How many of you have had a childhood hobby of collecting things? Each stage in our life we love to collect different things. During my childhood, I used to collect broken pieces of colourful glass bangles, mayilpeeli (peacock feather), and manjaadikkuru (a red-colored seed). Manjadi (Adenanthera pavonina) seeds were used in several games (the pallankuzhi is shown above) at that time and even for learning basic mathematics. My brother used to collect stamps and coins then. I am sure no one’s childhood is complete without collecting at least something!
As years passed those childhood pastimes became things of the past. My tastes and likings also changed. During my school days, I happened to see a Malayalam movie named Oppol meaning ‘elder sister’. It is the story of a teenaged girl and her younger brother (who we later learn is her son born out of wedlock). The child actor who played the brother’s role was a very cute boy around 4 or 5 years old. I liked him so much that I had a collection of his pictures from newspapers and cinema posters.
Later, when I was doing my post-graduate studies in REC Calicut (now NIT Kozhikode), I loved the drawing of the ‘Amul’ butter girl so much that I had a collection of her pictures cut out from the cardboard outer pack! Now when I think of it, maybe it was a ‘child-like’ act from a post-graduate student! Here are the Amul girl and I from that time!
Around the same time, the Kuwait war took place and I got ‘introduced’ to Saddam Hussein through newspaper and television news. It was a love-at-first-sight kind of feeling! Though I used to joke about this with my friends, secretly I started admiring his looks! I also collected a few of his photos from the newspaper 🙂
Years passed by. I got married immediately after the completion of my postgraduate studies. When I became pregnant, everyone said that it is going to be a girl though I badly wanted a boy. The ‘general public’ (elderly relatives and neighbours) predicted that it would certainly be a girl by observing the size of my baby bump and my general behavior and activity levels during that time.
I had no other option but to believe it. So I searched only for girls’ names for the baby. The D-day came, and the labour room doctor announced: ‘It’s a boy!’ Luckily there were no other women giving birth in the labour room then. Else the ‘elderly gang’ might have argued that the baby got swapped!
So then I started searching for boys’ names. My father came up with names starting with the first letter of my husband’s and my names (‘S’ and ‘M’ respectively). I was not happy with those names mainly because in college the practical exams are conducted in alphabetical order of the students’ names.
During my B Tech days, I have had to endure high-adrenaline, agonizing waits outside the concrete labs and hydraulics labs, and survey practicals, waiting for my turn. At that time itself, I had decided that to avoid my children facing the same kind of stress/torture I would give them names starting with ‘A’ or, worst case, ‘B’! I referred to a baby-name book presented to me by my husband, and after a lot of dilly-dallying finalized the name, Arvind (meaning ‘blue lotus’).
Days and months passed very fast. My son became 3 years. I was pregnant a second time and I was in my mother’s home from the 6th month onward as my husband was out of the country during that time. As I had lots of free time then, I used to take photos of my son and do a lot of casual reading. In an old film magazine, I happened to see the child actor whom I liked during my school days. I could not believe my eyes at the remarkable resemblance he had with my son! Moreover, his name was also Arvind!We were blessed with a girl, and this time I was ready with the name simply by using the same name I had originally selected (Devaki) for the first child when I had assumed it was a girl! She started going to the playschool nearby when she was just 2 years old. She loved to accompany her brother there. And I loved to get her ready for the school with different frocks and hairstyles, my favorite being a half pony tied up. Imagine my surprise, when her playschool teacher told me one day that she resembles the Amul butter girl!At this point, I am pretty sure you all must be waiting to hear about the look-alike of Saddam Hussein. Yes, you guessed it right, it is my husband!!! I am sharing a few photos in case you think this is a cock-and-bull story 🙂PS: My son is a mechanical engineer by profession; however his passion is acting. My daughter loves all Amul products especially butter and chocolates. Luckily, my husband and Saddam Hussein have only one thing in common: the first letter of the first name!
Last but not least: During my childhood, my brother and I used to fight with each other to read the famous weekly political satirical cartoon series ‘Bobanum Moliyum’ (Boban and Molly are the lovable child characters in it). Now when I look back, I can see a resemblance between Molly and me 🙂 ‘Real-life Saddam’ and I 😉Moral of the story: When you like/want something, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve it somehow!
PPS: I used to collect images of Minnie Mouse also. Fortunately, we have only 2 kids 😉
Happy empty-nesting 🙂