This is one of the earliest pictures I have of myself. Not many from my generation are as lucky. I owe this one (and a few more) to my father’s love for taking pictures. He evidently borrowed his colleague’s camera and froze a few moments from my early childhood, which is why I happen to know I smiled back then too.
I don’t remember much of the period of time in the photograph, naturally, since I was only one. My earliest memories are of living in a huge house in the northern part of rural Kerala, with parents and the baby sister who had by then arrived on the scene. I must have had lots of time on my hands with no one to play with (the house was in the midst of a coconut grove), baby sis being still a baby. So I found ways to amuse myself.
One of them I remember only too well is three year old me peeing on my father’s cloth easy-chair and immediately jumping down to watch the thin stream made by the pooled liquid on top as it flowed through the thick cloth. I don’t remember how or when I was caught, but I was and got solid thwacks on my bottom for being a bad, naughty girl. Well, there was the other time when I removed the stick that kept the cloth attached to the easy chair (that chair seems to have been my favorite plaything), and father fell through when he sat down on it, on his return from office. I think I actually remember the look of horror on the face of his office peon as he quickly jumped forward to help his boss up. Yup, I got solid thwacks for that one too.
Mercifully, my baby sis grew up soon enough to play with me, and also give bites. What with thwacks and a couple of bites, I was totally tamed for years to come. I turned into an angel, a Miss Goody-Two-Shoes, someone who’d burst into tears if anyone so much as contemplated saying ‘boo’. My curiosity and cheekiness went into hiding, till I started blogging in my late 40s, when it returned whooping with joy. As for thwacks, I get them in the present too from a different set of people, though mercifully not on my bottom, only in writing. But whaddya know, now I am too wild to be tamed. 😉
©Shail Mohan 2016