November 18, 2009

Little Stoic and her friends


This was on one muggy summer afternoon from the years of unstructured rearing when disobedience and shenanigans are nonchalantly tolerable.
Every evening upon finishing our homework and a glass of milk, the friends would gather at the derelict outhouse which provided the most suitable setting for our juvenile games.
Out of the seven, after the ritualistic chant of ``in-pin-safety-pin-in-pin-out, khelna hai to khelo warna (play if you like or else) get out!'', I was the singled-out participant for the `dare you’ game of the day. Very compliantly I climbed into the corroded age-old closet wherein I, `poorani almari wali chudail' ( the witch of the old closet) , the spell-weaver, had to remain till my companions would challenge and call out in choral rhyme, kya tu hum sabse darkar, baithee jo almari ke andar, bana sakti kya hum sabko bandar, chala kar apna jadoo mantar? ( are you afraid of us that you hide in that closet? Do you have the power to weave a magic spell and turn us into monkeys? ). Thereupon, I, the closet witch, had to come out of my cubbyhole and cast my spell on whoever I’d come upon first.
I did not see the lever turn in the black opacity, nor did I hear the hurried footfalls fading on the desiccating grass. I waited alertly for that signal from my friends, instead, I heard my sniggering mates yelling out that they had tossed up the key to my freedom high up which the sky devoured. Funnily, I did not find my friends' meanness peculiar.
It must have been the clamminess inside, or the suspended stale air, or the cold solid metal against which I reclined sideways, tucking my legs together. In next to no time my olfactory nerves became comatose and I slept. Or fainted.
Noises.
A weepy and a very hysterical mother discovered me.
Sometimes I dream of those tittering friends from my childhood days.
The key, it was never retrieved.

12 comments:

Vittaldas Prabhu said...

During our childhood, friendship many a times personified meanness. Being mean was a virtue. But then in those days we would be furious at the meanness of our friends, whenever they decided to do a favour by being mean, and then in a few moments we would forget it and start playing again. What happens later? Like in this story, we recline and fall asleep to the fact that we have lost all that innocence and innocent meanness, and the key to being innocent has been lost forever.

vicious said...

awwwww ...you brought back memories ..though that sleeping/fainting part never happened , the rest felt as if i was reading my own story !!

made me nostalgic !!!
@VP: "Like in this story, we recline and fall asleep to the fact that we have lost all that innocence and innocent meanness, and the key to being innocent has been lost forever"

SO TRUE!!!

Vittaldas Prabhu said...

@vicious: Thank you. :-)

IdleMind said...

Childhood fantasies, or how we dare do the experiments that we so fail miserably in our adult life!

I wish you keep sharing such moments. Even the scary ones!:)

Agreed you're not too addicted to million words, but the cuteness with which you narrated about the closet witch on that day kept herself locked ... until she fainted ... relived memories.

AJai said...

oOPSIE! that must have been a bad one. don't think u realized it but am sure the look on ur mom's face would have told u how scared she was. that's probably what u havn't forgotten.

we did lots of crazy things as kids na. well... those were the days.

Kim Living Life said...

ooh no I hate small cramped spaces I seriously would have fainted or broken the door down, I can hear the hysterics in my voice now. You were brave and your mum would have been so glad to find you. The stories of our youth so telling.

Anushka said...

For the 1st time, I realise what that wanna-sounding word in the rhyme actually means. Warna. Hindi. Ofcourse. *facepalm*

Also, I'd have been pretty mad at my friends if I were in your place. I'd hate the thought of not knowing when I'd be let out.

swapnanjali said...

yes childhood memories ...me too missing very badly...nice to know about yours and enjoyed reading it... :)

Protege said...

Very solemn and contemplative post. You strike me as a dreamer.;)
Thank you so much for stopping by my place, I appreciate your visit.;)
xo
Zuzana

Ulrike said...

I just love the way you write.

Those memories of the innocent meanness of childhood friends made me feel all clammy. And brought back memories of being small and desperately trying to figure out the world, but finding it so hard. Mind you, I still find that.

Great photo too.

Nikki... said...

Childhood fantasies, childhood memories or childhood scares - lasts a lifetime, making their presence felt once in a while..

The lost innocence is just like the time past, not recoverable, but forever etched in the soul..

kanishk said...

the key to being innocent has been lost forever.

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