Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I asked my aunt once, my mentor-aunt, the reason for being left here with my grandparents. She said that my parents worked so they couldn't take care of me. She said it was a blessing in disguise for me as I had so many people here to love me. "Really?" I asked. She hugged me tight. My other aunt Shweta, was listening to all this. She was the youngest of the lot, just ten years elder to me. She said that my other aunt, Vidya was lying. She said the truth is that my parents wanted freedom to roam around. They had seen kodaikkanal, Nepal and a few other places without me. And if I were with them, they wouldn't be able to do so. I told her that I don't care to see all these places as long as I had my ammama and thatha. But her words stayed in my mind. I went to sleep knowing that nobody, no one other than my grandparents actually loved me, and may be my aunt Vidya. But I wasn't sure.
My Grandparents were excellent story-tellers. I had started listening to stories since the age of two. My grandmother was educated till standard eight, so she would read to me patiently from the English Picture-story books that were given to me by my mother. I loved "The fox and the crow" as I liked looking at the picture of the fox carrying bread in its mouth after having fooled the crow. Not that I approved of it, as the moral of the story stated that One should beware of people who praise, but that bread looked very tempting. I could empathise with the fox who snatched the bread. Apart from my granparents my mother would always make it a point to tell me stories whenever we met. I liked listening to the same stories again and again. I had heard 'Cindrella', 'Aladdin' and 'Alibaba and the forty Thieves' umptene times. I never got bored of stories. My grandma and grandpa too frequently heard requests for the stories that they knew from me. So I loved studying English as there were so many stories in the text book and I never had to struggle for answers as I would read those stories many times, as in whenever I was asked to study that was always my preferred subject.

On the other hand I didn't like maths. I would always avoid it. There was so much to memorize in that. We had to learn tables till ten but my grandpa insisted that i should know tables till sixteen, so i had to learn them. I was considered abysmal in math by everyone in the house. My uncle had declared that, so that was the truth. I didn't care much, but that led me to fear math. I started hating it so much that once I put my bench-mate in trouble. Our school math teacher was checking our math books. I saw her book and saw many signs in it '+', '-' etc. She was talking to someone else when I took her book and started scribbling numbers at random as answers to the problems given. She suddenly saw me and was annoyed, I said I was just generally solving further. She was happy as it saved her a lot of work. When the teacher called her for checking, she shouted at her for not solving the sums properly. But she never sneaked on me. I apologised for my actions. But I realised that I would have done it in my book too, unfortunately I wasn't carrying mine. I was genuinely sorry that I had scribbled in hers, but I did want to scribble numbers. I just wanted them to leave me alone. I hated numbers around me so I was actually scribbling in anger. I wanted those numbers to know that I didn't like them as I was humiliated in my house because of them. I was too naive then, to point a finger at my teacher, my uncle Ramakrishnan.

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