My first memory

Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa

It was my first birthday. I had very beautiful hair; long, dense, black and curly. The neighbourhood maidens used to come and play with me; they also had nice hair. I hadn’t yet weaned off. I did not know what a cake was. I was not completely familiar with the concept of mirrors as well.

The first birthday in certain socities is marked with some kind of a sacrifice. I was born in a family where the hair on the head are sufficient to appease the concerned angel. I did not know how much I loved my hair. I did not imagine that offering them appeased certain aspect of divinity. I was not two with divinity to worry at all of appeasing it in the first place.

I was taken to a Sai Baba temple, where I would not comply with the barber at all. I was making fuss all around; running and crying and babbling. Finally, I was made to sit in the lap of the stone idol of Sai Baba, and it was cool and pleasant. I pissed on it; I was calm after that. The barber cut my hair, and I did not know it. Just like I did not know that I was pissing on Sai Baba’s statue.

Afternoon, I was playing with a statue of Natraj. I dropped it on the floor, or it slipped out of my grip. It broke into two or three pieces. I cried hard.

Later that evening after the mundan there was a party at my house. The cake was waiting to be cut. When it was brought before me, I did not wait for a knife or any bourgeois mannerisms to be followed; I thrashed it with my hands. Some rushed to save the rest of the cake from being mauled. Everyone had a good laugh. I saw them laugh. 

There was a mirror in my house in my grandmother’s room. I had seen myself in the mirror without any acknowledgement. When the cake had been ‘cut’ and served, and all kinds of blessings were showered upon me, I was transferred to my grandmother’s room. I helped myself to the mirror.

I saw a bald face in the mirror, and I laughed outrageously at that funny creature. For a while, I continued to laugh. Then, at some moment, it dawned upon me that the image in the mirror belonged to me. It was my face. It was my head. The hair had been cut. My hair.

I cried harder than I cried for that Natraj statue. I don’t think I’ve completely recovered. Those who live behind the mirror suffer it too; the I-me-my games are too torturous to bear for long. Mirrors can still make me cry, and that certainly helps.


~ by Bombadil on July 18, 2009.

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