Power cuts are a really great time for family members to talk about stuff they otherwise rarely talk about. And I found that out, day before yesterday- when the power went out at 8’ O clock. (I knew the time because I had just come home from college after shuttle practice.) And as me and my mom sat outside, having a contest of “who kills more mosquitoes”. We started talking about my one year old cousin, who keeps my aunt and everyone in her house on a constant lookout ever since he started to walk. You take your eyes off him for one minute, and the little rascal is either trying to climb stairs, or running onto the NH-47. that’s when my mom started talking about how “troublesome” I was when I was 4 feet shorter and 17 years younger than today. For you to get a clearer picture, my parents had a mini barricade made out wood fixed at the entrance to the kitchen. (Just to keep me as far away from the gas stove, knives and any other deadly item I could use to harm myself or others for that matter.) The barricade was also meant for my older sister, but mom said it was more important for me.
|my mom and me|
Back then we were in a railway quarters, on the fifth and the top most floor. So that posed another threat, every time I got on the stairs, someone had to be there with me. And when the tenants of the ground floor of that apartment heard a little kid’s cry for help around tea time, they knew it was my bath time. Everyone in that apartment apparently knew me, Mom said I used to spend more time in my neighbor’s houses than our own. (Saved my mom the head ache of keeping me at home though) I had a little friend, a one year old girl next door. And one day when she got sick I had no one to play with, so for her to get well quick, I rubbed iodex all over her face. (For those of you, who are unaware of what an iodex is, it’s a ointment for muscle pain or joint pain, and it stings like hell.) She had to be taken to the hospital that day. (Hey I was young and stupid then!)
Days like these my mom would lock me at home and sit outside for her daily social hour with the neighbors. And I would wreck havoc indoors, mostly by taking the nice forks and spoons and throwing them out of the window. But the spoons eventually end up on the sunshade and my sister would push them off there with a long stick and collect them all from the garden downstairs. And when I wasn't throwing cutlery out of the windows, I would yell at all the beggars who walk by on the road to come up, with promises of “lots of money and food”.
One day, it was time for lunch and mom was looking for me in each of the houses. But none of them saw me that day. Then everyone was worried and a large search party started looking for me. And a fine Saturday afternoon was ruined for about 30-40 people who were looking everywhere for a naughty little 3 year old. They even looked inside the massive water tank on the terrace. Mom was crying the whole time apparently praying to god and making promise of lighting a hundred candles at some church. Then a kid from downstairs said she saw me sitting in the ground. So the entire search party headed to the ground. And they saw me waving at them. I was sitting there staring at an ice cream vendor, who with his push cart and shady looks was having his lunch there. He said he shooed me away several times but, I followed him around with a 5 paisa in my hand. (Hoping to get an ice cream with a 5 paisa coin that went out of circulation the previous year) And by the time she narrated this rather unpleasant story about me from my childhood, the lights came on inside and the TV came to life with a sound of a woman yelling some dialogue. And we went in, me slightly craving an ice cream.