As she walked out of the bath room, just a towel adored her body. She called for her sisters to help her with the clothes and in return she found none in the vicinity. Confused and slightly agitated she started running around the house. Not a soul in the house. The door was left open and she saw few of her friends running across the streets towards the other side of the road. Instantly, she felt like running along with them. For her nature, a total tomboy, it didn’t matter in which state of presence she was in.
Wasting no time, she was seen running behind her male friends – who were in their obvious comfort zone of wearing just shorts and nothing else. A bunch full of half naked running across the road, crossing the slushy fields, saw their own joy in the cloudy afternoon. As she caught up with one of her friends she was excited to know that they were heading to a construction site – a small bridge in the making. It was replacing the old wooden bridge which held memories of her daily walk to the school. The sentiments of the wooden bridge overcast her excitement of the new construction.
As she approached the stream, she found her sisters standing in awe - witnessing the very reason for her loss of breath. However, the excitement didn’t last for more than few minutes when her sisters spotted her.
“What the hell do you think you are doing here – wearing just a towel?”
It was time for her to flee from the scene before she could get caught and be thrashed. Back in the same path – she started running like never before.
Half way through in her rush back home, she fell over the fences which stood invisible to her eyes. Barb wire justified their presence in piercing her both the thighs with their sturdy nature. No pain! She resumed her sprinting to reach her safe zone – a secret place she sought to get away from her angry sisters.
Climbing the ladder to her secret place proved a little difficult that moment and she could feel that something was wrong. Finally when she saw the master work by the barb wires – she almost realized it would take a long time to heal. The white fluid ran down like tears from the wound and then followed by the blood. It took a good 3 months for the wound to completely heal before she could to get back to her normalcy.
Her act of semi nudity and rush of the hour proved to be expensive when the wound marks remained permanently sketched on both her thighs.
Age : 6.
Place : Udupi.
Bridge : Kalsanka
Year : 1958
Her attention was caught to sight a group of monkeys on the house rooftop. They were on the routine stroll to search for food. She rested her eyes on the tiny baby which was aimlessly following its mother. That moment, she knew she wanted to have that baby by her arms.
Plan in action. One of her mother’s stories reminded her of different ways to catch monkeys. She quickly ran through her options. A ladder by the wall, the roof was 20 feet high and there were 3 monkeys while the baby was now adventuring away from its mother. She climbed carefully while her sisters and mother watched her in shock. However they didn’t attempt to shout as they knew of the trouble she would face with the monkeys. She approached casually towards the monkeys while they were blissfully enjoying the plantain.
She sat on the roof – at a safe distance from monkeys and let her hair loose. This is one act which monkeys cannot resist to be away from. Unexplainable, but it’s the truth that this is one of oldest methods to catch monkeys. While she sat with her thick black hair shining in the mid afternoon, the baby made its move to approach the irresistible. It took some time to feel at ease before it climbed onto her shoulder and start searching for lice. It failed to notice its mother moving away in search of more food and leaving the vicinity.
After a while, it was trapped in her hands and was in panic to realize its captivity. She carefully took the baby down the ladder and gave it to her mother who was awe struck. Her mother, with prior experience of handling pets took no time to ease the baby and fed it from then on.
Months passed by and a special bond grew between her mother and the baby monkey which went on to become the best part of her life. Many a time the baby monkey became angry if any of the sisters approached their mother.
Learning the fact that the baby monkey was very attached to her mother, she left no chance to tease the baby by hugging her mother. One such instance, while the baby grew older to realize its anger, she was bitten on her back and reminding her not to mess around with the monkey.
Another mark went on to remain permanent on her body. This time it was her back with 4 deep mark of monkey’s anger.
Age : 18.
Place : Udupi.
Monkey name : Thimmi
Year : 1970
She woke up late that morning and was forced to sit in the music class taken by her father – the tabla maestro who took some time off to teach music to the interested souls. She always believed that she didn’t fit in there. Time and again she felt that God was unjust in placing her spirits in a girl’s body. While she sat in the class with no life, she heard her male friends shout and play “gilli danda” just outside the house. She dreaded every moment of learning the music when she could not be part of her gang thrashing their opponents in the game.
