`What was your childhood like?' my friend Nani asked me
out of the blue. I did not reply immediately. What was my
childhood like? A picture of a wooden house in poor surroundings came to my
mind. Also, I heard in my mind the sound of children's laughter and my mother
calling us to dinner.
When I was born, my father was a clerk at the
neighborhood post office. We lived in an old wooden house in a poor section of
town. My mother stayed at home to look after my brother and me. Money was
scarce. We lived from hand to mouth. After
my younger sister was born, things got more difficult. Often, our meals
consisted of only homegrown vegetables and plain rice. Our clothes were
hand-me-downs from friends and relatives.
When we had to go anywhere, we walked or took the bus because we did not have a
However, I do not remember being unhappy during my childhood. Sure, my family
did not have many of the luxuries that others had. But my siblings and I did not
need expensive toys to enjoy our time together. Even a branch from a tree could
give us hours of fun. Best of all, our parents always had time for us. Mother
helped us with our homework. Father played with us and told us stories. My
favorite memory is of the tales Father told us about his school days and his old
school friends. He would mimic the people he described and we would be rolling
on the floor with laughter. He was the best story teller in the world.
When I was twelve years old, my father got a better job in a big company.
Life became better for us. We moved to a much bigger brick house. Father bought
a car and we could travel on holidays. Now my siblings and I have become busier
with our school life and we no longer spend as much time together as we did when
we were little children. But the happy memories of our childhood days in the old
wooden house keep our bond with one another strong. Father's story-telling
sessions are a treat on special occasions like the New Year or someone's
birthday. During those times, I feel as if I am back in my childhood home.
Now, back to my friend's question. My childhood days were happy days filled
with love and laughter. My favorite memory of that part of my life is my
father's story-telling sessions. It brought our family together and strengthened
our bond with one another.