I always thought I was a simple child to raise.
I came after two boys, and I played well with them. My older brother was my best friend. That friendship survived puberty and years of high school, where both of us were away in hostel. Well, since I was only 2 years younger than him, he was the only constant friend I had before I was old enough to play with other kids outside. So, when I was finally old enough to go out, I suppose I followed him around to his play spots and played with his friends until they accepted me into their “squad”. Mind you, I was the only girl in that squad. I assume that sat well with my mother, well, until a few years later, my father kept boasting about him having 3 boys. Sigh.
I was a healthy child, never got sick much. Supposedly, I didn’t cry all that much as a baby too. Thick skin, I guess. But apart from the itchy feet (the need to go somewhere ever so often), I was a good child – said my sister.
I lived with that knowledge for a long time. That was until, the last time I was home, I had a somewhat interesting conversation with Mom that ripped that theory apart.
Turns out, I was the most inquisitive child in the family. Given how I had learnt to read at a young age, courtesy of evenings on my father’s lap and the newspaper, I seemed to like reading. I asked a lot of questions too. She said she had to take up reading also, just to keep up with my reading and always be ready to reason away with me. I remember Sunday afternoons where we’d sit and read, together. Fond memories. That also meant each time I was in a shop with Mom, I would leave with a book in my hands, grinning, much like an emoticon. Mom said this fascinated her. She also wanted to see how long it would last. Twenty three years later, I am still a reader and a lover of books.
Like my sister, I took up art. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so good at that. But I recall drawing landscapes. Looking back now, I guess those have always been my thing. I love landscapes. The reason I travel when I can. That also explained my excitement whenever I heard we were going to the countryside to visit my maternal grandparents. There, we have acres of land and the loveliest view. With the huge rocks at the end of the farm, we used to climb those and just sit there, until the sun was nestled by the distant mountains. Then we knew it was time to go home. I loved it there. We would stay there every other holiday, our days filled with early mornings doing farm work, midday at the nearby river and frolicking about. I remember we would have to shower once a day, before bed, because showering in the morning was always pointless. We’d come back the color of dirt at the end of the day anyhow.
I also asked a lot of questions. The most embarrassing moment my Mother recalled was a Sunday afternoon. Her friend had come over and they were chatting in the kitchen, and I was watching TV. I came into the kitchen and asked her, “Mama, what is masturbation?”
I was seven. And please, blame the teen show I was watching.
I had always recalled that I got my first “birds and the bees” talk when I was seven. But hearing the story that made my Mom have to talk to me about that was funny.
Some of the stories of the stories from my childhood shed some light to some of the habits I still have today. She said, watching us grow into the adults that we are, she has learnt a new meaning to the saying, “the more things change, the more things remain the same.”