When I Was Much Younger

 

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance. ~ Franklin P. Jones

 

Bar codes were a status symbol.

Back in school, some of the kids would have a parent who’d be working abroad. I used to be one of them; Father used to work for DHL in Japan and would visit us twice a year. I remember a girl named Socorro. She used to bring chocolate bars, deliciously tempting in their shiny paper wrappers. She would then gather the girls around her in the morning before class started – for she can’t wait until recess time to show off – and tell us in that very knowledgeable tone, “See these lines at the back of the wrapper? These tell you that this chocolate is bought from America.” And we would all go, “Ohhh.” It was fascinating. Often, we would get jealous. That’s when I would pester Mother to phone Father and remind him to bring chocolates home, emphasizing to stop over in America and make sure that he buys only those which have bar codes on the wrapper.

Soft drinks were a treat.

We had a rule at home: Mother would allow us the luxury of indulging in a glassful of soft drink only when there’s a special occasion, like birthdays, good grades, or being at our best behavior when visiting relatives. My sisters and I would marvel at the glass full of cola with ice cubes in them. Each one of us would sip slowly, keeping an eye on every glass, making sure others finish theirs first. Often, I would ask the youngest to give me a sip. “Let me just check if yours taste the same as mine,” I would tell her. “And?” She would later ask curiously. “It tastes just the same. You don’t have to try mine.”

We always had toy cars.

“I want my daughters to grow up like boys – strong and independent,” Father would often say. That’s why he always bought home toy cars instead of dolls. Mother disliked those cars. Much to our disappointment, she would give them away as gifts. Mother insisted that we should have books and crayons instead. “We should develop our children’s creative skills by letting them create their own toys,” she would explain to Father. So my sisters and I spent summers drawing, painting, playing teacher, and reading colorful story books.

Dolls didn’t make sense.

Father finally bought home a doll for sister #3. We were curious for it would close its eyes when laid down and would cry when a button on her back was pressed. The doll wasn’t even decently dressed – she wore a dress. Only a dress. “This is so silly, ” I thought. I somehow brainwashed sister #3 to give me her doll and participate in my game. I opened a meat shop in our bedroom and removed the doll’s arms and legs, hanged them on the window, and sold “goat meat” to my sisters. When we got tired of playing, we left to do something else. That’s when sister #3 realized what happened to her doll, and cried her heart out. That afternoon, I was grounded – no TV that day.

It wasn’t just the doll. I think I had dismantled a lot of other things as well.

Afternoons weren’t spent at home.

“If you take a nap in the afternoon, you’ll grow tall and smart,” Grandma would tell me. I didn’t really care about growing tall. It just didn’t matter. Most afternoons, she would call us to give her feet a light massage as she would doze off to sleep. That was torture. She would hear our footsteps and call us by name. So we used to remove our slippers, hold them in our hands, and would silently tiptoe out of the house to play badminton on the street.

By the way, I also did a few good and noble deeds as a young child, but I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to bore you with those.

 

 

 

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15 Responses to When I Was Much Younger

  1. aw i loved reading that, brought back some happy memories for me too!

    ~ Those were the carefree days 🙂 Welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. masood says:

    LOL!!! You are as naughty as me in the childhood :).
    Beautiful post, I like all the naughtiness you have done as a kid.

    ~ I know ALL of your childhood stories very well (I have a reliable souce 😉)

  3. Amir says:

    Haha, that was refreshing, and I’m sure very nostalgic for you 🙂 Cute stories, goat meat…hahahah..too funny.

    ~ It sure is 🙂 My sister still remembers that goat meat incident to this day.

  4. Serene says:

    I can definitely relate on this experience! When I was a child I m a party pooper, and a destroyer 🙂 I just realized this time that Im not alone 😉

    ~ You certainly aren’t alone, hehe. Of course, I never intended to destroy anything. I just wanted to see how stuff looked from the inside 😉

  5. misspecs says:

    Yeah! I didn’t get any dolls either! My childhood is surprisingly (read horrifyingly) similar to yours… that’s because i was born 10 years after my parent’s marriage so i guess they’re the same age as your parents are. 😦

    Although i will never admit as much in front of them, i think i DID grow up better because of the ‘crayons and books only’ policy!

