Tuesday, May 09, 2006

MY VERY FIRST MEMORY

[Warning: This post is extremely boring and lengthy and thus has an acute anesthetic effect. If you have any satanic kids in your household whom you want to put to sleep instantly, this article is very much advised. Else, if you really intend to read through it then, stimulants like a couple of jugs of coffee is mandatory. ;-)]

Have you ever wondered what the very first image that has been imprinted in your mind would be? It maybe the feel of a mother’s warm hug… or the taste of cold ice cream melting in your mouth… or the sound of a shriek induced by a playful tickle…

Hold my hand and walk with me down my memory lane to my very first memory, which is the journey to India for my grandfather’s funeral.

I was three when my grandfather passed away. That was the age when you were allowed to freely walk around in nothing but your underwear and still manage to look incredibly adorable… the age when u could replicate one of Picasso’s paintings on your grandmother’s face and still smile innocently and get away with it.

My family was in ‘Gelf’, like all mallus who infested the place at that time. Well, even today most mallus, in their outrageously colored lungis, are either in Gelf or atop coconut trees (oops! I shouldn’t be forgetting the toddy shops). I was born in U.A.E and my family had not visited India in the time span between my birth and my grandfather’s death. In that three years time, my grandfather used to write letters to me, knowing very well that I was only capable of joyfully chewing the letters into an indecipherable pulp.

The Dream…

It was past midnight when my father woke up with a jolt from his sleep, sobbing and he just couldn’t stop. He had dreamt of his father dying. My mother tried to calm him. I had woken up by the sounds but pretended to be asleep. Only a few hours later we received a call from my hometown back in Kerala announcing my grandfather’s death. Amazing is the power of bonds and the instincts it evokes!!!

I didn’t understand the turn of events that had occurred. I was only excited about the trip to a place my parents called ‘home’. The next morning as my mother packed the stuff for our journey, I put on my best airport dress with a lot of frills and lace inspite of the fact that it itched so bad that I could get an entry into an Itch Guard ad. I grasped a bunch of my curly wild hair and tied them into a pony right at the top my head, and it was perched as though just about to take a suicidal dive from the top of my head.

But that morning, my father was unusually quite and preferred to sit by the window and stare into empty space. I ran to him, jumped onto his lap and gave him a bear-like hug. But that didn’t seem to pacify him. I felt like saying, “Dude… What could be more important in this world than getting my full attention?” Well, when you are a child life seems like a football match. Everybody seems to be madly running after the same ball. I mean it just didn’t make sense.

The Take Off…

After all the packing was done, my family proceeded to the airport. My uncle, who was also in U.A.E, was to accompany us. So, parking myself comfortably in my uncle’s arms in my itching dress and my suicidal pony, we entered the plane.

It was my very first flight. Excitedly, I sat at the seat next to the window (in years to come I ensured I did the same) and waited for the plane to take off. When the plane finally took off, it sent weird tremors at the bottom of my stomach as if invisible hands were tickling my belly (I love that feeling!!!). Eventually we were airborne with the plane’s wings outstretched and dashing into the clouds that adorned the sky. I remembered every bird that looked mocking at me as if to say “Can you do THIS?” before flying so high up in the sky and I silently replied, “Hey you funny feathers, even I am flying now.”

Nightm-AIR INDIA!!!

I slumped back in my seat ready to devour the delicacies that they served while I was flying in mid-air, or so I thought… The 40-something aunties with their bottoms filling up the entire space of the aisle put some mass in front of me expecting me to eat it. After close inspection I realized it they were the ghosts of once-upon-a-time robust eggs. I gulped them down hoping I wouldn’t puke. I couldn’t even fall asleep because of the fear that the hen that had lain those eggs would come in my nightmares demanding, “THAT!!!! U stole my unborn babies for THAT???”

After a while, the aunties distributed toys for the children to play with. One of them gave me a Barbie doll to play. I gave her an amused look as if to say “Do I look mentally retarded!!!” and demanded for a jig-saw puzzle. She gave me a cold stare that I thought I would turn into a ice sculpture with a thunder-struck expression, a fountain on its head and eggs in its mouth. I spend the remaining time staring at the clouds through my window waiting for them to part and reveal to me my first glimpse of home sweet home. Finally it did and I saw a wide expanse of greenery. Man… that was a lot of coconut trees!!!!

