How far back can you remember?

November 14, 2009

Early memories … What is it about them that brings a slow comforting smile to our faces? When my mom and dad talk about their childhood days, they have this soft smile on their faces – as though remembering something tender. The things they did as children, the era that was, their childhood friends – thinking or talking about it never fails to bring on the “smile”.

On one of our evening walks, my parents told me about how theyΒ  and their siblings walked back from school together with friends. As I mentioned earlier, there is a railway track that they had to cross before reaching home. There was also a path to bypass the tracks. The elders at home sent them off with a stern reminder to take the road which bypasses the tracks.

But you know how it is with children. They conveniently forget. At school time one would see lot of kids walking the tracks – competing with each other as to who lasts the most on the track. Thank goodness there weren’t any tight rope acts around or they would be on that too!!

All the kids, deeply concentrating on the tracks, forgot to look out for people who wouldn’t miss a chance to tell on them. As each child reached home, a whack or two eagerly awaited their bottoms.

Next day the same old routine began all over again…. πŸ™‚

When amma told me this, I was astonished. Nobody would dare to do that now, least of all little kids.Β  Appa said back in those days, it wasn’t really all that dangerous, because you could hear a train coming from miles away. Today, you hear a train come only when its a kilometre or two afar. I smiled to myself – look at the logic of these two defending their acts of mischief from years ago. πŸ™‚

Anyways, all the talk about memories made me wonder about mine and in particular my earliest. I always knew my earliest memory but I keep pushing myself to think of something earlier than that. I guess that won’t work unless I am hypnotized! πŸ˜€

Thinking about my earliest memory is always like seeing it happen in the most sweet and angelic way. One afternoon my mother has me on her lap and we are sitting in the verandah. I must have been 2.5 years old and I start playschool tomorrow. She says, “Phaayi tu ek chaanga schoolantu vatta. Nave boooku, baaga, water bottleh, pencils sagga ghevnu vatta. Teacher astali and bhornu friends astale…. ” (Tomorrow you will be going to a nice school. You will have new books, bag, water bottle, pencils to take to school. There will be a teacher there and friends too…) The magic of her words get lost in retelling this incident but when her words ring in my ears, I feel like I am two and half again. She must have said more but I don’t remember any more of it. Just these tender few moments when my mother prepared me for my first day in school… πŸ™‚

Sweet first memory isn’t it? Now I am all ears to hear yours!


38 Responses to “How far back can you remember?”

  1. Titaxy said

    you remember something from when you were 2.5yrs old? 😦 i don’t …my earliest one is probably from maybe 7yrs…

    anyway, v nice post…made me all nostalgic πŸ™‚

    Yep … πŸ™‚ Thanks so much! I would have loved to hear what your memory was! πŸ™‚

  2. gils said

    i remember me writin A in tamil in rice πŸ™‚ thts the oldest i cud remember ..i must be 3 yrs old i guess…but a lot of incidrents after tht are so vvid tht i cant believe its been so long!!! my first drawing class ver i cudnt draw two symmetrical pair of..straight lines :)) my parallel lines alone were more like Union jack πŸ™‚ for my out of the box drawing i got nthg inside my marks box πŸ™‚ teachers r not an appreciative audience u see πŸ™‚

    LOL! Thats so cute! πŸ™‚ I can imagine baby Gils dtruggling to get his lines right! πŸ™‚

    • gils said

      gils stl a bay at ths day the struggle continues..but yaeh…i compensated with my writing πŸ˜€ tht wud resemble any modern art u can imagine πŸ™‚ i am the co-inventor of mahanagari script (wat else can u call it wen even compounders in clinic wudnt understand my writing!!!)

