My first set of paintings consist of two images.
A double storeyed house in a large compound. Two or three children are playing “catch-me” game running around each other. Another image is of I being asked to lie down and close my eyes along with other young children, in which I later knew was my kindergarten.
This is the earliest memory I have in my mind about my childhood. I do not remember the house (supposed to be at Pallimukku,near Pettah, Trivandrum), neither the children. I am not sure whether the event really happened or is it a fantasy painted with the inputs provided by my family of the house where I was born and raised as a toddler.
The next set of paintings are that of the house from where I went to school, at Kunnukuzhy, Trivandrum
I remember the tantrum I put on for the first standard (grade 1). I am not sure whether it was the first day, but I was crying like anything while my mom, desperate on being late on a working day with her colleague (not sure why she was there) tried putting on uniform over me. I don’t remember when I stopped crying or the images of she leaving me at school, but I still remember that particular school class.
Most of the visions of class rooms, be it the first or the last, are those like that in the films.. At first the empty room, with the benches and black board, the sunlight streaming through the windows, and then flashes of me, some girls and boys running here and there, making it lively, and then being ordered by the teachers. The sweat and smell filling the air by lunch time, and then the washing hands, having lunch, back to the classes in the hot weather, feeling sleepy and waiting for the evening bell to go home. The only additions in the later class rooms, are that of the friendly faces and the groups we hanged out.
One day, while waiting at the school gate for some one to pick me up(either of the parents, not remember exactly), I ran out of patience, and for reasons I still don’t know, started walking slowly in the direction of the house. By the time I reached home (maybe 15-20 minutes), my parents had came and searched frantically at school, for their younger daughter who made the first lonely walk back home.
And then there are the partial sketches of few people, like the house maid nicknamed Kaduvachi who tended over me and my sister in the evenings along with the household chores, and the Aachi(grandmother) and Thatha(grandfather), neighbours and owners of the house, where we stayed on rent. Their two sons, the elder daughter in law with the nose ring, akin to a typical Tamil household family. After returning from school, I was scared to go to the bathroom which was few feet away from the main house as they would release the chicks(the real ones!) with their parents in the evening to graze the backyard, and I would end up getting few unwanted pecks on my feet while I scurried to my destination. That’s the same household where I was given a lick of fish curry gravy (the first and last taste), the same fish which I had seen them cleaning (only cleaning) earlier under the tap in the back kitchen.
And the first set of people who later became our family friends. The visits to the houses of school friends who stayed nearby, the climbing over of walls and trees in her backyard, the games of jumping down from the staircase to the terrace. I do remember these flight of stairs without railing, as they were steep and I was afraid of climbing it at the top. I suppose I did had minor acrophobia! I guess I still have traces of it.
There are many more paintings of memories of the growing childhood. But like every other person, the first ones are always special. Ain’t it?
Penned down on the prompts from my new found on the Internet, the Write Tribe community of bloggers, who got along in a discussion to write down their earliest memories.