    ~ I feel much better knowing that it wasn’t only me who didn’t get any dolls. I thought that was entirely abnormal and would somehow contribute to a psychological “irregularity” 😀 But seriously though, you are right: we did grow up better because of the “crayons and books” policy too. We “invented” our own toys and were all voracious readers 🙂

  6. Pingback: When I Was Much Younger | Tea Break

  7. Ordinary Girl says:

    I got both dolls and toy F-16’s, is that normal? 😀

    They were such cute stories. Spending a childhood with siblings must be fun 🙂

    ~ No, that’s so not normal 😉

    I love having siblings, specially now when we’re all grown ups, and have so much fun together. 🙂

  8. Nisa says:

    Hey I used to destroy dolls too when i was a kid, another thing we have in common!! LOL.
    I was the village tomboy, i used to go around in a gang with all the boys and disrupt the dolls’ wedding ceremony and make the girls cry! hehe

    ~ Haha, don’t we have just a little too much in common? 😉

    I can imagine your mischievous smile when those poor girls cried, hehe. That reminds me, I attended a doll’s wedding once. My sisters and I were from the Doll’s side, and we helped in providing dowry in the form of clothes and toy pots and pans. The wedding ceremony (cakes, biscuits, and juice) went well and we all had a grand time. The Doll went with her “groom” to the other girl’s house. Only, few days later, both girls (owners of the Doll and the groom respectively) had a fight, and we took the Doll plus dowry back from the girl who owned the “groom”. 🙂

  9. Jus says:

    You mean u were a bully of a sister when you were young?! 😛

    But wouldn’t it be HEAVEN to nap in the afternoon? I had SCHOOL in the afternoon all thru age 7 – 11!

    ~ I never intended to bully my sisters (and even if I ask them today, they still think I am the best elder sister in the world). I was just being…well, an elder sister 😉

    You must’ve been sleepy at school, specially after lunch. We had always attended schools in the morning, and lunch was enough rest for us. By 2 pm, we were all fresh and ready to play badminton outside 🙂

  10. BholiBhali says:

    One of the most cutest posts i have come across Nadia sis 😀 I just love reading/listening 2 “sharartein” kids do when kids 😛 hehe..

    Loved reading every word, but OmG that “doll-goat-meat” was 2 much 😛 how naughty! And poor sister3 😛

    and yea hmm btw I got lots of barbies and dolls…(ahm!not 2make u jealous thou hehe) but i had fixed time when i cud play with them… :rolling eyes: …

    Thanx 4 sharing such cute post sis 😀

    ~ Thanks, Bholi Bhali!

    Now that I think back, yeah that “meat shop” game was too much, but all of us had great fun playing it. 🙂

    You’re lucky to have so many dolls (and Barbies at that!). Regarding fixed times, yeah, parents enjoy setting limits 😉

  11. Shan says:

    haaahaahha,,,, good old days,,,,

    I still remember breaking my first battery toy car into pieces,,, just in anticipation of finding some thing magical in there,,,,,,,, but no luck,,,,,, although had a wonderful beaten-up session,,,,, lolz…….kher i never regretted doing that.

    Wonderful post yaar, memory refresher to say the least ,,, hehehe

    ~ So true! Those battery-operated-toys seem so magical. Nothing beats the feeling of opening them up and getting a peek inside. Of course, anticipate the punishment that follows 😀

  12. Jus says:

    Nadia,

    Can i request a story about your stint in Manila? Bcos im sooo intruge how you can speak tagalog FLUENTLY. hehe

    Thanks!
    Jus

    ~ That would be too boring, Jus 😉

    I went to Manila in 1996, when my Father decided to open a halal food restaurant there. I spent the next 10 years there, earning two degrees and working for a couple of years. During my fifth year there, sister #2 joined me and Father. She too went to a university there. That’s why we can speak Tagalog so fluently 🙂

  13. mubi says:

    aww..the childhood memories are golden. loved urs and while reading the doll one i remembered how my brother did something similar to me, only that i was with him when shaving off the hair of my doll LOL
    @ the bar code..:D makes sense from america 😛
    @ sipping cokes, does ur taste the same hehehe

    ~ Shaving off your doll’s hair? Why, oh, why haven’t I thought of that before! 🙂

  14. Wakas Mir says:

    Hehe.. this was too cute sis.. the juice sipping wala and aww the poor doll.. way to go!

    ~ Hehe, thanks 🙂 How come you never mentioned any shararat of yours?

  15. Hina says:

    You made my day! =D I really thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Especially your anecdotes about the soft drinks and dolls! Hilarious! =)

    ~ Thank you so much, Hina! Wouldn’t you share your anecdotes? 😉

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