Reading father_sphinx’s blog and going on to some others made me think tonight. The recollections of childhood incidents and the memories they give us contribute a great deal to our perception of life today. Especially mine.
I remember one incident when I went on an unauthorised swimming trip. My parents – as parents were – did not allow me and my siblings to go for swims in the local popular water bodies, my father firmly declaring that it was dangerous. One fine morning, never realising that it was a Sunday, I went for a ‘morning walk’ with some of my friends. We headed straight for the ‘spot’ at Champhai zawl which was about 4km from my house. Greatly enjoying the water, we forgot all about the danger of returning late and took our time splashing about. By the time we reached home, it was about 10:30 am. My parents were frantic and about 20 people had gathered at our place. They were just about to go in search of us and there we were. Not knowing where we went, they had waited and waited and finally informed some of our close relatives and family friends.
Scared with all the attention and remembering my father’s decree, I entered the house full of apprehension. Expecting to be scolded or even beaten, I along with my friend (who lives nextdoor) were led into the bedroom by my mom. There she made us kneel…I was dead scared. Then she knelt in front of us, put her hands over our heads and prayed. The tears falling from her eyes, thanking the good Lord of our safe return, was more than I could bear. All the relief I felt at not being beaten or scolded was immediately replaced by remorse and guilt. I can still recall that moment vividly.
My parents’ reaction and my friend’s family’s was totally different. Her family really didn’t even bother to know where she was and she didn’t get even a scolding. Maybe they were relying on my mother’s prayers…I don’t know.
When I look back and think, I am really thankful that my parents did what they did. That incident capped by the prayer made a lasting memory, much more than a severe beating would have done. I never went on unauthorised trips after that. However, on a deeper level, the utter remorse I felt at that time must have made a greater impact than I thought. For a long long time I kept as far away from water bodies as possible. A girl who loved water enough to go against her parents wishes do not know how to swim more than ten years later.
This made me think and think and think. Even though I’ve heard it a million times before, I have just woken up to the reality of just how much my childhood influences the way I think and consequently live. This made me thirst for more knowledge and recollections of my childhood days so that I can know myself better. I’ve been trying to know more and overcome sub-concious fears lurking around at the back of my brain…starting with swimming.