My stories 2 Childhood memories

a writing by Satheesan Rangorath

My Stories 2
Childhood Memories

I wish I could say that I had a happy childhood. I often used to think that I was matured like an old man during my young age. I will not say that I have sweet memories to chew about my childhood, at this old age. I do not know if I should let out secret of my life. However, I hope my words would pour my heart out, enough to release
my sorrow.

I was born in a small Village called Elappulli, a typical village in the district of Palakkad, belonging To Kerala State, in southwestern tip of Indian sub-continent. My father was a schoolteacher, he taught Hindi, (national language of India). My mother a homemaker, studied only up to fifth standard. During those days, women discontinued their school studies when they reach puberty. My father was a freedom fighter. He graduated from Banares Hindu University. As he was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, he used to wearKhadi (cloth made out of hand spun yarn). Gandhiji’s economic ideas were brilliant, which made the British Empire fall up on his knees. Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, as a young man went to England to become, a Bar-At-Law (barrister).he completed his education successfully and registered at the temple of laws in England. In those days, many young men from Gujarat (a state In India on the western region on banks of bay of Kutch and Cambay north of Bombay) migrated to South Africa and settled there by establishing small business houses. Gandhi also decided to work in South Africa as a barrister. One fateful train journey of Mr.Gandhi in South Africa during that time lead to India’s independence struggle. A white man booted him out of the compartment, as blacks were not allowed to travel in rail coaches along with white men even if he holds a valid first class ticket. This incident planted the seed for Indian nationalism, which lead to the fall of British Empire in India. A history of a nation was written by a man single handedly. Gandhi returned to India and organized eminent Indians, which lead to the formation of a nationalist party called Indian National Congress. Under the leadership of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel. and so many nationalists joined hands and led the struggle to victory.

The Indian Independence struggle was one of the rarest in human history of nationalism that succeeded in securing freedom without a drop of bloodshed. Gandhi had several ideas, which he spoke and practiced in the struggle for freedom. Name a few would be ideal for the readers. Civil disobedience moment, no taxation with out representation,freedom is my birthright, boycotting of foreign goods, and fight against salt taxation.wearing of hand spun clothes. Voluntary participation of students from schools and colleges in the Independence struggle, Total freedom from British rule. Quit India.
All these movements helped India to win freedom. I stop here and return to my father.Gandhi was not successful as a father. Not all his children grew up to their father’s expectations.He was not at all a good father.

For me my father was a terror in my day today life .although, I loved him very much,However, never tried to meet him face to face whenever he was at home. Never was I comfortable in his presence. I avoided him as far as possible. He induced in me a sort of down feelings by criticizing quiet often for anything and everything, I did as a child, and a teenager later. He never had a good word of praise for anything I did to please him, I do not remember he appreciated me at all, rather I thought he hated me for nothing. My sister was his favorite aide and she put oil in the fire by complaining about me. This often led to severe lashes on my back. This insecurity led to my failure in studies too. I never bothered to be attentive in my classes. I threw away my books as soon as I reached home from school; and did not look for them until next day when I have to go to school. I did not do any homework .My sister made use of my books by plucking sheets of paper from my notebooks and made it loose sheet by sheets, as she made paper boats from those sheets. moreover, showed to my father so that he will be mad at me and enjoyed the fear on my face as he calls for an inquiry. My mother never supported me when he is slapping me. Because of fear, I urinated all through my trousers when ever he called me near.

I was a very energetic child for a two year old. I heard my mother saying to a neighborthat I carried all alone a small bullock cartload of firewood to the kitchen one by one.I imagine how I would have walked, my tender body sweating, and my curly hair swaying
in the breeze, every time when I came back from the kitchen for another piece of firewoodto carry, I must be thrilled and more energetic laughing with my front teeth. My memory goes back to a hill station called Wynad; a northern district in Kerala There in a small town called Manathavadi, my father was a teacherin the High school there. We lived in one room kitchen thatched roof house .There was no electricity. It was very cold even in summer. I remember a blue shaded kerosene lantern hung in the middle of the room. The lantern had small glass beads hanging from its shade. My father used to clean the glass cover daily with ashes. I used to sit near and watch with wonder while he does it. When finished he lights it with a match. My mother Used to light a brass lamp filled with caster oil .I was five years old. My mother made me chant names of god after lighting the wick in the oil lamp. I used to chant lords name in my illegible pronunciation. Then comes the horrible part of duty, memorizing and repeating the Math table, which I was supposed to repeat up to 20 Th multiplication table by heart. It will be raining all the time, as it is a hill station. By about four o clock in the evening cold clouds touched my house and weather was very chilly, mercury touching down to 7 or 8 degree Celsius.

I usually wait anxiously for suppertime, which would be Kanji (rice boiled in water turns into a sort of thick lose substance like porridge).once supper is over, me silently cover my self in a blanket pretending to sleep, and wander into my dreams; there I used to travel into distant fairylands. I dreamed about kings and queens, Magic Mountains and demons. Butterflies made my thoughts colourful. Fireflies lit my imagination. I was visioning about colourful shadows; dragonflies took me to distant places. I saw their wings so beautiful and their trunk reddish like tomato. There were many of them in different colours and shades. I believe they come from fairy lands to enlighten children... My sister was 3 years old, she would return to my father’s bed, which I often observed with jealousy However, never complained and no one cared about my anxiety or fears. My loneliness under the blanket grew into nightmares, my dreams were horrible. My father did not like me sleeping near his bed. Often he found fault with me. There was one incident which I will never forget all my life.

Once he stitched a flannel shirt and trousers for my sister and me. I could not wear the Trousers as it was coarse and scratching and irritating my skin. I refused to wear it even while wearing it for a trail. He did not like my refusal and considered me as arrogant moreover, tore the trousers immediately in to several pieces. Afterward he did not stitch any trousers for me for two years. I was walking around with only a shirt on and nothing to wear underneath. My long shirt took over the job of trousers. Despite of all this I could not hate him all these time until recently.

I think my child hood experiences made me very sensitive and more or less sensible in my approach to life. Thanks to my father! He made a home for me, with loneliness.There I built castles of my own imagination and dreamed about my words. I think he gave me my poems!

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