Tuesday, April 15, 2008


My first memory is almost the memory of a memory, it is so distant, like an image at the wrong end of the telescope.
It is just a faint image of me sitting on a battered, lumpy sofa covered in what-was-once-pink cloth. I think I was wearing a pink dress (not too sure about this, though - it seems too much pink to be true) and was around four-five years old. The elders of the family were sitting at the dining table, eating lunch. My dadu (grandad) invariably had a bowl of milk and rice at the end of his meals. While my ma was putting sugar in his bowl of milk-and-rice she came across a big lump of sugar which was coloured pink. She gave it to me.
In those days, we would buy sugar from the government-owned ration shops. There was no awareness of the dangers of artificial food colouring. I remember being extremely excited by this jewel-like pink lump of sugar and sucking on it blissfully, my tongue soon sharing the sugary pink colour.
What is your earliest memory?


Anonymous said...

Eh, this is fragmented but I must have been a year old. I saw an orb like park lamp, a lit in early evening, surrounded by the greenness of trees, grass and a black, metal fence. That's it.

Interesting piece. I've never left the United States, so this makes me hungry for world travel.

mm said...

My earliest memory - not a very pleasant one.
It was our admission day for kindergarten at school which means I was 3+. All I remember is my mother was not too happy with my performance and I was going home all in tears. I do not recollect whether I had kept quiet - or whether I had answered things incorrectly.

lopamudra said...

My most memorable memory is when I was about 4 yrs old.We relocated to Siliguri as my Bapi was taking up a new job there.I terribly missed my dadu,dida,mamas & mashis.One night when the power was out we went up to the terrace.It was a full moon night.I asked my Ma whether everybody in Kharagpur could see the moon too!When she said 'yes' I was amazed & imagined that everybody back home is also staring at the moon.Though we could not see each other we could look at the same moon....this 'finding' amazed me.The memory is so powerful that whenever I look at the full moon I think of that night...everytime!!

Paul Bernard said...

My earliest memories are confusing, hazy. Are they real memories or constructs of my imagination?
I'm sure it's real. I was running, down the hall in my grandma's flat. It was long and in an L-shape. So children can hide round the corner. There's a mirror at one end, so you can see yourself coming. I'm playing, with my two cousins. We're all wearing cowboy outfits, Mexican style ones - red and black, like a spaghetti western. It's all so wonderful.
I've seen a photo of me dressed up that day, I know that. But the memory - it must be real. Mustn't it?

chambilkethakur said...

now that's what i call real intelligent blog theme.
my earliest memory: i can't say which one is earlies. I have to ask my mom about chronology, but i guess I can remember me on graddad's lap eating melon, as if it was greatest thing ever. But I guess from that time onwards melon is my fav fruit.

tina said...

my earliest memory? hmmm. if fetuses have memories (and if i didn't dream this up :) ) my earliest memory seems to be of the insides of my mother's belly, and me knocking on the uterine wall with my fist.

my memories as a baby (these i'm sure are real :) ) are all mixed up, so i can't really figure out which of them came first. maybe the one of me waking up all hot and irritated during my baptism. or maybe the one of me shivering from the cold water while my brother bathed me in a red plastic tub. my family doesn't believe that i really remember these, but somehow they seem more real than what i've been told. :)

Neelakshi said...

Not sure if I can call this one my earliest..but its definitely one of my earliest memories and one which I am very fond of. Its one of those snippets which is discussed at all family gatherings and laughed at. The amazing thing of such stories are that they are repeatedly discussed at almost all such gatherings but still everyone listen to them very intently and savour the discussions. And even when its a stale story so to say but still there's an air of freshness to it.
Anyways..so this is about the time when I had just started to go to school and there was this school bus I had to take to get picked from and dropped at home. The pick up and drop stop was a little away from home. My younger brother(must've been around 2 then) used to accompany my mother everyday for this activity.
So on a Sunday when there was no school ...there was no bus too. My brother's curiosity got the better of him and he decided to go and find out what happened to the bus. He managed to step out of the house and went on his search all by himself. You can obviously guess what might have followed after that at home...all elders of the family running around helter -skelter looking for the little one. My mother and Yau(paternal granny) began sobbing like kids when they could not find him at all obvious places in and around the house. My father decided to go to the police station and he was just about to step out of the house.. when we saw this little fellow walking confidently towards the house. My mother just leaped upto him and hugged him..everyone heaved a sigh of relief. When asked where he was ..completely unaware of the mayhem that he had caused at home he answered as if very matter-of-factly "Oh .. I went to find out why Tai's(thats what he addresses me ..means elder sister) bus did not come to pick her up today!"

Anonymous said...

As i tried to think one of my first memory, there were too many of them coming to my mind and it is really getting difficult to identify which one happened first.. but here is a piece from my childhood which definitely was my first attempt at "speaking english" though definitely not my 'first memory'- and was definitely real.. I was there with all my maternal cousins at my "mamarbari" (maternal uncle's house), where i was the youngest.. This was our yearly ritual for summers for many years till we grew up... For evening our 'mama' wanted to treat us to soft drinks (soda) and wanted to ask our preferences from a list of 2-3 drinks(limca, thumsup etc..).. after everyone gave their options i was the one left to give mine..

My mama asked me again - "Toton, what do you want? thumsup, gold spot or limca?"
and promptly i replied with a shrug "What's the matter.." -

everyone started laughing and kept doing so for several days and then every year when we got together.. It took me several years to realise what was funny - till i realised that i perhaps wanted to say "It doesn't matter (anything is fine)".. But again it does not matter (What's the matter";-)) - i wanted to respond in English and i did!!!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks a lot for sharing all these wonderful memories. I find it completely absorbing reading. Light-in-darkness, school, moon,cowboy games, melons, shivering, searching for brother, speaking English...so many different memories, so many interesting stories. Keep writing in.

Random me said...

My earilest memory is lying in my bed, my Dad was reading me a bedtime story, though this may be several memories merged together as he read me a story every night, he was reading a poem called the Lady of Shalott, he reads peoms beautifully and i was entranced by the story, this is quite possibly where my lifelong love of poetry started.