Thursday, August 30, 2007

Car Tale

No this is not a fairytale but then again it is a tale-- of 2 cars, The Baba ,The Momma and there 3 little princesses

Part 1- The Arrival

Once upon a time we had a scooter. I was around 2 or 3 yrs old then .I would stand in front of Baba while Momma would be the pillion rider, holding Boo in her lap and Di would somehow sit sandwiched between Baba and Momma. We rode like that for a few months when we came to Kolkata from Kharagpur. Somehow Baba realized that it wasn’t a safe mode of travelling (especially in a city like Kolkata so one fine evening arrived home, a shiny, new FIAT car and we all fell in love with it. It was almost 25 years back and Maruti wasn’t a big hit till then. There would be those big, powerful Ambassadors or the smart sleek Fiats. Though Most of Baba's friends had Ambassadors, both my parents had this thing of being different from others so Fiat it was. It was light blue on the exterior with maroon or maybe chocolate coloured upholstery. I was very small then but i have a few fond memories of our ' Pakkhi Raaj' (The king of flying birds)-- By the way, the name was bestowed on her by our friends (will come to that part later). Baba would drive it to office and on the way drop us and 3 of our friends to school. Through the entire route, we would all fight and quarrel about who would get the window seat or the more coveted front window seat. We would feel so proud getting off the car in front of the school gates (yes big snobs we were  ) while the other school kids would just stare at our brand new, shiny blue Fiat. We owned the world.

Part 2- The Romantic drives

During my MBA days, there was (still is) this close friend of mine, Trina. She once said that if she ever had enough money after marriage, the first thing she will buy is a Fiat. To her it was the most romantic car!!! With the undivided front seat and the gear, fixed at the steering wheels, her husband could easily drive with one hand on the steering while the other arm would go around and hold her. Yes very romantic indeed and i couldn’t help smiling. I remember how on long drives, Baba would drive with his left arm resting behind Momma's back. it looked so sweet .We 3 sisters would usually be looking out of the windows waving whoever passed by. It was really a funny observation (especially as kids)-- while women would smile sweetly and at times wave back, the men mostly had this expressionless face staring right through us.This was the first difference I found between a man and a woman. The one smiling and waving is the woman and the unsmiling one would be the Man!!! Now children, especially girls never like being neglected so we changed our strategy so that these men react. We started making faces at them--ugly , distorted faces with our fingers becoming our horns and our tongues hanging out. Funnily men liked it and they would either smile or laugh or give those 'same to you' faces at us. The middle aged aunties or Dadis did not like all this and they would at times shake there heads (saying we shouldn’t be doing this) or look shocked...So the men enjoyed those distorted, ugly, devilish things while women liked those smiling waving faces --another difference you see.

Part 3 – The Pakkhi Raaj ( King of the flying Birds)

During there hey, days both Momma and Baba were the adventurous types. On one of the christmas eve parties Baba and his friends suddenly decided to spend the Christmas weekend at Digha-- the nearest sea beach.!!! the catch being that they will leave next day early morning and drive there own cars and the worst thing being that they did’nt know the route, there was’nt any proper road and it would be an almost 12hrs rough journey. Back from the party we were all excited and we spent the entire night packing. By 5 in the morning, the 4 cars--2ambassadors, one brand new Maruti 800 and our 8yr old Fiat were ready and we all took our places...with me, Boo and 3 of our friends in our own car, Di and few more friends in the new maruti (oh how I envied her-- but there were no places left) and Momma with her friends (the heavier ones) in the Ambassadors. We all had gone just half way, that our silencer broke down. Our car was sounding more like an auto so we made a stop while the rest waved or showed “ the thumbs down “sign. The mechanic said that he is seeing a Fiatfor the first time  in this kind of  stretch—(the car is not made for rough roads). Baba, who already knew it, had full confidence on his Fiat and said that he will make it. We started again in full speed but with a little more caution. Though we didn’t get to be 1st (the maruti of course was the one), we came 2nd. The huge Ambassadors were the last ones to reach (thanks to the aunties who kept shouting to slow down).But this was half of the real thing. There was the return journey too. The Digha stay is another interesting story which I will write about later.

