Little Chika

Yesterday, I received a call from my sister with a curious question. In her usual abrupt manner where customary greeting have no room, she fired:

Hey, what the heck did you do as a kid to pass time?
Her oldest son Eshaan who is now nine has been battling boredom lately despite of all the DVDs, Video Games, 24-hr cartoon channels, etc..  Looking for a solution he turned to his mom for what she did as a kid. My sister was a social butterfly who loved to sleep. So when she wasn’t hanging out with her girl friends, she was on the phone with her girl friends. Or she was sleeping.
Since my sister was not much help, the curious kid naturally inquired about his more prudent aunt, me.
Being half a decade older my sister barely kept up with my childish musings. Heck, the question caught me off guard too.  It’s been so long since I have thought about these things, but for the sake of my nephew, I sat down with pen and paper and made a list.
·         Read mystery books by Enid Blyton.
·         Played with coloring books and puzzle books.
·         Pretended to have a live cooking show in the kitchen using my mom’s utensils. I clearly remember wearing an apron and talking out loud to my imaginary audience.
·         Tried to invent a new language. I literally made up alphabets, numbers and words, and wrote them in a diary weekly. I wish I had kept a copy.
·         Drew Disney characters; goofy being my favorite.
·         Read Hindi comic books.
·         Played office with my Dad’s stationary and papers.
·         Played teacher often gathering younger kids from the neighboorhood to play students.
·         Played monopoly with my neighbor (for hours on end).
·         Helped the maid. I loved to clean and organize even as a kid.
·         Got into my sister’s things when she was away. Her room was always such a treasure hunt. And she had so many cool things like CDs and make up.
·         Rode my bike with friends.
·         Kept a scrap book of cut-outs of pretty pictures and funny cartoons from all of my Dad’s magazines. If he didn’t get to them before I did, they were sure to have holes in them.
·         Made grandma tell me stories from her religious books
·         Played outside with friends when the day cooled.
And now for some baby pictures to go with the story.
From left: sister Deepal, cousin Veeral, me
From left: cousin Janu and me.

Wwhat are some of the things you remember? Do you have any suggestions for my nephew?

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, NC. She writes about everything from travel, food, books, and family. Her current project includes a series of children's books to teach Hindi. She is a native Tar Heel who has also lived in Washington DC and Chicago.

5 thoughts on “Little Chika

  1. I did all sorts of things that were perfectly normal then but probably would be dangerous/frowned upon these days. We lived at the edge of a new development so there were days my friends and I would take our bikes and go exploring through construction sites, building our own forts, playing pirates and cops and robbers, etc, completely unreachable by the rest of my family until I rode my bike home at dusk. I also read, alot, when it was hot outside. And don't underestimate the power of a simple sprinkler or slip and slide.

    Ahh, that was fun to think about. Thanks for the memories!

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  2. Humm, what did I do as a child to pass time?! All I have to say is I grew up with two boys, and if you know or have heard the kinda things boys (who think they know it all) do, then let your imagination fill in the blanks ;)

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  3. Enid Blyton was my hero; every book I ever got of hers I flew threw in hours and reread them just because they were amazing stories.

    I used to pretend I was a VJ on MTV India who would get letters from viewers with dedications of songs for me to play.

    I messed around with Mansi a lot, by pretending to sprain my leg after falling down the stairs and making her bring me all sorts of random things.

    My cousins and I would take skipping ropes lying around and tie them up around the dining table and pretend they were lasers. We, of course, were spies who had to go retrieve an object without hurting ourselves.

    We would also play outside with syringes that our Doctor uncle would give us. We'd fill them up with water and spray each other.

    I used to go outside and take leaves and a stick and pretend to be a teacher/student and wrote on the leaves with the stick.

    Or take the comics section of the newspaper and wet my thumb and try to get “tattoos” by pressing my thumb over the picture.

    I want to be Eeshan's age again.

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  4. Priya, wow! Such great ideas!

    …and speaking of syringes, I played with expired prescription pills a lot. My uncles did logistics for drug companies and somehow there were always a lot of pills lying around the house. Can't believe my parents let me play with them. I was never given instructions on not to ingest them.

    Oh and the comic tattoos. I did not know you could do that. I am going to try it this weekend. lol.

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