Past childhood memories in India!

My childhood was carefree unknown to what is happening around. The childhood in mid 70’s was full of life enjoying outdoors. No TV, Internet or video games.

In summer we used to play all sort of games; Kabaddi, Cricket, Football, Tag, hide and seek etc. This was the season of the marriages thus it was a heaven on earth for the kids. Each marriage fest use to last for ten days. No elders around, no rok-tok. Fun use to last the whole day. I very well remember sneaking out sweets and chutneys from the cooking pandals. I still remember the day of my MAMA’s marriage. I was 7 years old. The week before the marriage we were playing the catch ball. It was a hot afternoon and all the elders were having their siesta. The ball went onto the roof of the mandap. I managed to get the long stick to poke it underneath to slide it out. But, unfortunately it was a broken brick of the size of a ball. I hurt my forehead. I was unaware till I saw the blood oozing out badly. I was scared and didn’t want to tell my parents. My entire shirt was filled with blood stains. Slowly I managed to sneak into the backyard and wanted to reach the well to wash the stains and change my shirt. But, I was caught in the mid-way by my MAUSI. She saw the blood was oozing out badly from my head. She pulled me into the kitchen and applied the tea dust onto the wound. It was a magic. The blood stopped oozing. She wiped my blood stains, changed the shirt and voila! back to the game.

In monsoon season the common fun was rain dance. Other games were tops (lattoo), Biking, playing board games, making paper boats and those boat competitions in the streams. The most fun was to roll the bicycle rims. I enjoyed rolling them and the rolling competitions. The best festival was GANESH chaturthi. The festival goes on for 10 days and filled with fun and frolic. I still remember one of the occasion. We were living in society. I with my friends made the statue of Ganesha and kept it for 10 days at the entrance of the society. We all were just 10 year old kids. We got good amount of donations from elders. We use to buy sweets and distribute them as “prasad”. On the 10th day we went with the procession for idol immersion. It was fun, the chanting, the dance, the dhol and the colours. The best food in monsoon was ‘roti and achar’. Keeping the ‘achar’ piece and sucking onto it was amazing.

The winter was one my favourite month for the fun. Why? NAVRATRI, DASHERA, DIWALI, SANKRANTI, MAKAR-SANKRANTI and the MAHA-SHIVARATRI. This is the full festive season for every Indian. I was in Gujarat so the Navratri is one of my favourite festival. Imagine those 10 days of dandiya and dancing. Other busy portion of that month was the Ramayana drama and the DASHERA. The entire ground used to get fully packed. People use to flock from far off to watch this event of burning the Ravana. Immidiately the preperations for Diwali begins. Sweets, Crackers and Diya’s in Diwali. I enjoyed cracking the bombs and firing the rockets. As soon as the Diwali is over the preparations for the SANKRANTI begins. My best hobby was kite flying. It is still close to my heart. Imagine staying on the terrace and the roof tops, with ‘til ka laddoos’ for the entire day during all those Sundays. Flying the kites, competing with the friends, and when you ran out of the kite you are on the move to catch the “kati-patang’. I have many memories of this festival, but the most interesting one was that on the Sankranti, in Andhra they call it ‘Bogi”. The boys go on a hunt to collect the wood the night befor the Bogi. We went to one of the house, there was lot of collection of the firewood. The owner was a prick. Kids didn’t like him and was ill famous in the village. We managed to sneak into the compound and take out the wood. One of the boys went greedy and wanted more. Suddenly there was a rumble in the pile and the owner was awake. He woke up and we all started running. But the greedy boy was caught and got a beating. But somehow he managed to get out of his hold and we all were running like crazy. We even fell into the trench. We promised not to narrate this any anybody. We all learned a valuable lesson on that day. We slept only for two hours and the next day at 4:00 am we all took the bath and went to the pyre. We offered our ‘mala’ to the pyre. It is a belief that by burning this ‘mala’ you get rid of entire ‘papa’.

Then arrives the spring, the harvesting season. The most vibrant season of the BAISAKHI, HOLI, and YUGADI. This is entirely a different season for fun. You get new clothes, again after the Diwali festival. It is hard to put in words, the ambience, the fervour and the mood of that day. You visit everybody’s house, it doesn’t matter if you know them or not, to wish a happy Holi. In return they wish you hug you and offer sweets, and then they join you. By the afternoon it is big gang, assemble at the club for the remaining part of the festive part, the dance and singing. I like the ‘gidda’ part the best.  As a kid this is the one festival when we can approach the girls, as they cannot reject us, to put the ‘gulal’ on them. But, some people abuse this festival too. I remember one incident when a teenage boy tore the shirt of the girl. The girl had to run away and nobody said anything to that boy. But the girl came back after changing her clothes and teamed up with other girls and tore the clothes of the boy. The boy was so ashamed as he was just left with his undies. He got his lesson.