The First Step Home…

I stepped out into that Land of Coconuts. I didn’t feel any sense of euphoria or any lump in my throat. All I felt was a disturbance in my stomach and before I knew it, the nausea gripped me and I vomited the once-upon-a-time-robust-eggs all over my uncle. I was debating whose curses would have had a bigger effect on me – the aunties’ or the hens’. All the way from the airport to my father’s home, past the paddy fields, past the little houses with tiled roofed and past the narrow pathways, I was vomiting while in my uncle’s arms oblivious of the lush beauty around me.

All my relatives were eagerly waiting for us, mostly for me as they would be seeing me for the first time. There was a huge hue and cry for sometime when we made our grand entry and everyone for some time forgot that there was a funeral. Some of the relatives gathered around me to check me out. I don’t know what they expected. Did they think I would have wings and would flutter around, or that I would be trotting wagging my tail or that I would charge with my horns pointed at them? Some of them where pinching my chubby cheeks and were chattering on and on something to the effect “Ooooh… She looks like her father”, “Ooooh… She has the feet of her grandmother”, “Ooooh… She has the index finger of her great grand uncle’s cousin’s god-knows-who”.

But I was enjoying being the centre of attention, till my grandfather’s corpse arrived. All the relatives suddenly abandoned me, ran towards my grandfather and flocked around like ants in and around an anthill. They started beating their chests like a bunch of gorillas and wailed like inhabitants in one of Hitler’s torture chambers. I rolled my eyes thinking “Adults and their pretensions!!!”

Unto Dust…

Everybody sang songs that are commonly sung during funerals and I tried my hand at lip-singing and kept mumbling something or the other so that my sound merged with the sounds that the group was making. Then the priest gave a sermon (through which I slept peacefully) after which we said our prayers and my grandfather was taken away to be buried. “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

We spend a couple of days more in Kerala and then returned to our home in U.A.E carrying with me the vision of a man in his coffin, a man I had only known through the letters he had sent me.

My father till today regrets the fact my grandfather never had a chance to meet me. I still have some of the letters he had sent me. At times I open them and that smell comes pouring out, that old paper smell. I would be struck by a sense of my childhood self that seemed to be contained in there… and above all the sense of having once lived in a man’s dreams…

This was the very first of my miscellany of memories – memories which entwined together like the notes that would form the beautiful melody of my life.

[Most of the incidents mentioned above are based on imagination and conjecture of what may have transpired at that time. But what I do remember are visions of waking up in the night to my father’s sobs, of vomiting all over my uncle during the journey and of seeing my grandfather in his coffin.]

Whats your very first memory?

60 comments:

Bruce Almighty said...

Considering the fact that u have got 47 comments on ur previous post i must feel proud of being first....so here goes...

ME FIRST !

Despite ur first para i managed to scroll thru the post.i must say you can recollect ur dreams very clearly.... hum to ghode bech ke sone walo main se hai...

Bruce Almighty said...

just realized moderation is on... now m reallly not sure bout the ME FIRST part...

Hari said...

u have a nice narrative style...:)))))...i like the piece...but inspite of your caveat..i right away took the plunge...u win...hands down...felt really sleepy after i read the article...listening to songs to ward of my sleep....;)

Rose said...

@ Rohan..haha... Rohan.. tell me the truth.. U havent read my post, hv u? I havent written abt my dream anywhere in the post.. ROTFL.. :))))

@Hari... u cheapster!!!

tanvi said...

That was beautiful! a vivid narrative.I did not need your warning I am very much awake after reading it. You write so well. And yes kudos to your memory dear :)

Ankit said...

u liar i read the whole articel n i m still awake..x-(
anyways it was worth the time reading this
air india fat ass aunties :))
and nice ideas to sot mallus

Tariq Rauf said...

beautifully written ! commendable writing....


well, as far as i remmbr, the earliest of "memories" i've had runs back to 2 years of age, when i used to wear school bags and stuff and wanted to goto school reallll bad then, haha, weird times. Nostalgia galore !!



and yea, i did join school when i was 2 and a half. :D

stubborn"ness" rules !

;)
Tariq

just_a_girl said...

hey rose..!! i am still awake:)
I cant exactly recall my first memory..!! lots of memories all jumbled...!! remember how a "bai" used to drag me with ten other girls to school, and my mom used to drop my brother, woh bhi pick up kar ke..!!! i used to feel insanely jealous and unloved :(

Hahahaa...!!

Prash said...

