Aug 30, 2012

The beginning of my pocket money

It was during those days with L that I got introduced to the attractive delicacies sold in the petty shops on the way to school. There were some umpteen shops on the way, each specializing in something or the other, needless to say, junk food of those times! There were these cookies in a bakery, all loaded with dalda/margarine, ranging from 20 paise to 1 rupee; there were deep fried fryums (boti) for 5 paise each, peppermint for 5 paise, cut fruits and cucumber, may be for a similar value, cotton candies, chocolates from Nestle, Pary’s, Cadbury’s, and some with no brand but very popular; there was this gadi wala with some colorful rubbery candy, that he used to make as various designs, as wrist watches, rings, or lolli pops, etc; and there were these chikis of various forms and sizes; honey cake for about 2 rupees a piece, and many many goodies like this. Ohh whatever happened to those small coins and the goodies they used to bring, now!! I guess today’s kids haven’t even seen a 50 paise coin!

Mom, being a good and experimental cook, used to make many snacks at home and pack for school too. She even used to bake a couple of cakes and cookies too, something very big for those days. Needless to say, they were far healthier and of great standards, and of course something less attractive for a 7 year old who was exposed to a hundred different things outside :)

This girl L used to always have some money with her. Sometimes less than a rupee, and more often more than a few rupees, sometimes even 5 or 10. Now, looking at the values of stuff mentioned above in that age, this was quite a money to splurge, esp by school kids.

So she introduced me to various shops on the way, which I had only seen till now, or may be mom bought me a pencil or eraser from one of these occasionally. Every day, she’ll buy a different item, depending on how much money she had and would give me a small portion out of it. And I’d devour the taste of all these new colorful, exciting stuff! That was when I tasted my first honey cake, one of her favorite costly treats, the deep fried fryums (mom always made happaLa-sandige at home and fried them in good oil), some open candies like peppermint, orange candy etc (dad and mom used to get only covered candies), and so on. Even at school, there were kids who would go out in the lunch break and buy some goodies from the innumerable shops surrounding.

Even after having had all these, the greedy me was always eyeing one bakery very close to school where there were a hundred kinds of cookies in jars on the counter. These cookies used to attract me every day, but L had not bought these even once. And my self esteem would not let me ask her to buy me one of those! One of the days I even mustered up courage to go up to the shop and ask about the prices of these cookies. They ranged from 20 paise to 1 rupee.

Back home when there was some change left out on the table or counter, I’d eye them and evaluate the coins to the cookies that I wanted. If I had even faintly asked me parents I wanted to taste one of these, they’d have definitely bought me, but I didn’t. I picked up one coin first and carefully hid it in my uniform pocket. And the same day in the lunch break, I walked up to the shop and handed him the only coin I had and asked for the least expensive cookie. I still remember the taste of it. It was a salt biscuit, the size of today’s 2-rupee coin. Hmmm… it was tasty! Esp since it was stolen, I believe!
So this continued; I tasted a few other cookies and candies like this, each time getting more courageous.
My parents were, as always smarter than me, and had doubted about this. (I wonder how, but will ask mom after showing this story!) But they wanted to confirm before confronting me. So on a Sunday, dad had left some change, quite many coins than usual, along with his wallet on a table when he went to bath. And mom also made sure she didn’t come to that room for a long enough time for me to pick them and hide them. I thought I had accomplished something with great success, but I was wrong. They had counted all the coins and kept them and now, it was clear that I had picked whatever was missing.

And then began another counseling session! I sobbed, and was sure something terrible was to happen now. I guess I lied to them at first, and then admitted. I confessed on doing it for some days now and told them what I did with the money. They told me about Mahatma Gandhi’s story of stealing his dad’s pen, and said it was okay! Surprisingly, they didn’t scold me or beat me, only explained to me it was wrong. They could have falsely suspected the maid for what I had done, they could then lose trust in me if I continued it and so on.

And then they decided to give me some pocket money every day. It was 25 paise a day. I could use it every day or save it for a couple of days for a bigger cookie, or save some for the future and make a big sum of it and use it for a bigger thing. Whatever I did with it was up to me, it was my money! But there were some important things that had to be kept in mind:
  •          No open foods - they are very unhealthy because of the dust, dirt and germs on them
  •          No cut fruits/veggies for the same reasons
  •     No boiled food - like boiled corn or boiled peanuts - the water they’d have used might be very unhygienic and unhealthy
  •          Not too much of fried foods, as the oil they use is not as good as the ones used at home
  •        Cookies can be had occasionally as they are mostly with dalda and not pure ghee, which is not healthy in the long run

Yes, there were a lot many things to have in spite of all these No’s. I did use the money for my little pleasures, but also made sure I saved it (More about the savings in a later post). The amount I got, almost doubled every year, became a weekly sum from daily, and then monthly. By the time of college I was getting about 500 bucks, but I had also learnt to use it meticulously.

Pics Courtesy Google Image Search

Aug 18, 2012

The day I bunked school

I was in second standard then, about 7 years of age. My school was about a kilometer or two from home and I used to walk for about half an hour to reach. There were some country roads which we had to walk to save time and distance, a railway line to cross, a slum to go past. Those were the days when there were no school buses painted yellow to take the kids to school. May be there were in some hi-fi international schools, but those were something we were unaware of. We did our schooling in some local private school as did most of our peers from that age. And walking to school was the only option. Second Saturdays would be special as dad would be off from work and would drop us in his scooter, a luxury we looked forward to!
In the beginning mom used to accompany me, with my little sister, who would walk a bit and for the rest of the walk, end up in mom’s arms. And then there was this older girl, a neighbor of ours, who was in fifth or sixth standard then who also went to the same school and an arrangement was made for me to go with her and comeback with her. Let’s call her L.