That morning she wanted to sneak out of the class and be a little more adventurous. An auto rickshaw was parked outside the house and she felt the sudden urge to ride the 3 wheeler. She realized that the vehicle belonged to one of the students and managed to convince him to lend the vehicle for a short ride. In the pretext of going to the rest room, she ran away from her father’s vision and finally had the auto at her disposal.
The vehicle roared at the 1st kick and she was there, holding the handle, with no prior experience of riding any vehicle. All she was banking on was the fearless confidence which made her stand out amongst her gang.
The 3 wheeler moved across the road, vaguely following a zig zag pattern. As the moments passed she felt at ease conquering the beast.
And then it happened.
She saw a passerby on the road and didn’t know how to stop the vehicle. Adding to her luck, the auto rolled effortlessly in the downward path. It was time to act now and how, she had no clue. But she followed her instincts which took a dramatic turn as the vehicle approached the stunned passerby. She had no choice left open and moved the handle quickly towards her left and went head on with an old tree. Auto toppled over the tree roots and she flew out of it onto the roads to get another art on her body. This time it was her arms. Realizing the passerby was safe and ignoring the pain she ran away to her secret zone – to hide from her father.
The auto lay in tears as the petrol spilled out of its tank and lost its glamour with few dents on its body.
Age : 21
Place : Udupi.
Auto make : unknown
Year : 1973
Since her childhood one aspect she couldn’t get away from was the cinemas – first day first show or any show. She was a quite a cinema-goer.
One of the late evenings she convinced her sister-in-law(sil) to join her for the last show of the day. By this time of the scene, she was married with 2 kids – girl of 2yrs and a boy of 1 yr old. She dressed her 2 kids, packed food for the babies and then along with her sil went off to the theatre.
In middle of the movie, her sil felt a hand moving on her back. To her shock it was one of those coming from the back seat. Instantly, sil told her of the situation and she calmly grabbed the hands in act and twisted the fingers until the scream became more obvious than the cinema dialogues. She then turned around, gave her baby boy to her sil and caught the rogue by his collar and removed her chappal and thrashed him to the floor.
As the guy got up to run away from the scene, she chased him to the door until the security guard caught the culprit and handed him over to the cops.
Fortunately this time she managed not to hurt herself, but the rogue would remember through his lifetime – not to mess around with the ladies.
Age : 29
Place : Udupi.
Movie : Babru Vahana
Year : 1981
New years evening. A date with her son, who for the 1st time since the last 16 years gave up his evenings spent with his friends on the New Years. Many instances remembered from her yester years. She spoke of her crazier days since the childhood, her memories from her tomboyish nature. She spoke of lot of things which invoked her past well lived and her happiness in seeing her life as is now.
Her son filled her beer mug and she raised a toast for her kid’s good health, who, now have grown up to handle their own life.
New Years eve was something she always wanted to spend with her kids, since they matured from their school days. Something her daughter always gifted her every New Years, until she was married off to begin a new life. And her son was always complaining of how dumb the idea was. This year was special to her, as her desire to spend the eve with her son was in action.
Rest of the evening went on talking. Her son spoke of his crushes - all lived in the past and she then teased him around of being known among the ladies. He spoke of the ongoing part of his presence now. They spent the eve with a whole lot of new meaning to each other’s life and a realization of how well the bond secures one another.
She relaxed herself on her newly gifted recliner. A peaceful smile lingered on her face while her eyes rested on the 3 red roses given by her date for the evening.
Age : 55
Place : Chennai.
Beer : King Fisher Premium
Year : 2007 and beginning of 2008
As the old wise man says “There is always a past to the present. A past filled with surprises, memories and life lived to its best. And then there are perfect moments when the past is sought after - to replenish the memories”