Being a child in today’s times is fun. There is so much to do, so much to learn. I felt that yesterday. What exactly prompted this feeling? The height of vettiism took me on a trip to Forum Mall in the midst of a Monday afternoon with a friend, who happened to be as vetti as me yesterday. Yes, Mr. Monday did not get a chance to touch my mind with his icy blue fingers yesterday at all! 🙂
We spent the whole day going up and down in the mall, to our heart’s content. We did a lot of vetti looking around and a bit of shopping. I was, as usual, drawn to the Landmark bookstore in the mall. 🙂 We spent quite a lot of time there, browsing the store over and over again. Me is now the proud owner of two brand new books – ‘A walk to remember’ by Nicholas Sparks and ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand. I happened to mention that to my mom on the phone and got a ‘Huh’ in response. Thankfully, she has given up on me in this respect! 🙂
I digressed from the main subject matter of this post. Well, we entered the children’s section of Landmark and ended up getting enchanted by the array of books and games and other stuff available for kids. Colorful jigsaw puzzles with pieces ranging from 25 to 2000, a multitude of Play-doh kits, coloring books, dolls, musical toys and so on and so forth. The unforgettable Barbie was available in a 101 different forms – Kajol Barbie, Airhostess Barbie, Indian Barbie and what not. I happened to glance at the price tag of Indian Barbie and my eyebrows shot up.
My parents would have sure had a fit if I had asked them to get it for me in my childhood. ‘Vera velai irrukka illeya?’ would have been the reaction for sure. I was tempted to buy a coloring book and a jigsaw puzzle for myself, but I restrained myself, keeping in mind the Are you O.K., Priya?-type reactions that I would get from my relatives if I did that! 🙂
We went back to our childhood days in that enchanted time. We didn’t have Barbie, we didn’t have the Internet, we didn’t have a lot of games and toys. But we still managed to keep ourselves occupied. I am not complaining here; not that I was unhappy with my childhood or anything. The difference between the facilities available to today’s kid and to yesterday’s kid is great. As a result, today’s kid is much more informed and much more ‘mature’ than my generation kid was.
I digressed once again. What I wanted to rant about here was how I spent my childhood. What were my pastimes? What toys did I play with? Here goes my list:
Books have always been and will be my first love. Not the electronic kinds, but the hardbound and paperback ones. Over the years, my tastes in reading have changed, but my love for books remains the same. The huge library just opposite to my house in Ahmedabad is one of the best things to have happened in my life. I used to read countless Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drews, Secret Sevens, fairy tales and Enid Blytons. Books and the inane scribblings that I used to do since an early age kept me away from loneliness, that is so much a part of the life of an only child. When I couldn’t read, I used to bug my parents to tell me stories. To their relief, I began reading early! 🙂
2) Coloring and sketch books
I have played around with n number of coloring books and sketch books. Filling up blank papers with myriad colors always awed me, very much like the feeling I get when I see a blank page filling up with words from the heart, even now. I have left sketching now, but would love to pick up the hobby again!
In my childhood, I remember I playing with 2 dolls. There were other little toys, but I remember these two vividly. One was a large doll that used to open and shut its eyes, which I had fondly christened ‘Sona Soni’. The other one was a little baby doll that came with a pink baby dress, which I had named ‘Sweety’. Dressing up these two took up a major part of my time! 🙂 Oh, and how can I forget the family of wooden dolls that I played with? There were (are, rather) father, mother, elder son, younger son and daughter! 🙂
4) Indoor games
I was never one for outdoor games. I played with quite a few indoor games, the major ones being Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble and our very own Dayakattai and Pallangui. I still retain the Dayakattais, the Pallankuzhi and the Scrabble board. 🙂 I also remember I had a ‘Kiddy Electro’ game, in which there were a number of boards with questions on one side and answers on the other sides. There were two wires attached to a light on the top of the board. If I placed one wire end to a question and one to an answer, the light at the top would glow with every correct answer. 🙂
5) Black board
One of the best gifts my parents gave me in my childhood was a black board, a duster and a box of colored chalks. I used to scribble on the blackboard and hold mock teaching sessions, complete with ‘teacher dress’ and scale! 🙂
6) Kitchen set
God! The number of times I have fooled around with my miniature kitchen set in my makeshift kitchen in a makeshift house constructed with sarees and bedsheets! 🙂 Me and my parents painstakingly collected each and every item in that set – little cookers and gas cylinders, bowls, kadhais and pots and pans – which silly me has still retained and hope to pass on to my kid as legacy. 🙂
Good old days with good old fun things! 🙂 Only the fun things, mind you! I am glad I am done with the tuition classes, midnight-oil-burning at exam time, the uniform and the 100-kg school bag! I am tempted to run down to the neighbouring shop and grab a packet of crayons and a coloring book! 🙂