Then, Now and Will Be

Kidakaka had tagged me over three months ago. And I took so long to finally finish writing it. Turns out it’s become pretty long.

Two questions in each category answer them and then tag your friends from the blog-o-sphere. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been tagged and you are all set.

Your oldest memories

  • I vaguely remember a flood in Calcutta, because I loved the feeling of water filled in our rooms at the old house. All my life this memory somehow also makes me feel I’m in East Asia.
  • I insist to my grandpa that I want to eat fish. He being a vegetarian (he used to wear a janeu/yagnopavit), still goes to the market to buy fish for me. When it was being cut, I happened to be around and saw the blood coming out of its fins. There was an instant realisation that fish are also like us – they also bleed, they also must be feeling pain. Ergo, I am a vegetarian ever since.
  • All of four years, the young rider in me wants to ride my uncle’s bike standing outside our house. I stand on the kick-lever, trying to start it, and the bike falls upon me. Safely enconsed in the gap underneath the bike, I patiently wait for anyone to come by and help me out. The noise startles everyone in the house and they rush out to look for me.
  • Back in the good ol’ times when 9AM on a Sunday meant Ramayan on Doordarshan, on one such Sunday my mother was busy cooking lunch so that she can get down to watching television from 9 onwards. And I was hungry. And I kept asking her for something to eat. She had to ask me to wait. With unending energy inside me, I started looking for things to do. One of these things I realised was pulling off the wooden pieces at the base of the cabinet underneath the stove. “Why do they need those?”, I thought, “let me remove them”. Fine idea, except that it is the same stove which was being used to cook lunch. I pull out one of the pieces, and then everything on the stove tumbles down on me, including boiling hot cooking oil. Severe burns ensue, and after quite some time under medical care and lots of care by mom & dad, my life came back to normal. I became much, much quieter though.
  • Back in the old days when I used to be 7 something, we used to celebrate Chhath pooja in the factory which now belongs to my uncle. Still remember the fun we had there. We used to play hide and seek between the huge machines and rolls of paper, and sleep on piles of cut paper.
  • Got my first computer, a 486 with 2MB RAM. I was a BASIC geek, but the assembler had left a folder of Prince of Persia on the hard disk. I was hooked! It was amazing for the times, and I could not separate myself from the computer since then. And the feeling when I saw my first “coloured circles” that I had coded in Qbasic – nothing now can match that excitement.
  • Thanks to a Hindi-movie laden upbringing, I was a Hindi fillum ka hero, and any pretty girl around my age would be my prospective heroine. Can’t count how many times I have simply “fallen in love” at first sight 🙂
  • After my grandpa passed away, we were all staying at our old house for around a year. I had tons of friends there, and we all loved playing cricket. One fine day one of the boys said he wanted to bat. I agreed, and went behind the wickets. We never had wicket-keepers in those games, but I had seen it on TV and wanted to try it out. The boy who was bowling, meek chap that he was, always rolled the ball on the ground instead of throwing it. The batsman, Ravi Shastri fan it seems, wanted to hit a six on every ball. So he takes a swing at the rolling ball. The bat he was holding had a crack between the handle and the blade – with his swing it came unstuck, the blade went flying towards the pavement and the handle’s sharp wedge found my skull. With immense pain I started crying. I had thought it would be a bump, but when I touched it, I was shocked to find that the skin had broken apart there – I could feel that the cut is around an inch deep! I was drenched in blood, and everybody was looking at me with horrifying expressions. It so happened that a neighbour was passing by, recognised me, wrapped my head with a big piece of cloth he was carrying and took me home. I still have the scar on my forehead to show.
  • Once my cousin and I went out of the house to play cricket. So we carried the cricket bat (yes the same one) and since there were no balls to play cricket in the house, I stuffed a deck of cards in my pocket (!? Don’t ask. I couldn’t answer it then, and I can’t answer it now) while going out. Once we were outside we “realised” that we couldn’t play because we did not have a ball with us. So I come up with an idea – that we should walk. So we walked. And we kept walking. And walking. And walking. And we crossed many roads. And we reached the factory. Rushed in the compound and sat in a chair in one corner. My uncles and cousins were playing cricket near the compound’s gate, and they obviously saw us go in (we walked in the middle of the game). So they come rushing in. By that time my mother had already called everyone to tell that the kids are missing. Hours of lectures, to me and to mother and grandpa (for not taking care). The whole experience was fun by the way 🙂
  • As a kid who used to be dropped and picked up from school by my parents or someone designated, there have been times when I have been waiting till evenings in the school compound. When all the kids have gone home, when the classrooms are being closed, it is lonely, gloomy. And I had heard the story of a Calcutta schoolgirl who had fallen asleep in class on the last day of the term and stayed locked in the classroom for an entire month – she even ate her shoes and clothes in her futile attempt at survival. And I used to think “Am I important enough for my folks?”. Anyways, one such time the school authorities could not wait with me for so long, so they sent the gatekeeper with me to search for my house. All I could remember was “then there is a gully on the right, and then there is a gully on the left…”, no landmarks, no street names, and I referred to roads, streets, highways – all as gullies, as long as they began with a turn. They figured that I knew the way well enough to reach, only that I didn’t know how to articulate it. I finally reach home, to a worried mother, who was wondering all this while if I was at school or I was picked up from the school and was in the office. Turned out that no one was designated that day to pick me up, and everyone had forgotten thinking that somebody else must be going.

What were you doing ten years ago?
February 1999
Preparing for ISC, nay for the JEE. Going mad playing games. Had found the internet over a year back, so was going mad trying out Shellsock, Caltiger and any means of getting cheaper internet. Was sorting through piles of accounting papers, working in TCS’s E-X. It sucked.

Your first thought in the morning
Aah 7? So my roomie is late for the gym! Great. Anyways, let me sleep for another 10 minutes, and then I’ll go out for a jog.

Oh, it’s 8.00!!!

If you built a time capsule what would it contain?
The necessary parts to make it work, right?

This year…
It’s just begun. Let’s see if I can manage enough leaves for the Himalayan Odyssey. And enough money to pay off a major part of my debts. Otherwise I just want to go home for a week or so.

What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?
Don’t know. 14 years ago I wouldn’t have thought I would be anywhere near what I am today, so taking a guess is useless.

All I know is
I want my parents, both of them, to be healthy, comfortable, happy and proud of me
I want to be published by then
I want to have a loving and happy family


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