One day, when I’m old and grey – wait, I think that’s already happening – ok, one day, when I’m saggy and wrinkled …. son of a bitch!! Let’s try this again – one day, when I’m older, (phew! nailed it!) – I’m going to have a really hard time remembering my childhood – so I’m going to use this blog as a sort of version of an external hard drive. Think… the Notebook… with less Ryan-Gosling-wet-white-shirt-rain-kissing (though if he insists, I’m game) – and more…. parental-nightmare-sibling-torture-reminiscing! Though, as a random digression, I think it would be a great idea to write a Notebook type scenario that’s completely false – because if I’m going to have Alzheimer’s and I had to read my life story, why wouldn’t I want to spice it up a little?!! Why would I want to remember for posterity all the times I yelled at my children, or my thrilling adventures in potty training – wouldn’t it be fantastic instead to read about the time when I was a CIA spy or the lead singer of a rock band!
Anyway…., a few years ago, my sister told me that she used to tell her children stories of my childhood and all the things I did to drive my parents’ crazy – I was, in essence, the protagonist anti-hero of a cautionary tale about all the bad things that could happen to kids if they ignored parental guidance!
So there was the tale of Samhita moushi [Note: Indians have names for every relation and some of them are fine and some aren’t but you have to get over it Harry kaka!!] and the giant wave, and Samhita moushi and the bowl of salt, and Samhita moushi and the shark attack, and Samhita moushi vs. the dresser…. and the list is long and not very flattering to me!
So I want to start with Samhita moushi and Waterloo station:
When I was 6 years old my family spent a year in England because my dad was buying helicopters at Westland – I want to mention that he was buying them for the Indian Navy and not personal use because my dad is not a James Bond villain! Also, he wasn’t really involved in the cash transaction – he was checking them out to ensure that the Navy wasn’t buying lemons! Ok, enough back story – if you haven’t already noticed, I tend to digress into literary cul-de-sacs with increasing frequency as I am aging!
Anyway…. so it was our first day in London and it was 1979 and I was mesmerized by all the people and the sights of enormous Bentley cabs and the hoardings of theater shows and movies. And my dad dropped my mom, sister, and me off at Waterloo station with strict instructions to me to not wander off – did he know me or what. Well I didn’t wander off but about 5 min after my dad left I turned around to tell my mom about some exciting sight – but she wasn’t there. I was 6 years old, in a new country, and alone in one of the worlds busiest railway station!
Well, intrepid traveler that I am – and not one to let a perfectly fine moment to sob hysterically go to waste – I started sobbing hysterically. A very nice old lady flagged down a porter who then promptly deposited me on his enormous luggage cart and shuttled me to the Lost and Found. Then a nice official looking man with a uniform took my name – and I told him my whole name – all 20 syllables of it – which he then announced over the PA system in a thick British accent. He lifted me up onto a shelf with the lost luggage and there I stayed for 20 min until my mom came for me. Both of us were crying and after the hugging and kissing had stopped – the shouting and scolding began! There may have been some light smacking of posteriors and admonishments to behave with threats of dire repercussions!
Now that I’m a mom though, I have to say that one of the most scary moments is that split second when you lose track of your child in a public place – so I do appreciate the hell that I put my mom through! So on my 41st birthday, I want to say – sorry Aai and Baba (see above note for strange Indian names for relatives) – thanks for not leaving me on Waterloo station with all the dusty lost luggage!
[Note: after reading this blog my husband said – it’s like a Curious George story!]