After ur warning, i took a cup of tea and put on a music..and read ur article...i did like it. You have a nice narrative style of writing. As a french would say "Bonne Contination"

Advitiya said...

Hey,
Lovely post...I did not fall asleep...in fact it reminded me of a book I read once...I think you've listed it as one of your favs ...God of Small things... reminded me a lot of the child Rahel...
good narrative dude:D
ps.check my reply to your comment on my post :)

SCRIBBLEZ TO WAKEUP said...

Hey..This made a good read...I was thinking you do have a giant memory as you seem to say everything with explicit detail... I love this line "and above all the sense of having once lived in a man’s dreams…"...Happens to a lot of kida born out of India...Well said!! :) :)

Ben said...

nice one rose...
and well do tell me what you think of abortion and spread the word around...

http://shamben.blogspot.com/2006/04/silent-screams.html

cheers
ben

Will Powers said...

Thanks Rose for dropping by and leaving a flattering comment. Flattery will get you e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! lol... look, it got you to get me here! :)

Very soporific but poignant and eloquent and personally-historical. It's great to blog about yourself...

southpaw said...

First memory ever i can recall so far is my mother taking me for a stroll in the garden at Prof.Almeida road, Bandra in the evening. Since both my dad and mom were working they used to drop me at my mother's aunt's place in bandra, and in the evening my mum used to pick me up from there and take me for a stroll in the garden and then dad used to join us there from work and everybody wud go back home together.

Keshi said...

Im sure ur granpa knows u anyways ;-)

Keshi.

Rose said...

@Rohan.. Btw u ARE the first... :)

@ Tanvi... Wow! U hv an amazing willpower... hehe

@Ankit.. Hmmm.. So u fancy 40-sumthn aunties.. LOL

@Stubborn Tariq.. ur first memory ws when u wer 2yrs old!!!! Wow dats amazing... did u regret ur stubborn"ness" after dat.. :)

@Just a girl.. I bet u tuk my advise abt having coffee b4 reading.. We women always wana be the centre of attraction, dnt we?.. :)

@Prash.. I dnt knw wat 'Bonne Contination' means.. even checked a couple fo online french-eng dictionaries... no luk.. but assuming dat its sumthn nice.. Merci.. Merci.. :)

@Advtiya.. Hmm.. Rahel is one of my fav characters ever...

@Scribblez to Wakeup, Wilpower & Keshi..
Thaaaaaaaanks!!!

@Ben.. Will def pen my thoughts..

@Southpaw.. Dats luvly.. Its these small things in life dat bring out the true essence of ur life...

:)

..Me

zep said...

i m yself a satanic kid, so had to read the article..;)

thnx fr the wishes though!

Shriedhar said...

b4 hopping this blg, i wanted to sleep, but i had second thoughts for hopping sm blgs.

it proved unworthy as I found u ,trying ur best to put ppl to sleep :)

will read it once I wake up.
bfn

Rose said...

@ zep.. Keep up the satanic traits.. :D

@ Hey Hopper.. Wake up!!! Besides having the profound ability to put ppl to sleep, i also have the ability to frighten ppl out of their wits and take away their sleep for days together... So BEWARE HOPPER!!! ~grin~

..Me

icyblue said...

Hi Rose,

Thanks for visiting my blog... For one, you write well... U express ur thoughts pretty good with a tinge of humour too... Secondly, even I grew up in UAE... :) Small world eh...

As for my first memories... well...I need to go down memory lane....maybe I'll put a post up on it for you :)

Keep visiting and great to meet u...!

Cheers!
Icy :)

Wanderer said...

i love ur style of writing:)and the narration u used!
Though my memories are mostly all dumped into a empty space in my greycells tat are no longer accessible and are considered to be JUNK;)

Spc. Freeman said...

Beautiful post. You have a knack for descriptive imagery.

My first memory. Hmm...

The breakwall on the shores of my hometown, and walking out there with my mother and father.

Rose said...

Hey IcyBlue U.A.E-ian.. Will be waiting for ur post..

@Wanderer... LOL.. Dude.. u never know wat treasures may be dumped away in ur dumpyard.. So go on and explore them.. :)

@Freeman.. Hmmm.. Nice memory.. Dnt u think ultimately ur life is nothing but a pasticcio of memories???


..Me

Vishal said...

heyy .. awesome post.. :).. really nice to read a fellow mallu's 'bloug',..:D.. cheers..

faith said...

Hey Rose.. thanks for dropping by.. nice write up.. u hv a nice blog here :)

my first memory hhmmm ..ok will be back later..

