A legacy I received… I wish I could hand it down
Do I remember the good old days, of course the time I we played hide and seek and how we played it climbing roof tops and tree tops, baking when our mothers were not around, waiting for the letters from cousins after holidays, the Saturday half day school meant we returned early and enroute we picked up inland letters to write to our grandparents. Of course when television did enter the family the Sunday morning He-man and Mahabharat.
We did lot more things and we did it choosing to do so, simply because our families were not child dominated, my mother specially was juggling, home, school, 6 houseguests at any given time, not to mention Mahila Samaj Haldi-Kumkum making of pickles and papad and god knows what.
There is so much that I could share and I have shared like playing Safari imagining that our bicycles were horses…Yes we named our bicycles, and lassoing the pigs. Or stealing Mangoes from Kannamma-auntie’s house we had a ball.
One of the vibrant memories is about the “annual day/ independence day” and some other event that we performed. There was none of this profession theatre hangover, no reality shows as benchmark it was plain and stark write your script, direct your moves, beg borrow costumes if it was really so important than the great man himself would descend that is the one and only legendary “Basha Saheb”
But end of July I went home for my father’s year’s mind, when it was the fiftieth founder’s day of Manipal Mahila Samaj, it brought back so many memories. My first ever memory of a stage performance, I can still see Mrs.Kusuma Panduranga Pai in a Navy Blue BellBottom, and top her hair open to me she was the ultimate Diva.
Generations of children have grown up in Manipal experimenting flexing with their creativity, no judgements made everyone was encouraged as long as our grades were good. This time round the women had the lesser known women charecters from the epics it was humbling to see these very same people who guided us through life still vibrant and walking the ramp in their sixties and seventies.
When I look back, we had to reach school by 9.30 AM so 9 a clock we would meet at the end of the road, and one friend would perpetually be late, and we would yell out “Ana Maria….”
Coming yaa” would be her response and an immediate adjoined would be “Paal kudichitu school po” ie drink your milk before you leave. Parents didn’t bother about dropping us to school; of course the “Sissies” took the school bus. There were kids who walked uptown 5kms, to school and some who lived far way took the local bus. we knew not the traffic jams.
Evenings we went for a walk, or library or swimming nothing was structured. That was the greatest gift our parents generation gave us, a legacy that my generation failed to hand down, micromanage our kids so much, drop them to school, pick them us, take them to their tuitions, extra-activities of our choice, insist on guiding their homework an euphemism for ensuring their homework is done all in the guise of being an concern responsible parent.
If there is one thing from my childhood that I wish kids today could do, it is being able to explore and experiment without being controlled. As for my little ones, they are pretty women today I have tried to give them that.
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