I used to enjoy walking with her - a big girl who seemed to know so much, who had friends on the way, who knew many shops that sold candies on the way and who I thought was one bold girl. What I didn’t know then was that she used to miss classes quite often, be sent out by teachers every other day for not completing home work and got very low grades. These were something that weren’t even possible for me to imagine, as my parents saw to it that I always completed my homework, taught me at home as well, never allowed me to bunk just like that and I was always told education was the most important thing to have in life! So all things that this girl L did, amused me.

There were times when I’d have some complex and feel inferior to her, as I never had the guts to do all that she did - to be so carefree about school, and not to be asked about anything about school at home. I envied her freedom! I cursed my luck for having parents who took interest in my studies and grades and home works…

(What I didn’t know then was that as soon as she completed her 10th, no matter she failed or passed with a rank, her parents would get her married off to a rich guy or rather a man, much older than her, and then she’ll have a couple of kids before her mid twenties and that’s about it. There was nothing beyond this for her to aspire for… but in my case, my parents aspired that I’d study well (of course I was the one who got first in class most of the times) and become an engineer or a doctor or whatever was that I aspired. They wanted me to become independent with good education and that was the most important one.)

Coming back to the story, this girl, on some days stopped by the railway track and asked me to go to school alone and come back in the evening. By now, I was well aware of the route and was used to walking alone too. And in the evenings when I’d come back she’d already be there, and would walk back with me. I was so dumb that I’d assume she came to school after me and came back just before me! Later she told me that she’d sit by the railway track and play there by herself for the entire day and go back home after the school hours!

She tried persuading me to give her company too. But I was too scared to attempt anything like that as I knew the consequences of it. When I didn’t give in, she tried scaring me. She showed me a used and thrown hand gloves and said stories that there were some criminals there who murdered people and chopped their bodies into pieces and carried them in gunny bags. And that this hand had fallen off by mistake. I was petrified by this thought. I then agreed to stay with her one day, and hide and watch that guy who killed people! Was it out of fear of that guy or was it because of curiosity or to appear bold like her, I don’t remember now. Anyways I bunked the next day.

As we reached the railway track, we didn’t go further on the school road and instead, removed our shoes and got on to playing something there. And the criminal who was apparently the cause of this venture had been forgotten! After about an hour or so, to my ill luck, there came this neighbor aunty, who knew both of us and there we were caught red handed, err mud handed :)

I don’t remember the exact sequence of what happened later, but I and L were in that lady’s house and my mom was brought there; our house was a couple of furlongs from hers, may be her son went over and brought my mother (there were no telephones then). Mom had her comb still stuck on her hair, she had left in a hurry. And the next thing I remember is that my mom took me home silently, clearly angry and as soon as we went home, she changed my soiled clothes and gave me a couple of whacks from her comb.

And later I was given some counseling and asked to confess on the details of the event. And there was some lesson on why it was bad to bunk so as well; and how it could be dangerous for little girls to be roaming about the railway track the whole day and so on. And there ended my bunked day!

Aug 8, 2012

The Writer's Blogger's block

Every night, just before drifting off to sleep, these awesome brilliant ideas pop up in my mind, about something that i should write. I'll get nice awesome words and sentences as well, that I’ll decide to put on the blog first thing in the morning. I am quite determined to remember them till the morning as well, trying to memorize the ideas and words!! Getting up then and writing is not something that i do...

And the next morning starts with getting up late and hurrying to cook breakfast and lunch before D leaves. And then I sit with my laptop, along with my bowl of breakfast, and may be the TV ON too... And as a pre-programmed application, my fingers first open the Facebook and go down the feed from all friends, all updates useful, useless and the links and the forwards (shares) and so on... And also some notifications on friends liking or commenting on my posts... And then the blogs to check for new comments and stats... I'm talking about my food blog here; that is a more happening place than this one! And then the blog updates of other bloggers and pals... And then some news may be, and I just completely forget the idea of writing, let alone the most-determined-to-remember ideas... Huh!

And after all these I feel a bit sad that a brilliant idea is not recorded :(
The idea of writing a great post has just got dissolved....

Hmm... I know I should not let this happen... I should concentrate more on writing and give more importance to it...
Hope it happens soon...

Aug 1, 2012

The Age Factor

'While how old you are is not in your hands, how old you feel, definitely is!'

Recently a blog friend of mine posted something on being 30, some positive aspects of it. I liked the post and left a comment on the lines of agreeing with her and mentioning of sailing in the same boat. And her reply was “Man u n thirty..U don’t look a day older than 25..Rock on”

He he! Obviously this made me gleam and grin from ear to ear. This is not the first time that such a thing has happened. Many a time, people belive that I am much younger than I actually am. I believe it’s because of my appearance…. I hope not it is because I am childish or so :)

A couple of months back when I accompanied mom to Mysore for her exams (Ohh yeah, she is definitely younger than me…. She’s doing a degree now), an old lady, at whose house we stayed asked me what I’m studying! Then when she was told that I’m working in so and so company and am married for so and so years, she was astonished. And I was more astonished, that I can still pass for a student!

It does feel good when someone makes a remark like that, doesn’t it? At least for me it does. I feel good when someone asks me something like ‘what are you studying?’ or comments like ‘You look like a school girl. Can't say you are married by looking at this picture.’(a blog friend when she first saw my pic in FB).

Ok… some pondering over these incidents gave me some enlightenment yesterday, and i came up with the quote on top! That I should not feel like thirty and should instead feel five years younger. That gave me a strange joy…. That makes me believe in being able to do all that I wanted to and couldn’t in the last five years… That made me feel like living all those years and more once again, all over with a fresh start! And finally it made me younger than what I am… Believe me it makes wonders!

Thanks to all of you whose comments helped me in this realization :)