There was a great sense of pride and responsibility in ‘black-listing’ the names of classmates on the black-board. Thanks to the internet and a friend/classmate who reconnected with me after 2 decades last week, who reminded me of my mean ways in school! He claims that he can recount many more things (good and bad) but is holding back for fear of being sued by me for stalking!:-)) And his email is what triggered this post!!
Few things that make me wince now:
1. Dissected earthworms and how! Bangalore soil was so so full of them. A few friends educated me on how fertile the soil gets because of the earthworms, and that they do not die when cut! I used to proudly carry a bunch of them, lay them out on a flat stone on the verandah of our house and cut them into pieces with a rusty knife, (much to my mom’s chagrin) and plough them back in the soil around my favorite plants.
2. Had a mallu friend 2 years my senior and her mom used to cook fish regularly. It was some small variety that I do not remember now. But their backyard had lot of fish bones/spike strewn. I loved collecting them. Washed and stored them and my mom never discovered this doing!
3. Dragon flies suffered heavily! Have you seen the small colorful ones? They were my favorite. Wait, I didn’t feast on them. Arranged a feast for them instead. Yes, built several ‘box-houses’ using paper/card board boxes. Put holes in them for ‘ventilation’ and stuffed in enough food- flowers with lot of pollen! Blue cross could have sued me for meting out 3rd degree torture to these creatures.
4. It was not only the fauna that suffered heavily. The Tulsi plant in our backyard was forced to witness several mock poojas during the term and final exams! I used to bring in friends from school during the break in addition to the other friends in the colony not giving them time to eat their lunch/snacks whatever! Coconuts were broken, haarthi was done, prasadam were offered- a full length drama that lasted a full 20 mins. We had enough time to run back into the school.
5. Part of summer vacations was spent on top of the mango and guava trees hunting for the ones the squirrels tasted and left some behind. We used to tell each other how they (the squirrels) knew which were the best ones. I don’t remember washing any of the half-bitten fruits that we ate straight from the trees!
6. It was a colony with a nice rangoli space in front of each house. The rangolis looked brighter on a surface with a cow dung coat. Yes, I was the official ‘gatherer’ of cow dung. We went collecting dung in small plastic buckets and diluted it with water. I used to wonder how the straw and grass were never fully ingested by the cows/buffaloes of the locality. I used to manually remove the worms (uuaack) from the dung when mixing. Now, every time I clean up the little one’s poo and pee, I pat myself for the wonderful job I did years back:) And hey, I did lovely rangolis back then (and still do!), one of the few nice, neat things that I did as a preteen-er!
7. The rough notebooks were filled with FLAME, a silly game and I hear kids still play it! Big names like Ravi Shastry and Kapil Dev often featured here. Shastry was my hero for a long time and used to wax eloquent on his chapati shot even before I saw one, and about his being declared a champ of champs, the car et al! Guess the older children in our group would have seen through and I would have made quite a sight!
8. I took a couple of love proposals quite too seriously and escalated it to my mom! Maybe I really missed something;)
(Edited to add)
9. Diwali was a time for adventure. Rockets were stuffed to fit snugly into Waterbury’s Compound Red Label tonic bottles with only the wick awkwardly protruding from the mouth. The bottles burst along with the crackers and I shudder to think how dangerous it could have been!
Am sure you have your own whackiest moments! Go on and share those here and tell me am not alone!