      Humility is definitely not thy middle name, uh? πŸ˜€ I totally agree though – your writings are something of a marvel and no no, you are the inventor of TINGLISH rather than co-inventor of Mahanagari!! (What is this mahanagari anyways? ):D πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  3. gils said

    //Phaayi tu ek chaanga schoolantu vatta. Nave boooku, baaga, water bottleh, pencils sagga ghevnu vatta. Teacher astali and bhornu friends astale//


    Konkani! My mother tongue … πŸ™‚

    • gils said

      whoa!! πŸ™‚ land of aish? πŸ™‚

      If you mean Goa, yep!! Ancestors are from Goa but settled in the sweet town of Kochi. The dialect continued on .. πŸ™‚

  4. Savitha said

    My earliest memories run back as young as 2yrs old, I could vividly remember most of them tilldate :). I have waited for my father to return back home, sat beside him until he is done with dinner, stayed awake drawing pictures in air, until after all have slept, and spoke myself to sleep :P. Certain memories stay intact, however much you try, they wouldn’t get out of you πŸ˜€

    Wow!! Thats amazing! I can’t remember too many things from back then. Baby Savitha sounds so sweet, no? πŸ˜€

  5. ajcl said

    my earliest memory was when i was 4.. at my sister’s naming cermeony.. i remember being so possesive of her.. and guarded her crib not allowing the guests to venture any where near.. i still can recollect, frame by frame that day..

    Ha ha ha ! The little lion cub! πŸ™‚ That’s a very sweet memory! πŸ™‚

    • Swaram said

      Wow Appu πŸ™‚ Most of my earlier memories are abt guarding my sis too πŸ™‚ I remember there ws a girl @ home to help us and one day she left my sis on the sofa and went to talk to one of her friends. My grandma ws in the kitchen too. I got so angry and scolded her for that. The words I used to scold her were Aakasha-Bhoomi πŸ˜› I wonder hw did I even think they qualified as words to scold someone. Prob, some elders should have taught me the same so that I dont pick up bad words .. I know not but thatz one thing I cn never forget πŸ˜›

      Oh ho, another lion cub in our midst huh?? πŸ˜€ I can’t imagine Baby Swaram scolding the girl using big big akasha bhoomi words! The girl must have laughed right?? Or did she get scared?? πŸ˜€

  6. Really good memory that !! πŸ™‚

    the oldest I can remember was when we lived in Mumbai in our aparment… I remember the big kids taking me in their cricket team and then when we were about to lose a match I was to say “Bad light” so that the match would stop and we wouldnt lose. They would make me bat last… and always make me play extra balls in the end. Also renting a bicycle for Rs. 1 for 3 hours and then I wouldnt ride and the other kids older ones would exhaust the 3 hours riding it while I would watch them and run after them… !!!

    and then I had my younger bro’s come in my life… when I was 4 and I was seriously jealous of them at that age… My mom occupied with them… they were twins and they would sleep on the bed .. lol… !!!

    thankfully I grew up out of that jealousy !!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Ah, so you got early training for your cricket mischief, isn’t it?? πŸ˜€ You were jealous of your brothers?? I can’t imagine you jealous at all! πŸ™‚ The bicycle renting is just awesome – we used to do it when we were much older! Lovely first memories indeed!! πŸ™‚

  7. Ramesh said

    Wow – you can remember things from when you were 2.5 ? And Savitha says 2 ?? You ladies must be having some super memories.

    Alas, I can recollect only from 5 or so. A naughty neighbour used to sing out “ayyayyo pavame schoolukku poname” (Oh you poor thing, you have to go to school), as I left for school. Can remember it for the obvious reasons – Grrrr !!

    LOL!! That was hilarious!! πŸ˜€ Paavam lil Ramesh!! πŸ˜€ I can almost hear the tune too … πŸ™‚

  8. Narayan said

    A nice post,I must say. All memories of the past ,especially childhood ones,good or bad , are pleasing to recall.I think the earliest incident in my memory is the funeral process of my little brother who was 2 years younger. At that time I don’t think I could have realized the sadness ,yet I remember and wonder what would have been if he was still around.
    Regarding the tracks, it was a good experience,even though now it looks very dangerous like many of the acts we used to perform and practice.Secretly learning cycling ,swimming in the back waters of Kochi,trekking in the mountains(of course with the NCC label)and all the terrific acts I did during the Advance leadership Course I underwent in Goa (NCC again)couldn’t have been possible with prior approval from parents , yet they have come very useful for my present life.Parents are scared and warn their wards ,but these ventures make us tough to face the wild world.Only in those lines. I used to encourage my kids to go to shops alone ,ride bicycles on the main road and to drive scooter and car alone in the busy streets of Kochi etc. Secretly , we were anxious till the kids come back home safely,till then we close the eyes like the cat drinking milk,praying nothing should happen to them.
    Reading gil’s comment I remember my close friends in school,used to firmly predict that I would become a doctor when I grow up , The hand writing is such a good clue.

