Written by: Dipanwita Ghosh
I remember my fellow schoolmates finding history, language and literature very difficult and boring as those papers demanded “lengthy” answers. But, I wasn’t a part of that pack. I loved to write pages after pages; sometimes even while solving mathematic problems just to remember the steps, till I attended a certain age. So, here I am penning down my thoughts and sharing those with you.
We, Bengalis have a ritual called ‘Annaprashon’ (Rice Feeding Ceremony), where a new born is fed rice for the first time. An interesting component of the ritual is when the priest offers things like book, pen, money (and a few other things which I can’t recall) to the baby and it is believed that the kid would excel in the area related to the thing the baby picks up. I have been told that I picked up the Pen. As a result, my parents were elated thinking that I would excel in studies. However, the story turned out to be remarkably different.
Studies were a big no-no for me since nursery. I loved dancing. I can vividly remember my first stage performance at the age of five. I was being extremely angry when my costume was not fitting me well. Little did I know that the dresser would use the same dress for a five-year-old and a 15-year-old. Tears rolled down my bubbly cheeks, till my teacher came and dressed me up with her childhood dress. Oh, how I miss those pampering!
We were seven people in the family, and we stayed in a small two-and-a-half room of a rented house at that time. My mother had a deep regret that we did not have a roof of our own. My brother and I, however, never felt the absence of our own house. We had a very caring neighbour and we used to spend hours at their place. The neighbour had two daughters, who also happened to be my mother’s students. I do not know what they dreaded more: Mom giving them mathematic lessons or me styling their hair with a display of novice skills. Now, when I see small kids do such things to me, I realise how much the sisters loved me. Yes, I miss their love!
I was treated like I was the gem of my family. I was very dear to my uncles and my grand-mother. Although, I didn’t get to spend much time with her, but, I made sure to extract as much love as possible from my uncles. Neither of them ever shied away from fulfilling my wishes. As someone who loves to gorge on chaats to this day, my childhood was a plate full of fuchkas, aloo-kabli and churmur. It was a routine for my uncles to sneak in chaats for me, without my Mom noticing it. I used to have biriyani as often as a ‘normal’ person would have daal-bhaat. I distinctly remember the day when I first learnt to write Bengali alphabets on computer: it was like magic for a nursery kid. Yes, I miss that magic!
Meanwhile, my relationship with my father was a bit different. One of the funniest incidents with my Dad was right towards the end of my winter vacations. The night before the school was supposed to re-open, I asked my Dad to get me New Year greeting cards for my friends. He promised to get them the next day. But, I was extremely angry with him. “How could he say that he would get me cards the ‘next day’ when I wanted them right away?” Disappointed, I took out my language notebook and turned to the page where I had penned the essay about ‘My Father’. I quickly changed some words around and soon the “best father” had become the “worst father”. I never knew, until I had grown up, that it had hurt him so much that he got me the cards the same night. And, yes of course, I had immediately updated the essay again and my father was back with his winners title of the “best father”. Frankly, I was very scared of him, mostly because I knew I could never meet his expectations. I remember the day when while dropping me to school, he said that he dreamt of me going to the US some day. Poor me, he never knew how upsetting it was for me to think that his dream would never come true. But as they say, sometimes, the wishes of your parents can turn into blessings for you. Now at the age of 26, I can proudly call myself a ‘US-return’. Credit goes to you, Dad. Thank you for holding onto me with conviction and putting me on the right track. Yes, I miss his decisions now!
Mom, if there is anyone in this world whom I can dedicate my success and achievements, it is only you. You consoled me whenever I broke down. And, you continue to do the same even today. I hated the thought that maths was most important to you, even more important than me (as I thought at that time). But, today I realize that it is always good to have something inanimate in your life, may be ahead of a human, because it might turn out to be the only shelter where you can turn to in times of distress. Words wouldn’t suffice if I keep writing about you, so let me just say; I may not be a good daughter but, you will always remain the best Mom in this world. And yes, I miss you, Maa!
Here I am, letting the wonderful people in my life know how much they mean to me and how their love and affection have shaped me to what I am today. In this fast paced life, we often forget to stop and thank the next person, who helped us to grow. So, people take a moment out of your busy schedule and thank those important people in your life. There are many wonderful people in your life; thank them for the love, the care and most importantly, for the time they have shared with you. As you know that you can pay back everything, but not time!