WHAT’S YOUR LOVE STORY?
I have very poor memory compared to a normal person. But there are some incidents in life that I can never forget till the last bit of memory last with me. Like my first experience of love.
That incident reminds me of monsoon. And monsoon always reminds me of my love. It happened when I was six. We didn’t have LKG/UKG system during those times. School admission was direct to the first standard which begins during the first week of June (when monsoon begins in Kerala)
My mother, who was a teacher in the Upper Primary School in the same compound, dropped me in the first standard class. It was quite a class room! A big hall. There were three benches, one three legged chair, and remains of black colored wood surface that was called blackboard – scenario of a typical village government school.
Among more than 150 kids (I guess), only few lucky ones could get seated in the benches. All others, like me, were sitting down in the muddy, un-cemented wet floor. Every kid was wet in the rain. The class room was full of noises – kids crying, howling and sound of lotta (kind of a steel canister).
70% of the kids come with the lotta to get the free mid-day meal comprised of Upma, prepared from American bulgur wheat (the mid-day meal program for the poor primary-school students). The poverty and starvation in the family prompted people to send their kids to school. Most of them would take the meals with them while returning home. And after 4th standard kids will leave the school as the free meals were not available from 5th. And most of them end-up in child labour. Some kids came with Chembila (leaf of Colocasia) and banana leaves as umbrella.
After sometime, I felt hungry. And I started crying.
Suddenly a girl sitting near to me touched my hands. I looked at her. She was wearing an old shirt (apparently her big brother’s) and a petticoat only. She was carrying a lotta with her (apparently to get mid-day meal)
She took a small cake made of peanuts and jaggary (traditional uncentrifuged sugar) from her torn shirt pocket and offered to me
“Take this” she said smilingly. I remember her few front teeth were missing.
I took it. It was not at all crispy. A wet cold thing and jaggary was melting in the water.
Still, it appeared so tasty to me. The jaggary was stuck around my mouth. She got up wiped it with her petticoat.
For further reading please check the book : TIDBITS: From The Life of Pai
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