This picture was taken when I was probably about one year old and I have no memory of it, but I thought it would give you an idea of what I looked like when I was a toddler.
I was born in August 1965 in Hyderabad where my Mum went for her confinement – since both sets of grandparents lived there. I was baptized a week later and given my name which was apparently planned a long while before by my Dad. He had to wait to give it to me because my two brothers were older than me! A few days later, we went back to Pune, where my Dad was posted and he set off for the Indo-Pak War. Mum bravely managed the three of us alone – choosing to stay there and not with our grandparents.
After Dad got back, he was posted to Hyderabad and we lived with his parents. It was a big house and some of his many siblings lived there too. Apparently, when Dad’s posting came through to Meerut in 1968 and we could join him, I went around excitedly telling everyone that I was going to Meerut. We travelled in a special train meant only for his battalion and from what my parents and brothers tell me, they had loads of fun. Dad was commanding that Battalion and many of the young officers were not married and apparently spent the journey amusing us all. Sadly, I have no memory of this!
When we did arrive in Meerut, Mum said that I burst out crying, saying I wanted to go to Meerut. I’m not sure what I imagined it would be. When she told me that we were there already, I told her I wanted to go home….where my grandparents and others were! Confused kid, huh?
My earliest memory is of one morning in Meerut where I woke up to find that I was the only one left at home – my parents and brothers had gone for some hang-gliding show….not exactly sure of that. I was well taken care of by one of Dad’s orderlies though and I remember that I had my breakfast and some of his as well! Funnily enough I don’t remember being upset about being left behind. Self-sufficient?
My next memory is not such a pleasant one. It was Holi, the festival of colours and the doorbell rang – my parents didn’t answer it immediately. I then remember several young officers from my Dad’s battalion peering through the window, their faces painted. It was the scariest sight I had seen. They then came in and must have put colour on my Dad. My parents got busy entertaining them and didn’t realize that I was hiding under the bed. For several years after that, I would get a fever in anticipation of the Holi festival. Thankfully, my parents made the connection quite early and shielded me by going to someone else’s house for Holi – where they knew no one would come by to throw colours. Sensitive child?
I could go on with my crazy memories but I have to stop now
Do you know what happened on the day you were born? What is your earliest memory?