There was a time when we didn’t know what was the headache and what was the ego. We used to fight, but forget the next moment and befriend again with no past baggage, whatsoever.
There was a time, when as a child we had no examination fever. At the most, we would bite the back end of our pencils in order to recollect whatever we had written with those pencils.
We also used to keep tree leaves and peacock feathers in our books with hope to acquire wisdom in due course. Putting brilliant covers adorned with Goddess Saraswati was also a success mantra for us.
We used to learn cycling on a normal height bicycle through its triangular frame with one foot crossed by holding seat with one hand and handle with the other (langdi type). That was a different experience altogether.
And then roaming around on a bicycle by carrying one friend on the front rod of the bicycle and the other on the rear carrier with filmi songs on the lips was the best enjoyment of that life.
Other common games we used to play then was Kabaddi, I spy, Ludo, Chess, marbles, Gilli Danda (a cheaper version of cricket) and of course, Dola Pati, in which we had to touch a player on tree branches to make him ‘out’.
In those days, parents were not much worried about their children’s education. There were no periodical parent-teacher meetings in schools. Only when a child committed some mischief or failed in examination, his father used to be called to school.
But my parents were a bit different. My father was concerned about my handwriting. He used to say that writing makes a person perfect. It gives a personal identity. So for him, I used to write two pages each from books in Hindi and English for improving handwriting. That was his daily task.
But my mother was a true task master. She never allowed me to skip my lessons and homework. Even arrival of a guest would not deter her. Only on festival days, and especially on Kalam Dawat (Pen and Inkpot) Puja, we siblings were allowed not to touch books and notebooks.
My mom never allowed me or my siblings to go for tuition, as she thought that tuition was for weak students and she didn’t like us to be weak. We used to rise early and pray to God every morning and evening singing hymns and bhajans with our mom.
I recall one incident, when unintentionally, I abused someone in front of my mother. She stared at me and said, “How can you use such a filthy word?” That was the day. Since then till today, I have not used any cuss word for anyone.
I could never tell my parents how much I loved them, because quite frankly, I didn’t know how to say ‘I love you‘.
There was no WhatsApp, Facebook or social media, but then there was a social life, simplicity and mutual concern for others.
I don’t know whether those days were real, better or outdated, but like other friends of my age, I certainly miss those golden moments. Those days won’t come again, I know, but those memories will never go away, I’m sure.