The first things in my life
I can’t recollect the moment when I had seen the light of the day, when I had uttered “Ma”, when I had taken the first step to walk, when I had drawn the first sketch on the wall, when I had learnt A for Apple, when I had read the first poem “Twinkle Twinkle”, when I had got the first school bag, when…. Some of the first things which happen at the budding phase of our lives and leave an indelible impact remain with us as pleasant memories – ineffaceable and unforgettable. I am sharing with you the intimate moments that some of the first things in my life gifted to me and that I cherish with all my heart.
The first friend: I can’t remember who were my friends in KG I and KG II. So, Sangeeta Bannerjee was my first friend in Class 1 at a primary school in Burdwan Town. We used to sit side by side on the first bench every day. I missed her a lot after I got admitted to a high school in Class 3. The moments of friendship I had with her faded away from my memory over the years. It is rightly said that we live in a small world. The waves of time brought her back after 11 years when I was standing outside the Political Science classroom in the 2nd year of B.A. at Vivekananda College, she recognized me. I was over the moon to see my first friend again.
The first story book: It was “The Stories of a Stupid Fox” in Bengali. Mom bought me this book from a stall on the platform of the Burdwan Railway Station. We (maternal grandmother, maternal uncles and I) had gone to see her off when she was about to leave for Jaipur with dad. I was in Class 2. The book was full of interesting caricatures of animals. Mom said to me, “Read this book and don’t miss me”. I was sitting on the platform and leafing through the book when the train left and she went out of sight.
The first letter: My first letter was the letter to mom when I was in Class 3. I had written a few lines in Bengali on a postcard with my tender hand, expressing my tender care and feelings for her. Only 15 paisa was the cost of one postcard in those days. I still remember what I had written in the first letter to her. “Mom…How are you? I am fine. I got 50 out of 50 in Mathematics but only 24 in English. Please, don’t be angry. I will do better in the final exam. How is dad? Is he still the same? Don’t worry! He will certainly change. Take care! Bye.”
The first trip to seaside: It was my first trip to Puri with the youngest maternal uncle and his family when I was only six years old. I had not seen the sea before the trip but in some pictures. Still, I would imagine the sea; I would feel it like a sensation; I would hear the waves calling me. I went to the beach alone as soon as we lodged in a beachside hotel after arrival in Puri. Mama was very angry with me since I neither informed him nor took his permission. Sea never fails to entice me, enchant me, seduce me….
The first bicycle: I got the first bicycle in Class 9. I was so happy as if I got a pair of wings to fly. It was like my flight to a new world of freedom and confidence. The cycle had been a constant companion of mine in the sun, in the rains and in cold for 8 long years. It was a witness to my wanderings through the lanes and alleys of Burdwan Town. I still remember the day when I went out riding the new cycle and created a chaos at Burra Bazar. It was a windy day and the front part of my thick, long, shampooed hair was falling over my eyes. The moment I lifted my left hand off the handle to remove the hair from over the eyes, I lost the balance and collided with whoever or whatever was just before me. I heard some people shout, “Catch him and cut his hair off”. I said sorry to them and walked back home with the cycle.
The first love: It is rightly said, “We don’t fall in love. Love happens itself”. I had experienced, felt and lived it in my teens. The friendship with her in the arts coaching center grew into love. We were batch mates and friends in Class 8. I proposed her in Class 9. Though her face was innocent, the smile was killing. A simple, pretty girl with long hair! To say in Keats’ words, her beauty was a joy forever! In the coaching center, girls used to sit on one side of the desk and the boys on the other side. I made sure to sit in front of her, on the opposite side. I touched her feet with my feet under the desk throughout the class. Those were the days of “Pehla Nasha, Pehla Ghuma”. A most pleasant piece of reminiscence in my life!
The first porn film: This first ever experience is unforgettable because of the fear and apprehension I had undergone that day. I along with one of my roommates in the hostel of Bharat Sebashram Sangha had stepped out of the rules to watch the porn film in Burdwan Cinema Hall. It was a noon show. I was brainy enough to carry an umbrella. I held it over my head and tilted the front part over my face while standing outside the cinema hall. My heart was beating rapidly and irregularly at the thought of getting noticed and caught by some acquaintance. Since then, I have not trodden this path for the second time.
The first Bengali art film: Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali (released in 2003) was my introduction to a new world; the world of intellect, art, storytelling, thoughtfulness, creativity and my inner self. I went to catch the movie because Aishwarya Rai played the protagonist Binodini, and the movie was adapted from Rabindranath Tagore’s novel. I came out of the theatre, with the sensitive portrayal of the protagonist, the aesthetic presentation, the soulful background music, the melodious Purano sei diner katha, and the story of a young lonely widow’s suppressed sexuality lingering on my mind. Rituparno Ghosh became an all-time favorite director of mine.
The first ride together: The first girl to sit on my bicycle and have a ride with me was Sutonuka, one of my friends in Enakshi Di’s coaching, in the 3rd year of college. She was a pretty, bubbly, easy-going, smiling girl. She was a bright student too. We were very free and frank with each other. She used to ride her scooty on the way to and back from the coaching. One day she came by bus because the scooty was down. After the coaching was over, she requested me to give her a lift on my bicycle and drop her at the nearest bus stop. It was our first ride together. Moreover, I had recited my poem, Aparinato Shilpa (The Incomplete Art), with her for the first time during a function in the coaching. She lent her voice to the female character Manasi in the poem.
The first achievement: I was a mediocre student. I was not good at English till Class 8. It was improved a little in the School Final. I worked harder to improve my English writing skill in the Higher Secondary. I luckily got honors in English Literature though I was not as mature in English as a student taking up this discipline is expected to be. Dr. Suman Jana, Professor of English at Burdwan Vivekananda College, advised me to choose any discipline other than English Literature because he thought that I would not do well in it. I took it up as a challenge and stood second in the class in the First Part of B.A. Examination.
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