    Other’s experiences are also good reading material. I wish them all very best in life

    Thanks for sharing your memories … it is a little different to have lived in those ages and I think parents would undoubtedly be afraid.

  9. lostworld said

    So so cute!!! πŸ™‚ Oh I have loads of them too .. Some of them told & re-told so often that I visualize it.

    A funny one is when we moved from Maharashtra to B’lore when I was 3. I simply refused to enter the new house & was ready to cycle all the way back to my old house alone πŸ˜‰

    You might like this —

  10. Swaram said

    Lovely post this one Ash πŸ™‚ Hw sweet to listen to those trains-n-tracks memories πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ Ur Mom n Dad rock!

    Its so touching to read that memory of urs abt the start of playschool πŸ˜‰ I remember my playschool memories bcoz the teacher loved me and had told other students πŸ˜› ‘See Swaram, how neatly she comes and has learnt so many shlokas; she is a very gud girl’ Hw much praise and recognition matters na πŸ˜‰

    Hey there, teacher’s pet! I am sure your school days were filled with lots of such lovely memories – after all who can resist such a cute and sweet natured child, right? πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the sweet words for my parents!

  11. Nancy said

    My goodness Savitha & u must have memories like an elephant…..seriously I dont think u guys cd have remembered anything tht early. Maybe ur parents told u abt it later & u started imagining tht u remembered them.
    Ok, ok dont beat me up for this…I cd be wrong :-P.

    As for my memories, the earliest I remember is when I was 4 yrs old and am feeling too lazy to type it all down. So here’s the link ;-D:

    I do hope u r going to read it……I spent a good 15 mins hunting it down πŸ˜›

    Someone is burning up a fever!! πŸ˜‰ You know me, I always read what you write. And I am so glad you spent time to get the link for me. I read and left you a comment too. The lil Nan sounds as adorable as the current Nan!! πŸ™‚

    • Nancy said

      heeee thank U… πŸ˜€

    • Savitha said

      Hoo,hoo,Nancy!This is what people term ‘J’ πŸ˜›
      Maybe, incidents people narrated, how about locations, the home we lived in then, our neighbour’s faces?? I can remember them,too! πŸ™‚

      OMG Savi!! I cannot remember things like you!! πŸ™‚ You are amazing!! πŸ™‚

      • Nancy said

        Savitha dont tell me u r a member of MENSA or something…in which case I take everything I said back πŸ˜€

        But seriously speaking, I’m trying to analyse why u feel u remember them all….. since u lived in a joint family there is a good chance that the people around u kept mentioning certain incidents periodically. And this repeated memories & a few photographs could have strengtened ur remembrance.

        And this J u mentioned above….are u calling me Judicious……in which case I’ll accept the compliment. Thank U!!!!!

        πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

        LOL, Mrs Judicious!! πŸ˜€ Savi in Mensa – interesting and definitely plausible! Savi, waiting to hear your take on the rest of Nan’s comment! πŸ™‚

        • Savitha said

          Back at home, when I was young, we never took photographs :(. The few photographs of mine doing rounds( πŸ˜‰ ) are taken at studio. So, I have no clue how I remember. Nobody spoke about my drawing in air in the dark, seriously, now I’ve began wondering how I remember them

          – Now that Nancy doubts me being a member of MENSA, I plan to start one πŸ˜›

          And yeah Nancy, J for judicious, and as it has been used to refer you- also added jocous, jovial, jocund…;)

      • Nancy said

        Check ur spam…. my comment has gone missing again ;-/

        I have no idea why it is doing this!!

