Monday, 23 December 2013

Those were the days



“Pluckh!” She fell into the cold water as I stood staring at her. The sound alerted amma who was enjoying a swim. Suddenly before I realized what was happening she was hauled out of the water safe and secure. ‘She’ here was and still is my best friend - my younger sis. Well, that fall in the pond was our first tryst with beauty consciousness. She was a babe of a little over two and me a child of four. 


We were on a short vacation to my mother’s ancestral home. The pond in question was one attached to the house where the ladies took a dip and enjoyed a swim. The two of us fascinated by the sight of a pond and people swimming in it made it a point to accompany amma for the swim. The obedient we, never dared disobey amma’s orders. But that day it so happened that lil’ sis   decided to roll in the lap of mother earth and in the process smeared herself with mud. The elder sister in me decided she needed a scrubbing and a dip and off started the bathing process. Soap applied I led her down the steps into the water. But the slippery stone decided to play spoil sport and there she went “Pluckh!” into the water. Well this was not the last of our adventures. In fact it was the first in a series to come in the following years.


On another occasion we decided to join amma at the pond near my paternal house. Sis was just three and I was five. Just as we were sneaking out through a side gate our cousin a boy of sis’s age insisted on joining us. So off went the three of us on our mission “Pond Visit”. The rain the previous night had left puddles of mud and water in the narrow lane at the side of the house. Hardly had we covered 100 m when suddenly our cousin got stuck in the mud. Our efforts to rescue him having failed we left him there all alone after assuring him we’d call amma and get him out of the mess. But once at the pond we coolly forgot about him and sat watching mom washing the clothes. We told her that we had informed Dad. So happy were we watching the fish playing in the waters and children swimming, that we did not notice Dad arrive with a stick. It was only then that mom realized that we had told her a lie. We ran all the way home avoiding coming into contact with the stick. Later we came to know that our aunt alerted by our cousin’s cry had sent Dad on our trail. 


Our tryst with beauty and danger did not end there. One cold winter morning Mom sat on the charpoy outside with the neighbouring ladies stitching a sweater for Dad, while the two of us played indoors. Little sis still a baby of three attracted by a picture of a girl with rosy cheeks on a magazine cover, expressed a desire. She too wanted rosy cheeks.  The genius I decided to grant her wish. When mother came she was aghast. Little sis was proudly showing off her ‘rosy cheeks.’ I too was mighty pleased and proudly revealed the secret of the transformation. I had bitten her cheeks till they were rosy red. Luckily mom let me off with just a small session on the dangers of my action. That was the last time sis ever expressed a desire for rosy cheeks and the last time I ever bit her or anybody for that matter. My incisors learnt to vent their love only and only on food. They vowed never to dig into human flesh any more.


Ahh! As years fled by we grew and with it our beauty consciousness and pranks. One hot summer day in the afternoon Mom sent us off to take a short siesta. I think I was in the second and lil’ sis was in the kinder garden. We had for company our neighbour’s daughter who was three years my senior. Well, we decided siesta could wait but not our desire for a catwalk session. So off we went applying a liberal dose of talcum powder on our face, neck and hands to look shining white, a bottle of red liquid bindi served as lipstick and the kajal as mascara. Hair tied up with ribbons, wearing mom’s heels we started our ramp walk only to find ourselves falling head over heels and inviting mom’s wrath. In the process one of us also shed some blood. That I believe was our first and last attempt at catwalk.


As years passed by and we grew in age our pranks too took other shapes. We started becoming more sober, more mature and more responsible.  By the time we reached our teens we had outgrown the kind of pranks we played as kids.  But the days we spent as kids, the pranks we played, the fun we had still remain with us and once in a while we relive them, share them with our kids and laugh at ourselves. Those years will never come back but those memories are there forever.



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Amma- mother
Kajal – a black cream of sort applied in the lower eyelid
Bindi – a sign worn on the forehead usually round in shape.



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