On the day of our return journey, we started late afternoon .All of us were happy, cheerful and dead tired. We did not sleep for 2nights (if u count the party, then it must be 3). The condition of Baba and his friends were worse. So we all started together but halfway down the road, the cars lost each other. It was getting dark and you couldn’t see a thing ahead (Thank God there is a thing called headlights) and there were these huge , speeding trucks everywhere. Finally we took a break at Kolaghata which was supposed to be the meeting point. After waiting for an hour, we realized that all of them must be way ahead and we were the last ones  So we started on our final lap feeling sad and defeated (We as kids took these things rather seriously). We reached our ‘Balaka Apartments’ around mid night expecting every competitor waiting to boo at us but guess what??? The entire colony was sleeping peacefully. We reached our door only to find the lock still hanging and we all jumped! yes we won the race….the house keys were with momma and she did’nt reach yet. The car was full of us kiddies only and we all were excitedly planning how to welcome(an ugly welcome) the rest. Even Baba looked excited but at the same time was worried. Finally after 3 long hours, 2 cars returned- An Ambassdor with the Maruti tagging along with the help of a rope. Later on we learnt that

Ambassador No. 1— Broke down mid-way without any warning.
Ambassador No.2 ---- The Horn stopped working so had to take the help of the Maruti and stay
Right next to it. The occupants of Maruti (all the guys) had joked and
Jeered calling the Ambassador “ Dadu” (Old Man)
The New Maruti --- This is what we call divine justice—first the headlights stopped working
So was now “sticking with” Ambassador no.2 and finally 2 of its tyres went
Flat. So the guys had to be dropped and they were returning by local train.

Our Fiat, the strongest of the lot, was thus given the name—“ Pakkhi Raaj”

Keep watching this space.I’ll be back again posting the next parts of the “Car Tale”.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Baby Boo goes to school....she is different

Momma says that Baby boo was the best behaved child when Boo she was inside her...Baby Boo never kicked Momma, never turned and baby boo was always hungry so Momma ate like a monster but she looked her best- healthy, glowing and beautiful..she had never felt better. Momma was happy and she thought that boo would be the most co-operative child. Boo arrrived a month earlier than predicted. Doctor said that Boo was the healthiest and most beautiful new born he had ever seen.Momma says she looked like a nine month old baby already.She was the "chubby cheeks, Dimple chin, rosy lips...very fair" child. Boo was unlike any other child. she would drink her milk and sleep peacefully.Boo never cried and slept the whole night through.Momma always wondered why Boo slept so much and at times would place her ears on Boo's chest just to make sure that her heartbeat has'nt stopped.The fairytale continued till Boo turned 3yrs old. She went to school and all hell broke loose. Though i dont remember anything clearly, i can recall that Boo was dressed in the usual grey uniform and I remeber Momma talking to one of the teachers, Mrs. Abrol (who was Baba's Office colleague's wife).Di and I had accompanied Boo to her class and left her. she came back home but was not talking to anyone of us. Next morning, the moment she saw the uniform, Boo started crying. Boo had never cried like this before. Initially Momma thought that Boo was following my footsteps and so just like in my case even she can turn her round. But sadly for the first time Momma was wrong about her child. No amount of cajoling, reasoning, bribing, scolding could change Boo's mind. The mornings became the most dreaded part of the day for us and mainly for Momma. Boo's shrill cries could be heard in the entire colony. Momma's heart broke to see her loving ,smiling baby turning into a raging screaming monster. Momma would meet the teachers and staff but no one could pin-point at what went wrong. This routine carried on for a year. Then finally one day Boo's class teacher informed Momma that her child could not even hold a pencil. Momma could'nt believe this!! The teacher said that for a year they have been trying to make her write alphabets but even after a year she doesn'nt know how to hold a pencil. She just could'nt hold the pencil with her fingers. She had no grip at all. Momma knew something had gone wrong .She started recalling how Boo was a premature baby, why Boo was so unnaturaly mild, why Boo would always sleep, why Boo learnt to roll, walk and talk much later than her first two kids,why she could'nt eat all by herself, could'nt hold her spoon,her bottle, why she always threw tantrums when Momma tried to hold her hands and teach her to write, why she would always hide or throw away the chalks and pencils. She discussed it with Baba. And they finally decided to meet a Doctor. Momma could'nt eat or sleep. She started blaming herself for being so casual, for not noticing those litle differences between her little Boo and her sisters...and Momma cried. When Di had turned 3Yrs, she was given a medium sized blackboard and colouful chalks. Di had learnt her first letters in that blackboard and I followed suit.We also tried teaching Boo but the sight of dreaded chalks made her cry.It was one of those weekdays and as usual Boo didnot go to school (the doctor had asked momma not to send her to school).She was sitting beside the blackboard, playing with her dolls while momma cooked in the kitchen.Momma enterd the room and saw a few alphabets scribbled on the board.Momma cleaned up the board and left.After sometime When she again returned to check on Boo, she could'nt believe her eyes."c","D" and "L" were scribbled on the blackboard!!! Momma was euphoric. She kised Boo and made her hold the chalk and form a few more letters but Boo's grip was lost...Momma realized she was missing something somewhere. She left Boo and hid behind the door to see what Bo was upto. After a few mintutes Boo picked up the chalk, like any another child, trying to keep her fingers firm and her grip tight and she started scribbling nonsensical alphabets on the board...Momma was pleasantly shocked. Her Boo was a normal child !!!and she could write (maybe better than what her elder two sisters could at her age).Difference was that she was a LEFT HANDER!!!She felt really sorry for Boo when she realized what torture she must have gone through when being forced to write by her right hand. She was angry with herself for not realising that Boo was a normal (rather uniquely different) child. The next day she marched to the school and announced to the teachers that Boo CAN HOLD HER PENCIL but with her left hand. Now when i think about it, i can understand what Momma and Baba must have gone through. Being told that your child is a slow learner, that she can never learn to read and write, realizing that your child maybe challenged or differnet,how scared they must have been. But then our Baby Boo is just like that!!!with her you are always in for surprises...and i remember how proud we were when we were told that Boo can wrie with her left hand. Di and I would show her off to our classmates...Baba would proudly pesent her "Lefty Daughter" and say that even Amitabh Bachchan is a lefty. We are proud of you Baby Boo.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Momma takes me to school...

