My earliest memory

The earliest memory I have from childhood is when I was in Lower kindergarten. This is when I was four years old. I was in the midst of classes when my Grand father came to school to pick me up. I don’t recall exactly why he had come himself, but that is the earliest memory of me and also of my grand father. He was a tall man, always in a black/grey coat and dhoti. A dhoti is a cotton length of cloth that is wrapped around in a specific way so as to both provide complete cover to the legs and at the same time give freedom of movement. He also used to wear glasses – one with a dullish black frame. Not much of my interaction with him stays in my mind, but one distinct that cannot escape my memory. When I was home one evening, I hear the ice-cream wallah – a man with a push cart of sorts with ice cream stored in frozen ice – calling ‘Ice cream, Ice cream’. I was a pretty adamant kid and asked my grand father to buy me ice cream. He might have refused and I said to him in Kannada ‘I am going to call him anyway’. The words could be heard incorrectly – maybe he was hard of hearing – and he thought (translated) something else bad. So he gave me a nice twist to my ears till it turned red and I had to shout at the top of my voice that all I said was I would call out to the ice cream cart. Life was simple in those days relative to the busy days of today. I and brother would play an endless amount of cricket in our compound – tests after tests. He would be England and I would be India and we would play each batsman till the last man got out. This would take half the morning on a Sunday. Once it got hot, we would go indoors and continue with short cricket in our dining room. At this time grand mother would be getting ready for her afternoon nap and she would get upset and ask us to keep the noise down else she would tell to my father. My father had a ferocious temper that he was famous for even in the school he taught and that was enough to get us find something else to do. It wasn’t uncommon that we got a good slap on the butt for bad behavior. The stainless steel utensil used to serve rice was flat and square and we would on occasions be threatened with a slap with a heated one! Maybe my brother had once gotten it (!) but I might have escaped the treatment.

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