  12. J said

    Love your memory of the day before school. My earliest memory was when I was 3 and I used to go to a playschool within the colony (a Railway colony) and one day I invited the teacher home and brought her back home with me and our maid much to my mother’s surprise. I remember walking home holding her hand.

    Thanks so much J and welcome to my blog! πŸ™‚ Wow, you brought your teacher home?? I once got real worried because my parents brought my teacher home!! πŸ˜€

  13. sri said

    I squeezed my eyes shut and thought about the earliest memory i have. Crying after an nightmare, sleeping on my dad’s shoulders. My dad’s crying when grandfather died – thats the first time I saw him crying and very hard. Gardening with dad and grandma, lunch bag which my mom use to bring to school. nothing as special as that, it was made out of brown palstic wire ( crosha nots? ) and some white balls. The lunch smelled good, tasted delicious. Got to ask her what she fed me those days LOL πŸ™‚

    Wow … what a lovely set of early memories! I had a special connection with a red flask that my mother used to send Maltova in. And to this day, the flask is still around – touch wood and looking at it reminds me of the smell of Maltova! πŸ™‚

  14. Hmmm quite thoughtful. Its always the same with parents. If they do it, it is fine but when we do the same, its mischief and blah blah! Ha haa..

    I am reminded of my carefree, stubborn, free will childhood when I had ventured in to everything adventurous that I liked despite of my elders’ restrictions.

    Those were the days !

    Welcome to my blog Ekta! Yeah, I agree with the parents bit! πŸ™‚ Yep, some days they were! πŸ™‚

  15. I still remember the school re opening shopping in July when I use to get new uniform, bottles, tiffin and school bags amongst others.

    My duckback bag, those fancy ribbons, colorful tiffin box-pencil box etc and my bycycle:)

    Duckback bags – sigh, how I miss them! In Kochi, beginning of school year was always associated with getting wet too, because of the monsoons!! πŸ˜€

  16. le embrouille blogueur said

    Impressive …. I cannot remember what I ate for lunch … but that is because it was probably aweful….good stuff TFT … but why so soon … could you not wait till you were at least three…my parents probably did not even try till I was like five … !!

    The nursery school back in those days were only for playmates. The madness of today did not exist back then! So I have happy memories of learning cute songs to sing and sweet friends that I made including my teacher’s dog! πŸ˜€ I am sure as far as food is concerned, guys outshine gals in how far back they can remember! πŸ˜€

  17. Ha ha Ashwini… Good one. I have faint memories of my first day in kindergarten. But, I remember something even before that. Not yet joined school and I did not know A B C D. My dad was teaching my sister the spelling of the word ‘doctor’ and she wouldn’t get it. Suddenly I started in a singing tone “D O C T O R”. I knew to spell doctor even before learning ABCD.

  18. deepti said

    he he…nice one….i remember my first day at school….it was Morning Star Public School…my dada went to drop me there…..i started crying when he was leaving me there….not only crying…the resistance frm my side became so much that after a while….the teacher was pulling me frm one side and me clinging to my dad with one hand…..and crying out the highest decible levels…..:D….

  19. Neo said

    I remember the hospital window where i was born.

    Some memory you got there, man! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Welcome to my blog and hope to see more comments from you! πŸ™‚

  20. Ashwini said

    You have some memory, girl!! 2.5 years is really impressive. My oldest one is one where I get mad at my younger sister for telling tales to my mom. You arent supposed to break the sacred sisterhood oath!!
    By the way, I’ve moved all the non-photo stuff to this new location. Do stop by when you get a chance.

  21. Nancy said

    No new posts…having a good time huh πŸ˜€


    Nan, I have no idea what to write!! And yes, having a good time too! πŸ™‚

  22. Shas said

    Childhood memories are sweet. Nothing can beat the purity and innocence of those memories.

    Hi Shas, welcome to my blog! Yeah, totally agree with you … childhood memories are what gets us by in our adult years. πŸ™‚

  23. Ashita said

    Such a sweet n lovely post… made me go down memory lane :))

  24. What an awesome post! I regret that I forget things very fast. I am unable to recollect such moments. It was so good to read the comments that everyone’s written here. People have opened their hearts and added their best moments and joys here.

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