seemingly unimportant..

Why do some memories, seemingly unimportant, linger longer in our minds than many others?
I have had a uniquely singular and poignant memory of my otherwise happy childhood. I used to attend this prep school (Beehive Nursery School, Allenganj, Allahabad) and unlike other children, I so much looked forward to going to school every morning, probably because I found the place fascinating; the walls decorated with posters of sickle-shaped blue moon and the smiling yellow sun caught my fancy so easily. I vividly remember the small school compound, but more particularly its black gate, spring loaded to assist its closing. My brother used to climb it and swing along; I hated him for not allowing me to do so. A long, curved corridor with red mosaic and thick black marble strips running along its sides, led to the classroom. My grandma used to walk me to the school, and on those seldom occasions when my brother used to come (daadi’s paining knee working in my favour), I remember how I cajoled him into buying me a ‘goli’ on our way back; it was a plan I worked on all day!
One day, our teacher announced that she had an airplane and we were to have a play-break! Our group of 8-10 overjoyed infants was led out to the corridor. Each of us eagerly awaited our chance to pull back at the wheels and see the plane zoom ahead. It was to be my first tryst with speed! When my turn came, I could not believe the moment and somehow took an extra long second looking at the toy in amazement. The child next in line was so irritated that he picked the toy himself, after which the next boy claimed his chance. I missed out completely! And the teacher, in the naïve assumption that the children will be mannered enough to play fairly, was chatting far away. This was as heart wrenching to the little child that I was, as it was unfair.
I really don’t know why it dented my childhood psyche as markedly as it did. No discrimination that I have ever faced in life comes even close to being this poignant (and the silent, submissive child that I was, I did not panic or shriek or fight or complain; I was just shocked) In retrospect, I feel I should’ve told my mom when she asked me that evening why I was feeling down. It’s a funny memory to look back upon.
I’m sure I have taken this lesson in child psychology completely – nothing hurts a child more than a differential treatment meted out to it with respect to a fellow child and that a child’s emotions are everything to care for. I wouldn’t have mind God to have taught it less harshly though.


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