Looking Back
- Part 1 -

Dr. Jayadeva Phurailatpam *

 A classroom for Kids at Morning Dew School in Kakching in 2008
A classroom for Kids at Morning Dew School in Kakching in 2008 :: Pix - Shonnai Saka

"I want to grow old, so at least people will not tell me what to do or what not to do!" This has always been my motto in life.

Now that I am growing older and feeling the responsibilities and the burden of a family man, I wish I was the same old boy who used to ride a broken bicycle and caring least about his torn pants or soiled shirt. The only thing that I cared was the homework from school (which I thought was the biggest problem in life).

My childhood had been fun with all the games, eating every single piece of junks (without even worrying a bit about putting on weights) or playing in the mud, least bothering about falling sick.

But one thing I never liked doing was going to school. I actually hated it for the first few years of my life.

My first day of school. I obviously don't remember it. But my parents told me, I cried a lot and never would let them go out of my sight.

After few days I was left under the care of the supervising teacher. But I still would be crying and scream for my parents. This went on for a month.

My first teacher that I can remember was Oja Laskmi. She was a thin built lady with big-framed eyeglasses, reminded me of those 1970's era actresses. But she was very strict always holding a cane but good thing was she never used to hit any student. She had a high pitch voice that was enough to overcome the noisy classroom at any point of time.

I appreciate her patience of managing so many crying children at a time in a single classroom! I would have flip and ran away.

Learning A,B,C had been fun and reciting poem was delightful. But never really understood the meaning of it in those times. It was like a parrot reciting words.

My elder sister was very proud that she has learnt her part of rhyme called, " chubby cheeks, rosy lips" and you would not believe she would recite the entire rhyme with her two fingers placed on both her cheeks and swaying her head to any guest that would come to the house!

I was kind of shy or introvert. I could not even think of doing something like that for the guest in our house.

But one fine day, I suddenly got the courage from nowhere and told my mother that I wanted to participate in the children program being held at the GM Hall, Imphal for which my seniors had gone with our teacher. I was not allowed because they have an age limit and I was a year shy.

I insisted so much that my mother took me directly to the function, requested the authorities to put me in non - competitive section and just let me recite my poem and be done with it. They obliged after much requesting.

But when they called out my name in the loud speaker, I froze. Suddenly all the hot air went out.

I went to the stage very reluctantly and for my first time in life I spoke through a mic.

The first word I told was lingering all the corner of the hall!

I got a shit nervous. No words were coming out. Then, I did what a 6 year old can do best; almost teary eyed I was searching for my mother in the crowd. And there she was standing on my right side below the stage. She was making gestures to comfort me, telling me to do what I came for and that she is here only standing by the side.

Then there, I told the whole poem was recited at one full stretch.

I knew I was just another ordinary boy next door who stammer while recitation but the whole audience clap for me that day, for the first time in my life.

It was delightful moment and ran upto my mother and hugged her tightly.

Later that day, I got a pen and notebook from mother. She told me that I got these as first prize for my recitation. I was very happy because yet again I got a pen and a notebook for scoring 'first'.

But I never knew until recently that all those 'first prizes' that mother used to give was given by her only!!

I must say that, after receiving those pens and notebooks as 'prizes', I wanted to do more.

Maybe I never got a real prize but those fake prizes that my mother gave were probably one of the few reasons for what I am today.

In those times, Children's day was celebrated in Pologround, Imphal with many children from different schools coming from all the parts of Manipur.

I went along with my grandmother and many other students from the kinder garden.

We were supposed to stand in line along with my fellow students. But instead I came out of the ground without informing anyone and followed some of my seniors and went home walking with them!

I really don't know why I did that till now. I came home happily and was eating the snacks that I got from the function.

On the other hand, my name was being announced on loudspeaker and all were very tensed. When they ultimately came home dejected that I am lost, they saw me playing happily with my cousins. Oh boy! I got the nicest scolding but thankfully no beating.

Watching TV was my favorite pastime. And my father was very strict about completing studies then only watching TV program. In those times, we never had the varieties of choices they have in television nowadays. 'Dordarshan' was the only option.

Sunday was the best day for watching TV. The day will start with 'Rangoli' at 7:30 AM and many other mythological series like Ramayana, Mahabharat and Chandrakanta followed by Disney's Cartoon like Duck tales and Tailspin!!!

It feels nostalgic whenever I see those programs in Youtube or in some other channels nowadays.

My siblings and me were very addicted in TV. This made my father very furious as none of us would study, except for my eldest sister (who is still a bookworm with glasses so thick that you can burn ants with those!!) that he look the fuse of the TV off and would repair it only on Sundays.

But still we had our own ways. We went to my aunt house, which was just next to us, and watch it there!

We had many cousins in our group- boys and girls, of similar age groups. Once we decided to play cricket. My sister was bowling. When the batsman hit her ball out of the courtyard, she instead of catching the ball caught hold of the batsman so he should not make runs!! We still make fun of her till today.

Shifting to a new school and getting adapted with the new rules and new friends had always been hard for me. Being a person who interact less with classmates, it was not an easy task to make friends. Spending 6 hours in an unfamiliar place with no one you knew was really hard for an 8 years old boy.

But in every class there is always some few friends who somewhat comes out a bit similar as you are. Lucky for me, I found mine. Timid, quite and bad at sports was the similarities that we had.

My friend was a boon to me. Everyday, we would share our lunch and play together.

We always call that friend 'best friend' who sits next to you and share your lunch. So, needless to say, he was my very own best friend!

Time went by smoothly, I became more acclimatized. I had many other friends with whom I shared my lunch. So technically, I had many 'best' friends. Then all of sudden things started changing.

To be continued.....

* Dr. Jayadeva Phurailatpam wrote this article for
The writer MBBS, MD(RD) who is currently based in Bangalore and can be contacted at jax_pheonix(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was posted on May 04 , 2014.

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