And the school ends in April and the Summer fun begins. The entire year is filled with fun and festive mood. No grudges.

Now, at this age it is all locked up in the box. The worst part is there is no key to open it again. Sadly, I came to know that the kids of this generation don’t have the fun which we had. They least play outdoors, and are mostly on the video games, computer games or watching TV. This they call it the next-gen fun. Secondly, they are engrossed with studies, fierce completion for grades and lots of homework from school and tuition. During our time we used go to tuition classes only in high school, that also only for Science and Mathematics. But, now the kids go to tuition for all the courses. It is like double schooling. I wonder what is the necessity of school if a kid has to go to tuition classes. Something is terribly wrong.

||namo Bhaartam, namO Sanskritam||

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9 Responses to Past childhood memories in India!

  1. Patel says:

    What an amazing post! It reminds me of my childhood too! My childhood was same as yours till I was 12, as after that, there are restrictions on girls going out, still very carefree inside the home, as no pressure of any kind from parents. And I paid heavy price for that care free childhood, cannot set up my career the way I wanted to as foundation was not strong enough to build a big home. It’s not only in my case, same with my siblings. During my time, many kids were forced into stricter study schedule from early childhood and now they are very successful in their career. So at the end of the day what matters in India is how well you are doing in your studies, what skill you possess at certain age, what will make your parents proud, and what you are going to earn as an adult to live good quality of life. And it has taught me a very strong lessons that parents involvement and positive support in studies as well as in other activities from early childhood is very important for every generation to give shape to their future.

    If majority of kids and parents are engaged in studies and indoor activities from early childhood than minority of the parents too has to give in as the competition is becoming fierce day by day.

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    • AAryan says:

      I agree that in today’s competitive world is stressing out the kids. Yes, it is important that parents need to be with the kids helping them out in their preparation for becoming a successful student to combat the world and society which is going to come at their disposal.
      But I have a different opinion on this field of “School education”. This has become a hype lately. Say, any career which we take doesn’t require even 25% of what we studied in the college and or in universities. The education system has a big flaw. A student has to go for 3 to 5 years for higher education, spending whole lot of money and his valuable time just for getting a decent job. Once he is in the job, he is again in the learning mode, which they call it “probation”. The requirements are entirely different than what was taught at the school. Then you realize that whatever you studied at the school was a waste in excess of 75%.
      Life need to be in sync with the nature. Nature is never harsh. It has always the easy ways to deal with the problems. But, we humans, especially the highly educated ones, spice it up with complications and make it look bigger than what it actually is.

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  2. Reading about the different views on education made me write this. Education is not only for better jobs and status. It is for knowledge. What we learn in schools & colleges makes us aware [ or should make us aware] of the basics of this Universe; it also teaches us discipline, analysis of situations, logical thinking, and basic morals- all very important in life. There is no doubt even without education one can be knowledgeable- but after a long duration of trial & error. What is education afterall? It is the basic & necessary knowledge of those who experienced life- be it sciences or arts – all put in a nutshell. It tells you where to find the data you need & how to use it. Even our Rishis like Suta & Shounak imparted their knowledge to their students in every Purana.
    So the remark ‘any career which we take doesn’t require even 25% of what we studied in the college and or in universities’ is not applicable. The 3-4 years or more of higher studies & what you learnt in school is not a waste- it is the most needed nurturing and molding of the individual from his/her childhood to become a better & more knowledgeable adult.
    Competition has always been there from the beginning of this world. – Devas & Asuras, Kauravas & Pandavas, Humans & beasts, etal. The education should teach us how to handle this in a positive way & learn to live and let live. Learning about standing up for truth and defending it would help solve most problems & make this world a better place- not a change in education but a change in attitude. It is of utmost importance that the parents & teachers have to complement each other in bringing up the children.

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    • AAryan Rao (श्री) says:

      The reason for going waste, the current education system, is focus. It is not focussing on “citizen” development but rather competetive development.
      The most important statement you made is ” It is of utmost importance that the parents and teachers have to complement each other in bringing up the children.”

