My treasure chest!

 Everyone likes to have some space and privacy for themselves. Today, children own and take pride in possessing fancy gadgets from psps, video games, ipods, iphones to ipads (uh?) and have their own rooms from the time they are born. Talking about three decades back, I had quite a different and interesting childhood experience.


When I was about 4 years old, we moved to a humble nice town called Trichy ( famous for its Rockfort Temple), in TamilNadu. At that age, all I was interested was food and play. It took me a couple of years before I even took notice of what was inside our house.  I observed that we had two rooms in our house.  One was totally occupied by my parents. The other one was supposed to be used by my sister and myself. I focused. I saw that there was a study table in the corner which my studious elder sister was using. There was a mirror which was hung much above my height and that was supposed to be the “dressing corner” for everyone. There was a cupboard that my Mom had conveniently converted into a pooja place. There was a cloth stand where all our uniforms and my Dad’s shirts hung neatly. everybody used the room for something and my sister had her nice table to keep and store her things. It struck me then, that people had conveniently forgotten me. Where was my space inside the house?

That evening, when my Dad came back from the Office, I created a racket. I cried and told him that I didn’t have any place in the house where I could sit and do something on my own. He very lovingly offered to make some place in the verandah immediately. Nope!I didn’t agree. We had our shoe rack there and also a lot of kids and aunts would be walking in there frequently. I wouldn’t have ‘privacy’, I felt. The living room and the dining area was ruled out too. I demanded some place in the room where my sister had a place. Yes, it got to be there I fretted. Dad felt that I was too small for another Study table and there was no space too. I had a small desk to do my homework anyways.

My Mom then came with a brilliant idea. She showed me a small brown suitcase and said that it was all mine and I could keep whatever I wanted inside that and spend as much time with it. It fitted very well below my sister’s table. So they didn’t have to worry about it coming in the way of everyone. She said that I could lock it and keep it if I wanted. Since I was not sure what exactly I needed, I got elated and accepted the idea immediately. When scrutinized carefully, I noticed it had a broken latch and was torn slightly in a couple of places. But the inside was good and so I didn’t complain. I had something which was only mine and I could do whatever I wanted with it! :-D.That was more important.

That was the day when I started to experience the delight of having some private space. I started filling the case with a lot of things. My collection of chocolate wrappers, story books, small prizes that I won at school, gifts and cards from my friends, my scrapbook, my stamp collection, matchbox wrappers, colour pencils, pebbles , bangle pieces etc. I would arrange and rearrange them time and again. I would count the pebbles and re-stack the books. I would keep my little trinkets inside and look at them fondly everytime. I would hide some of my crazy and secret collections of insects and butterflies. I would feel like a queen sitting in front of her treasure chest and would feel good to take important decisions on what I had to keep and what I had to trash. I decorated the suitcase with coloured ribbons and some water colour paintings. Many a time, my sister would be sitting on the chair and doing her work, while I would hide under the table with my pretty box and spend hours over it. I loved that time with myself.

Me and this lovable box were inseparable and I grew very fond of it. It became my identity. In 1978 we had heavy floods in Trichy when one of the nearby dams gave away during the monsoon. My father rushed all of us to safety and we could take only all the important stuff in the house. Alas, my favourite chest was forgotten in the melee. We were taken to a safe place and we didn’t return till about 10 days later. My Dad had got the house cleaned up of all the debris and had made arrangements to dry up the house.  I rushed to the room. I could see only the table there and no sign of my precious little treasure box. The water had ruined it and hence had to be thrown away. I started crying. My Dad hugged me and promised to get me a big table with a cupboard , just like my sister’s. Well, it did sound like a plan and I was smiling already.

But I still cherish those private moments I had with my beautifully decorated treasure chest and do remember every detail of it vividly, as I had last arranged it.


6 Responses

  1. Awww.. Such a sweet post. I remember your stamp, feather collections. God!! How I eyed them when I was young.. LOL . Now, I need to write a post on the writing desk and all the numerous things that get passed over from elder sisters.. 🙂

    • Oh yeah….my lovely feather wont believe the effort that I had put to get them…will tell you some more interesting stories..

  2. […] Jump to Comments My sister wrote this nostalgic, sweet blog post about her childhood. It makes one think how sweet kids are and be happy with their own creations, in their small world […]

  3. That was such a sweet post. Sometimes when my daughter comes and fights with me because I threw out a drawing that looks like thousands of her other drawings, I remember the time I spent notebooks full practicing my signature that doesn’t look anything like my current signtaure anyway. (and myriad other useless things that seemed so important at the time :))

  4. Hmm.. I did put comments to your blogs and it magically disappeared.

    Anyway, it was very nostalgic post. I know too well the challenges of finding a private place in a smaller house.
    Mine was that 1.5×2 feet area between our steel bed and bero in our house.

  5. I know, talk about childhood challenges…:-)

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