Unfortunately momma knew more about child psychology than what I knew about “momma psychology.” Momma says that right from the moment she saw me n held me, she knew I was different from her first born. Di was the friendly, sincere, disciplined daughter and most importantly, Di always listened to what momma said. Momma wasn’t a typical mother (and never will be).
After my “Potty Excuse” episode She did not force me to school. Instead, when school time would be over, she and I would stand at the school gate to take Di back home. Momma would encourage me to make friends with the school children and in no time did I learn that school can be fun and friends. As I was too proud, I did not want to tell momma that “now am ready for school” so I simply laid down my school uniform in the bed and took out the school shoes…I don’t remember what momma said…maybe she smiled. She had won the first of the many battles that were yet to come. ..

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Momma Says...

Momma says that Di was the best behaved kid any mother could have. She started going to school at the age of two and loved it…funnily it was me who used to start crying the moment I would see di in her school uniform n her school bag…it was a sense of being abandoned…of losing her...and every morning I would be damn frightened thinking she would never come back….and yes I started hating school (our school).To me it was an evil place.

Momma says I was the worst behaved kid of the lot…I was “jedi ” (stubborn), “chalak” ( no, not intelligent but cunning) , moody and yes a big egotist …I was too proud to cry in front of everyone and so frightened that I would hide and cry in the bathroom. I was chalak enough to make a feasible excuse not to go to school and it famously came to be known as “The Potty Excuse” ….I would quietly get dressed in my grey uniform (I hated the colour) without a fuss. As the clock struck 7, I would go n sit in the potty with of course the constipated expression ( I always believe acting is a God gifted talent—u don’t learn it u just have it) and wait till I could hear the school van stopping in front of our gate n then leaving without me. I would then come out all smiles. I was happy that I didn’t have to go to school, happier that I have fooled everyone around me and happiest because I can stay at home and be with my li'l sis, Baby Boo…no one understood me L…I had taken so much of effort for my dear li'l Boo…I didn’t want to leave her all alone…I didn’t want her to feel the way I felt when didi would leave me for her school…who will play with Baby Boo???who will talk to her n chat with her??? I had to make a choice between school n my lil sis n obviously I chose Boo.

Ta Ta Bye Bye

Though everyone says that the first word I uttered was “ Mamma – Baba” but as far as I remember ,the words I said were ‘tata bye bye’ and I must be 2 and one fourth yrs old…it’s the earliest memory I have about myself…Di, who was 3 yrs then n the eldest of The Infamous Trinity, would leave for school and we would wave her till her size got smaller n smaller. I would even hold my younger sis, Baby Boo and teach her how to do it. So I can also say that the first or rather the second word chum said was “tata bye bye.” Since babyhood , the three of us would always cling to each other. Even though she was only a yr n half older to me, she would always be hovering around me n Boo like a big protective Mother Hen .

Thursday, April 19, 2007

About Thakumarjhuli

As the blogname suggests, this is all about chilhood stories and childhood memories.How we all want to go back and relive those childhood days...when days were full of mischiefs, hide n seek games, running in the fields and the nights full of bed time story telling sessions and fairy tale books...Thanks to our Thamma and Pishi who told us stories and took us to the wonderland of kings, queens and fairy godmothers .....How each story gave us a lesson on life, on moral values, the wrongs and rights and above all about doing the right things in life....This book(not a "site")will be about stories, memories and about reliving those childhood days