The Little Things

Graphic by Aarathi K G

“What’s the favorite time of your life?”, my friend had asked me out of the blue one day. A question like that really makes you wonder about your life and all the memories you’ve lived through in a very different way. All of a sudden, it’s as if your life is a movie and every moment you’ve ever lived now has double takes of emotions and drama. When I thought of this question with respect to my life, I could remember all the tiny achievements that I’d had when I was a little kid, like the fashion show I participated in dressed as a Malayali girl and how my mother made me learn a Malayalam phrase by heart so that I would get extra points. Or the time when I was just eight and played Tum Hi Ho for a music competition. I still remember the reaction of the crowd, everyone was confused as to why a third grader was playing a heartbreak song first thing in the morning.

Then I thought I’d keep my answer short and simple and tag my infancy as the favorite time of my life because who wouldn’t like to just crawl, watch television, get carried around, and cry at the smallest of discomfort. But in all honesty, I don’t really remember anything about how I felt when I was a baby. Maybe I was miserable because I had to eat food that was mashed to look like water every day, or maybe I hated that I had to cry to convey anything to my parents. Upon pondering over the question for a while longer, I finally realized which time of my life is my favorite. Surprisingly, it was actually a very small pocket of time in my life.

I specifically remember, it was the time when I was going into the fourth grade from the third. At that point in time I was not doing good in academics — B’s and C’s were a very common thing to see in my report card. It was so bad that my mother thought that I was suffering from short-term memory loss because she would teach me the answer to a question and in the next second, I would be a clean slate. Now you might think that if she wasn’t an academically bright student then she might at least be a part of the ”popular gang” but I am sorry to break it down for you, “popular” was a very far away term. I was barely able to keep the friends that I had made in the previous grades, because when I was younger, grades equaled friends, and my grades had fallen into the depths of the unknown.

While it might seem like it was a sad time in a little child’s life, there was a wee little ritual that I did every day after coming home from school which, as peculiar, silly, or funny as it sounds, meant the world to me then.

Everyday I would come back from school and get ready to play. Not the kind where I would put on my shorts and play basketball but the kind where I would grab my mother’s dupatta (long scarf) and wrap it around my body. Then I was no more just a little 8 year old girl, I was a responsible mother of all my soft toys. I would then make up this whole narrative in my head about how my “children” get kidnapped and I save them by defeating the bad guy portrayed by my brother. Coincidentally, the very famous song Desi Girl had just come out and I couldn’t help feeling like the most desi girl in town in my DIY sari. I would always end the fight scene by singing along to the song. I would then go to bed with all my soft toys, lest any of them felt left out. This happened everyday for a whole year until I changed schools and all of a sudden thought that it was time to grow up. 

I’m more than glad that it ended because now it has become a memory that I cherish. Even now when I’m upset, I cuddle with all of my soft toys because it reminds me of all the simple things that once brought me immense happiness.

Now that I think of my friend’s question again, I realize that your favorites don’t always have to be something extravagant. At times, it’s the smallest and simplest things you did in your life that account for your favorite time.

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