happy despite having an unsolved mystery. The mystery of what was I like in those days.
Tags: Musings,Younger Days,Friends,Family