Memories Of Childhood
With all this pampering from everyone and always being appreciated I was very confident in myself. This self-confidence gave me an attitude about my skills and abilities. I had trust in myself and a sense of control over my life. That’s why I had a mind of my own since my childhood. I expressed my own views on what was put before me. With a little bit of high temperament, I did what I liked.
I was very good at studies and girls from my own class came to me in the evening, to get their homework done with my help. Maybe that was one of the reasons I thought very highly about myself. I studied smarter not longer. That’s why I had plenty of time on my hand to do other things. Even today, I prefer to manage my time very smartly so that I could manage all my work in time, without leaving anything pending.
We didn’t have any maids back then in the 70s and I helped my mother in the kitchen when I was mature enough to handle kitchen gadgets. I used to clean the room in the evenings and kept everything neat and clean in that small home. In cooking also I helped my mom and when my family liked what I cooked, I was so happy that I fed them all of the food without saving some food for me.
There are so many memories from my childhood, that I am trying to recall today while writing about those days. We didn’t have water coolers so we used to put chicks on the door which were called (khus curtains). Khus curtains were quite common in those days to maintain a cool ambiance inside the home. We used to sprinkle water on it and when air blew through the curtain, people inside the room used to feel cool vibes all around. This was used in the afternoons particularly to take some respite from the heat outside.
The Hindi word for the vendor is ‘wallah’, which is attached to the name of the item being sold; e.g., kebadiwallah, paan wallah, etc. Most ‘wallahs’ are men. In that heat, there were vendors outside in our streets, who always tried to sell their Jaljeera, Jamun, and False(berries). These guys had their own song and we waited for them to come and sing that song so that we could buy what we wanted to eat. On hearing their voice me and my brother ran towards the door after taking coins from our mom. False wallah called us by his song…’Kale kale false, bade raseele false, sharbat wale false.’ He put some kind of masala on it, tossed it, and gave it to us for just 10 paisa coins each serving. ‘Ganne ka ras’(sugarcane juice) was also our favorite.
There were more vendors like this who tried calling children by their melodious songs. One ice cream wallah was also there who used to come in the afternoons and with a strong voice called ice cream mmmm like he was trying to call ice cream not us.
Then a chat wallah was very famous in our locality for his ‘chapati chat and gol gappas’(water balls). Where can we find these vendors now? All those things were delicacies for us. Sometimes in the evening I and my brother went to the shop at the corner of our street and had a bottle of coca-cola, which was shared by us. It came for 25 paise at that time but it was costly for us. So we shared it and were happy to do so. That meant a treat for us.
To be continued…