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      • It is really a nice thing being able to discuss such topics which could go a long way for the parents and the future of their kids. How many would be interested is the question though!
        Did you mean ‘personal’ development when you said ‘citizen’ development? Presuming it is so, a positive attitude to the personal development can also take place after one grows up inspite of what environment one grows up in. For this one needs to understand and apply positive and unbiased discrimination. But the human instinct of ‘me & mine’ takes over.
        The stress on competitive development as you put it, is due to this. Don’t you think? –‘My child should be the best’ is what a parent thinks. It is Ok to a certain extent. But more emphasis should be on your child doing the best he/she can, not on whether he/she is better than the next one. They should better themselves by competing with themselves.
        The child has to learn to appreciate the assets of other children & respect them. I feel suicides among college students when they realize there are others smarter than them if not equally smart, are because of this type of competitive comparison they have been brought up in. They were brought up to think they were the best, till then. That is what I meant in my earlier response in the paragraph on ‘comparison’.
        Parents are even known to push their children into professions/careers because they are lucrative [money-making is too crude a term ] and because others have done well in it. They ought to understand their child’s aptitude & that, it is what you put into your job is what makes one happy and successful in life. This would automatically make their children better citizens – because they can accept others doing well without being jealous or envious; & moreover learning from them too.

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  3. AAryan Rao (श्री) says:

    Citizen development focuses on the creating a civilised society, eliminating crimes and promote more progressive innovation. For e.g. looking at India, its business, social and Political leadership, tells us that the education system is failing horribly. Nobody is asking a bigger question.
    Regarding student suicides, the issue is more deeper than competetive comparision alone. I believe we need ask ourselves a more serious question and how we would like to see the future of the social and economical environment and the resources sustaining that future and developing it further.

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    • I fully agree, the suicides issue is deeper than competitive comparison alone,- but it still is one of the main issues. What other reasons do you think there could be?
      I am sure you will agree that when we ask ourselves for a solution to a problem, we have to get to the grass roots of the problem- especially when it is a deep-rooted one. We should be able to go back in the past and understand the situations where decisions had to be taken, rather than criticizing them. Today’s youth has no clue to the pre-conditions of Independence & keep criticizing those who got us Independence. This awareness is absolutely necessary- rather than forming opinions based on skimming the opinions of others.
      Don’t you think the answer to your question about creation of a civlised society and the future of India, its sustenance and further development lies in each of us citizens? We will achieve this only if we become accountable & transparent in our actions- even in our daily lives. Status consciousness is another thing that we have to do away with. Respecting people is a wonderful quality of us Indians-something that comes naturally to us, but should not be allowed to flow into status consciousness. This only alienates the politicians from those they represent and they forget that they are the spokesmen of the masses- not their masters. Doesn’t all this come from one’s up-bringing and attitudes to dealing with life? This needs to be inculcated from childhood.
      We are good followers but we do not know how to take a positive lead in tackling situations. We are arm-chair politicians who will not do anything even for their own society or community, when given a chance but we are always ready to criticize those who are trying to achieve something.
      We as leaders are either very mild, or very aggressive & rude, and both approaches don’t really work as we make & take everything personal. Anyone trying to make others follow laws and rules is considered a trouble-maker. Addressing a crowd for us means talking at a typically high pitch [even though we have loudspeakers that boom out] & talking down to the people & running down the rivals- even making mince meat out of them,- instead of being convincing and talking about their policies and how they would go about it.
      I suppose this will come about, only if the speakers strongly believe in what they want to do and also, if they genuinely want it so. This is a real shortcoming & that is why most of our politicians fail to convey as international speakers. More exposure and participation in debates in school and colleges will help a lot, while public speaking in the right way needs to be encouraged. Organizations like Toast Masters that guide their members, would help adults too.

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      • AAryan Rao (श्री) says:

        Today’s youth in India is very talented, and believe that they are breaking loose to bring the change. Internet access and social networks had allowed them to think and question. Yes, we need to ensure that they don’t form opinions withoug digging deeper and getting into the shoes of the decision maker in past.
        Also, you rightly said, it is the responsibility for each of us, especially the educated one, to participate in the creation of a civilised society.
        On the note of leadership, currently the leaders are lacking integrity, big time. The environment in India is not conducive enough to generate such leaders who can act as a role models to the youth. This is evident, as most of them chose actors as their role models.
        Currently, there is a school started by Isha foundation, which is on the way to break the ice. Attached is the link which I am envisioning to happen all over India.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sadhguru/education-blossoming-of-a_b_783207.html

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  4. Emily says:

    Hahjulelal! I needed this-you’re my savior.

    Like

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