*smiles*

the lone sailor said...

thanks for stopping by.. yeah i hope i'll defeat the bear in me :)
i cud literally see the events b4 my eyes.. ur post made me thnk abt my own earliest memories and the bear started taking over!
gud collection of poems too..

Anshuman Ghosh said...

my very first memory ? well.. I dont know!
And thats not cause I dont remember, but instead due to the fact that I have so many sharply etched memories in my head, that I dont know which one was the very first!

One of them which I remember pretty well was the day i grabbed a screw-driver and fixed my Tobu 3-wheel cycle .. sometime when I was 5 years or maybe younger (maybe I am proud about it ;) )

Cocaine Jesus said...

wow. a major league post. i won't do you the diservice of skipping through it but will return when i get home from work and read it fully.
also, thanks for commenting on one of my sites (discharge). come back or feel free to pop over anytime.

you look pretty young for 23 by the way.

;)

e2d said...

Hi Rose! Cool Post.Didnt put me sleep at all....u write so well.:)
Liked the "gelf" touch.lol!
About my first memory...hmmm...
..hey I need time to think.:)

Pranay said...

well.. have to be honest, ur warning added to the length did make just scroll down. but checking the comments I thought of reading the post. Must say you write very well. Although most of it imagination, u've put in words very well. You've some talent.

connettaj said...

I don not find you boring ..quite ineresting, and you hold peoples attention. This is far from boring.

Paper Mache Art said...

you are not boring at all.

dharmu said...

"above all the sense of having once lived in a man’s dreams"

me says me love this line.its a very beautiful aritcle, humorous and sensitive. and me still awake.

about the air india aunties, esh... no comments.

as for me first memories,its about a colourful rocking horse in my pre-nursery. no clue, all i can recall is i loved that horse nd called it soemthing like 'jappu'.

Rose said...

@ Vishal... Cheers!!! :D

@ Faith.. Okie dokie.. cum bck soon...

@ Lone Sailor.. Oh no!!! The bear is BACK!!.. ;)

@ Ashuman.. dats sumthn to be proud of.. :)

@ Cociane Jesus.. ~grin~... Im in possession of the 'remain-a-child-forever' potion.. Just dat it has not worked on my body, only on my mind... Now I m a kid trapped in an adult's body. HELP!!! LOL

@ e2d... We hv all the time in the world dear.. Btw u luk luvly in ur pic.. ;)

@ Pranay, connettaj, Paper Mache Art.. Thaaaanks a ton!!!

Rose said...

@ Dharmu.. Me says me like 'Jappu', the rocking horse...

:)

..Me

I love Munich said...

Very well written Rose - I loved it!! My first memory? A HUGE (for my tiny size at the age of maybe a year and a half) male German shepherd jumping on my stroller and me screaming bloody murder! That incident caused me to be scared sick of even the smallest dog for some 25 years at least!
Thanks so much for visiting my blog ... was great to have you over!! Come again!!

Bhaarat said...

U were so mature at the age of 3. Realizing ur father sobbing in the midle of night u pretend to remain asleep. I wonder how mature are u now. Can u share ur 'remain-a-child-forever' potion.

This blog has brought some of my early memories to the fore. Shall write them on my blog sometime.

Great blog...
Cheers

Rose said...

@ I love Munich
~laughs~ I hope u hv gotten over ur fright of dogs.. They r adorable creatures u knw.. :)

@ Bhaarat
Thanks! Well, i wud lk to think that i have a matured outlook towards life.. At the same time i have a wild, naughty, childish side to myself as well.. ;)

..Me

SUNMAY said...

good morning!

SUNMAY said...

kidding :P nice post ... "" do i look mentally retarded"" awesome :p

Rose said...

@ Sunmay
Ya u do.. ~grin~

;)

..Me

jac said...

That was so touchy.

My memory of childhood is about an 'Ayappachovan', the lean and shrinkled tea shop keeper who used to give me crispy 'pappadavadas', free of charge, when ever I am visiting my Dad's home.

Babu Moshai said...

very mature post this,amazing combo of recollection and imagination,keep it up:)

shweta said...

ahem ...did read ur post finally ...memories entwined in small bytes....occupying a definate space ...from intangible snesations to tangible expressions ....nice one ...
nd inbtwn i hve finally updated my blog u can check it out ...
shwets

Mr. J said...

