Oldest Memory

by admin Mar 22, 2006 2 Comments

Filed under: Stories

grade one class photo
Once in a while I do an exercise to see how far back I can remember, and I have always ended up with the same memory, and I wonder if that could be my oldest memory?

It was back in April, 1981, I was in first grade. At that time we lived in Eranakulam, and I was going to St. Theresa’s School. I remember it was my birthday, and I was wearing new clothes rather than the regular school uniform. Now, I don’t remember exactly when, but at some point during class, one of kids puked, and by random selection, the class teacher picked me and two other students to go to the school yard, and bring back sand to cover up the vomit on the classroom floor.

Now, this made me very concerned about the new clothes I was wearing, and so at first I tried asking the teacher if she would pick someone else to go get the sand, because it was my birthday, and I did not want to dirty my new clothes. But, the teacher was not the kind to give in, and she was very adamant that I go do what I was asked to do.

This did not go very well with me, and on the way to the school yard, I made a plan with the other two kids on how we were going to perform the task. The plan went something like this—I would scoop up the sand from the school yard, and hand it to the other two kids, and they would have to go back and forth to the classroom, till we had enough sand to cover the messy vomit.

grade one class photo

I don’t remember how I convinced the other two kids to go with my plan, but they did, and we worked like a production line to complete the task. In the end I was happy I saved my new clothes from getting dirty. However, when we got back to class, there was no standing ovation, but a very mad teacher. Since I did not bring any sand back, she thought I did not do any work, and so I was disciplined.

I don’t remember how I was disciplined, but I do remember my mom coming to school the next day, and shouting at the class teacher. Soon after I was taken out of that school and put in a new school, and I ended up having to repeat first grade.

Every time I think of that memory, I wonder how my life would have turned out, if it weren’t for the incidents in my oldest memory? Because everything else, up to this point in time, is due to the Karma of those actions.

So, that’s my oldest memory, what’s yours?


  • Amit

    Mar 22, 2006 | 9:09 pm

    I have many but I’m not sure if I remember which one is the earliest. I think the earliest one was from when I was about 2 years old. We used to have a large house and we owned a launderette which was adjacent to the house.

    Since my mum had to look after the launderette and me, she would, on occasion leave me alone in the house while she would tend to duties in the launderette.

    I vividly remember on one occasion, getting up to my usual mischeif and exploring the house for what goodies I could find. I remember that I managed to climb upto one of the cupboards in the living room and I found a really thick pair of glasses and i remember trying them on and running around with them on pretending to be someone smart.

    Not an amazing memory but just one of thos things that has stuck with me! 🙂

  • the little endian

    Mar 31, 2006 | 11:27 pm

    Haha, nice one Amit. Very cute.

    I for one, have fond memories of trekking the himalayas with my dad, and even before that the trip to Badrinaath when I was 5, that photo on Laxman Jhula in Rishikesh, and those times spent in the silent snowfall the very first time in my life when I was about 12.

    Then there are memories from school and friends. The time when our English teacher disciplined me and a friend to go and stand outside the class, and Sr. Meena the principle, doing the rounds found us, and disciplined us back into class! Then there was the time when a friend in the neighbor hood who never got along well with me picked a fight, and instead of fighting I debated him on the strength of words. I remember him crying. There are memories of us friends going out at night to catch fireflies over a canal nearby, put them in bottles and watch them light up a room, thinking back now, that was very cruel. The times when I climbed up the tallest Jamun trees to collect loads of jamuns for everyone in the neighborhood, then sitting underneath the same tree and spreading salt over the tart berries before devouring them.

    The best one is more recent when I was in second year of engineering school. A friend and me planned to teach this obnoxious landlord living next to us a lesson. He had been very mean and stern to several of our friends who rented what was essentially his garage or outhouse. He had a big bungalow and an Alfonso mango tree in his yard that he protected like a baby. He would sleep on a cot underneath it during Mango season, just to make sure crooks didnt steal his prized mangoes. We waited till the night got chilli forcing him to go back to sleep inside the house, then climbed over his fence. Alfonso trees tend to be short and wide with lots of branches low and heavily burdened with delicious mangoes. We brought a folding chair along and stood up the chair and cut out the mangoes one by one with a pair of scissors. We probably cut about 80-100 mangoes (the tree had many more). It was one the most satisfying experiences. We also decided to not stay the night over in our usual place – the house neighboring this landlords bungalow. We instead camped at a friends place quite far away. I remember distributing mangoes in my family, giving some away to neighbors of theirs and telling the story in detail each time. I also remember driving past the obnoxious landlords house the next day and seeing the landlord talking to a cop about his stolen Alfonso mangoes!!! It was hilarious, and evil – but very satisfying.
    We could have sold the mangoes for a pretty good price but we didnt.

    Perhaps the oldest memory though is from 1st grade (I was probably 5 yrs old). I remember getting out of my first row desk in the middle of class, walking up to the teacher and giving her a kiss on her cheek. That will stay with me forever.

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