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I asked her to open her lowers and I opened mine as I was curious about the female body; I wanted to know what was inside there. I asked her to fondle my thing while I did the same to her. I was implementing what Narayan had taught me before leaving our home. I was in class third, and she was our new servant’s daughter. And that was the first mistake of my life.

I had become sexually aware very early on in my childhood and I went on to do a few more mistakes in my life of twenty-four years for which I couldn’t forgive myself for years. But, I was spiritually inclined since ever. I remember, I wrote my first poem which was about charity while I was in class two or three. 

I used to ask my father innocently to let me celebrate festive occasions like Diwali but he didn’t allow me to play with other kids during Diwali, Holi, or otherwise as well. He used to say-‘abhi padhlo fir to jeevan bhar kheloge.’ 

He used to make me daily go and buy his cigarette, gutka, and surti (all tobacco products), be it any time of day or night. At night, sometimes while I was out for this, stray dogs chased me and I used to get frightened. Thankfully later I learned to deal with them, thanks to his instructions alone on how to deal with them.

I never learned to play sports and for that, I don’t blame anybody. In Haridwar I was too young to be included seriously by neighborhood children for a cricket match and, later in Dehradun, situations became such that neither I got the opportunity to play, nor I showed the passion to learn to properly play any sport. I should have learned, though sports remained a tertiary-order thing for me.

Instead, I was more into books, and science and made my way of playing. I used to develop stories about my favorite cartoon serials and used to enact them. I used to imagine progress happening in the story and used to make ‘Dush! Dush! Dush!’ sounds like imagining a Beyblade or ninja or any other cartoon character fighting. I would pass hours and hours doing this. The first thing in the afternoon, coming back from school, my evening/night time-pass schedule was always rotating around this activity.

I never fully left this habit, though when I was in graduation I decided that this is too childish and I should stop that, which eventually I did but I still like to imagine my favorite characters and the powers they have.

Father never celebrated our birthdays or took us out for some recreation like to the cinema or shopping; he denied it by turning around with some form of indirect excuse which is his personality trait. ‘Kya karoge jakar?’, ‘Kya rakha hai is sab me’, etc. He would be ready to discuss the idea of going out for hours and ask us questions about what we want to do, and where we want to go, making us hopeful, but ultimately denying the idea.

He never purchased anything for us. Forget about buying anything for his child, or wife, he reluctantly gave very limited monthly monetary amounts for household expenditures to his wife so much so, that Ma had to ask for extra money every month from her parents and this kept happening for years to come. Sometime Nana-Nani would send money and sometimes Mama.

Yes, once he brought a bunch of ten-twenty suits for mother. It cost him a cumulative total price of two hundred rupees. Yes! The whole bunch cost just two hundred rupees. While mummy was surprised by the gift, she soon realized that all suits were torn and had holes in them. They were used and discarded clothes that he found in a sale and bought and were meant to be worn by poor labor-class women. Shamelessly, he laughed it out and told their price himself. I do not know why mummy wanted to bear with him. 

I remember I once drew a birthday card for him which he just saw and smiled but didn’t say much and put it aside if I remember correctly. He used to beat me for not being able to solve Maths problems, beat me for protecting Ma from his beating while I was growing I was never beaten for naughtiness, but for no fault of mine at least in this lifetime. His weapon of choice to hit me was a hockey stick or another wooden stick. Later in life, an intense animosity used to develop in me whenever he came in my front with that hockey in hand.

He was indifferent when I got ill; I used to have severe ENT (ear-nose-throat) issues and he couldn’t care any lesser while Ma kept worrying about my health. 

Late one night, he took me on a drive and he was talking to some woman and I wondered who he was talking to. That later became my first clue of what was going on.  

Through these posts, I am baring my heart out, because I want to talk openly about my pain, for I know this place values my vulnerability and struggles just as much as it celebrates my joys and success.

I want to show all my flaws to the world. I don’t want to hide, or pretend anything at all. Hate me, love me, judge me, or embrace me, all I know is I’m a human full of virtues and flaws like everybody else.

Those were still the best years of my life. I loved my life in Haridwar and consider it the best years of my life.

I miss my alma mater DPS Haridwar to this day and still get dream about it each year. I miss the friends I made who forgot me later, the teachers who considered me their favorite, the grand dance events I performed in, my love for Science, and Scholastic pamphlets that came each year to our schools through which we ordered books.

As I stated, I have been spiritually driven since ever, and I bought my first Scholastic book in the class second which is a book with a blue cover,  with a picture of Lord Hanuman flying over a village. It is about the tales of Lord Hanuman and in it are included tales from his childhood days as Maruti as well. I have always loved Him deeply since childhood. Later in classes three and four I went on to read the Ramayana and learned the Hanuman Chalisa for the love I had and have for him.

But those golden years lasted only three years and soon, we shifted from Haridwar to Dehradun, and my beautiful years of childhood ended. I cried a lot when I left school. I missed my friends who eventually had forgotten me. I still get intense nostalgia for the house there in which we lived, and I had no idea that bad days hadn’t started yet.