Wow.. that was a neat post. For a moment I thought it was written by someone of that age. Pretty good memory.

starry nights said...

Beautiful post. I felt like I was taking that trip with you.except for the throwing up.beautifully written.

starry nights said...

enjoyed this post,felt like I was taking the trip with you.

anup.777 said...

well ... i came ... I saw ... I tried to read .... I dozed off ..... zzzzzzz :)

I think i managed to read ur caveat .... it was nice ;)

Rose said...

@ Jac...
'Pappadavadas' FREE OF CHARGE??? I bet u had wroked out ur charm on him... ;) I think i shud pay Ayappachovan a visit..

@ Babu moshai..
Thanks a ton..

@ Anna..
Nice to know u r backing in full swing.. :)

@ Me..
I wud stl luv to turn back time n bcum a three yr old... :)

@ Starry Nights..
Ur welcome to take a trip wid me anytime.. ~hugs~

@ Mr. Dozey Anup..
Grrrrrrrrr...!!!

richunderconstruction said...

hey...
dam neat!
i used to try storing memories in tangible stuff, thn i realsied it cant b held (except in some nostalgic smells n touch of things), simply felt throughout. n stuff that really touches, stays beyond... age.
n strangely, some insignificant stuff sticks in the head, like the colour of the walls, or number of ppl arnd...
my earliest significant memory wud b,
only i cant b sure whether its truly a memory, or a figment of my imagination has tampered wit it in order to comprehend it..?

ok, guess im competing wit the length of ur post here ;))
(n hey! its 1 a.m. n i read thru ur post fully awake, it gud,holds u thru!)

p.s. i LOVE "to kill a mocking bird" tops my recommendations list...
ok i will STOP!

The Individualist said...

Ah nice fluency. And nice language to go with it. Impressive. lol @ your hair bound in such a way that it looked like it was about to take suicidal dive from your head. And yeah. Nice imagination.
My first memory. Hmm. There are a lot. I dont know which superceded which. I remember running around
helter-skelter peeing all over my place and shouting, "Holy water! holy water!" (lol!) and doing it for months and finally, my grandmother, the genius that she was, telling me that every drop of it would turn into a scorpion and sting me. All those days, people had tried to deceive me through various means. Nothing worked. But this did. And guess what? To this day, I am scared of scorpions. -shudder-
The way it looks, I get gooseflesh merely picturising the way it walks. Majestically. The sting like a crown over it. Yikes. Let me not write an essay about scorpions here. :D

Sreekumar said...

Amazed at the time you take out for each post and they all are written well so far. I dont remember my first memory but I do have a memory of my grandfather's death which was pretty similar experience.
Well written!

jac said...

Ayyappachovan is no more and one of his sons joined IPS cadre in U.P. last year.

Rose said...

@ Richie Rich.. ;)
"stuff that really touches, stays beyond... age".. Very true..
and its very difficult to capture and store the intagible feelings attached to tangible things...

Thanks for dropping by and hope u cud soon change ur name to Mr. "Rich Already Constructed".. LOL

Btw... "To Kill a Mocking Bird" is one of fav books so far...

:)

..Me

Rose said...

@ Individualist...

HOLY COW!!!! ROTFL.. Ur grandma is very intelligent to cum up wid that scorpion idea.. I think I shall use it on my children (when I have them i.e) so that they dnt pee around.. :)))

I think u r very capable of writing an entire post on scorpions.. I feek the same way abt spiders.. Eeeeks!!!!

:)

..Me

Rose said...

@ Sreekumar..
Thanks a ton Sreekumar... But No Thanks.. U know wat I mean.. :)

..Me

Shriedhar said...

Now done wid this post :)

u described it beautifully. Nice to kno ur very first memories :)

praveen said...

Wow, your remember so much...

commendable piece of work, great flow...

Sreekumar said...

Hey Rose,

I wonder why I almost feel as if I am being rejected after proposing to you!

Just kidding. I can understand.
Will keep coming at your blog though.

Sreekumar

Prash said...

Sorry i did make a typing mistake. It is actually 'Bonne Continuation'

In French, You say 'bon' or 'bonne' if it is feminine...in front of anything to wish someone. For example, Bon cine = enjoy your movie, Bon resto = enjoy the time in your restaurant, Bonne visite = have a good visit...Bon Voyage = i don't have to explain..you might know it already.

so bonne continuation = i wish you for the continuation because i liked your writing.

a little french lesson euh, sorry !