The funny thing about me is that I cannot tell if my memories really happened, or if I just fantasized about them. And I don’t have many from before my first grade. They all seem to have evaporated, or stolen (from my love of reading young adult fiction and fantasy), or lost, or simply unimportant and pushed down by dozens of other memories. But, one day, as I was cleaning my bookshelf, I saw my very tattered dairy from 2007. It looked like it travelled though Tartarus, as it was struggling to be in one piece. Nevertheless, I opened it to find my not-so-neat handwriting scribbled across the pages. First, they were in pencil, and then they graduated to pen. But my handwriting didn’t. The things that were written in pen were poems- Poems that I liked in school, like The Owl and the Pussy and Spring Morning. Then there were immature poems written by me. I didn’t dare read them, for the fear of heart failure. I moved on, and there were a few pictures in it. There were pictures of me and my class on Photo Day, from UKG, class 2, class 5 and class 9. Then I found another photo which brought me memories like they happened yesterday.
The photo above is the one. It was shot in Sammy’s Dreamland, which unfortunately closed down after just weeks of us visiting it. The school had taken us there when I was in class 3. The one in the pink and white is my sister (we studied together till the end of her class 10 and I still continued), the woman in the saree is my favourite teacher, who taught me English and Math (and it’s because of her that my English has so much of standard), the girl next to her, the tall one, is her daughter and the one in the yellow is my sister’s classmate. The five little girls are me and my class mates. The fair, tall one next to my teacher was the class topper (and presently a nerd), the one next to my sister’s friend was my “best friend”, in middle school and high school, but back then was my arch enemy (and we’re back to square one), the face in the gap between my “best friend” and the other girl is the one girl I despised the most. Then the next girl, the tall, unfriendly looking one was a popular classmate, and yes, the tiny, little girl with the mushroom hair cut and an untidy uniform is me.
I don’t remember going to the place or what exactly happened there. I remember almost drowning in the kiddie pool when someone pulled me back up (or was that in WonderLa?). But what I do remember is the few days before going there. The people from the theme park had come for reasons I still don’t know. I was too busy protecting my box.
The box. My box. It was a prized possession when I was in primary school. It was pink in color (obviously), with a divider to keep my pencils on top, and my other stationery at the bottom. It had an oval depression in the centre of the lid, and it had the photo of Tweety, with a shiny, silver background, that changed color with light. I was a proud and pampered child who didn’t like the company of other kids often. I used to drive away my friends and then talk to Tweety about how bad they were. It’s true. And I used to adjust the light and kept changing the colors thinking he was talking to me. I was one messed up child.
So, when the people from Sammy’s Dreamland came to lecture us about how great the rides were, blah blah blah, I noticed they were accompanied by a kangaroo. Well, not an actual kangaroo, but my “fantasized kiddie brain” didn’t think so. I was sitting in the first bench (as I was a naughty kid), staring at the kangaroo, thinking how it got here. My box was on the desk, and my attention diverted to the people droning on about the theme park.
Then a movement caught my eye. The kangaroo tried stealing my box! I snatched it up and kept it on my lap for some time. The people still droned on.
Then, I kept my box back on the desk, thinking that the kangaroo might have learned a lesson by now. I was now intently listening to the people (as my teacher was pointedly looked at everyone who weren’t listening), and I ignored the kangaroo. He made a grab for my box the second time! And he had succeeded. He contently kept the box in his pouch and made sure I listened to his owners. I tried reaching his pouch, but he was just too far away.
Dejected and scared (of losing my one and only precious friend), I sat quietly until the end of the lecture. Then everyone started leaving. Including the kangaroo! I kept looking at him, not daring to call out, not daring to run after him, until, when he was halfway through leaving my class room, he turned around and came back to me and gave me my box back! I also got a pat on my head 😀
This is probably the only thing I remember about the photo, though I have plenty other memories of that year. And, I’m not sure how much of this is true.