Jul 5, 2010

Series: This NRI Life Post:5

Note: I requested some of you to write a guest post on the topic:This NRI Life. If you are not an NRI please feel free to pick your own topic. If you are interested please feel free to contact me at nrigirl@hotmail.com I will be glad to publish your guest post in NRIGirl blog.

About the Author: My Mom Mrs. Yohapushpam Livingston has been my role model and continues to be. If I should describe her in words, I would easily pick Proverbs:31 as it aptly suits her the best. I am so blessed because I have her as my Mom!

Here Mom is recalling her childhood memories, the NRI Life of the distant past. Hope you get a glimpse of the then and now... Please give a hearty welcome to my Mom Professor. Yohapushpam Livingston!
My earliest memories of an NRI Life.
The other day I was talking to my grandchildren about my earliest memories of my life. I could remember a few incidents that happened about 60 years back when I was around 4 years old. At this time my parents were living in Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon.

I remember a night when I was sleeping beside my father and there were a few women in the house busily engaged doing some work in the next room. Sometime in the night my father told me that a baby sister was born to me. She is three years and six months younger to me.

My next memory is a woman holding my baby sister telling me that she needs the baby and going and hiding somewhere with the baby and me crying for my sister.

One day my father took me to a Sunday school picnic, left me with some little children and a teacher and I was weeping and weeping. When asked why I was crying, I did not say anything but kept on crying. When my father came and asked for the reason then only I could blurt out that I needed to go to the rest room.

I remember going shopping with my mother, going to a park with my father where I played the slider while he was reading a book, watching fireworks with my parents, playing with other kids. My parents told me that at that early age I could talk Sinhalese very well and I used to translate for them Tamil to Sinhalese and vice versa.

Another memory is my father teaching me to count from one to ten in Tamil. It so happened I could count only up to five and after that I would stuck up. After many attempts my father lost his temper and he made me to go to the backyard of the house saying I could come back inside the house only after I had learned to count till ten. I was crying and crying. My mother came out with a handful of grated coconut and asked me to be eating that and not to cry and papa will feel sorry for me sooner or later. I think that delicacy would have made me happy since even now I am fond of it.

My father was a very good man and though sometimes he was very strict with me most of the times he was very lenient towards me and he loved me so dearly. Sometimes we parents are unnecessarily strict with our children especially when it comes to their studies without considering their capability. I was only four and at that time and I was not up to his expectation and he lost his temper. The very same small girl who could not count from one to ten at that time has retired now after working as a lecturer in Mathematics in a renowned college for more than 35 years. This is how God works.

Another of my earliest memory of that country was seeing a peculiar big animal near a pond and many people just watching it and many saying that it will snatch away children and eat. I have never seen this animal again and I used to ask my parents about it and they will say some name and I had forgotten about it. When I was telling my grand children about it they were very curious to know what it was and so I surfed the net and I think it was Komodo dragon.

All these memories are before I was 5 years old since when I completed five my parents brought me here to India to put me in school and my life in Sri Lanka came to an end. My mother took care of me and my sister in our native village while my father continued to work in Sri Lanka a few more years. My father was such a loving and understanding man that he used to send to my mother the news weekly veera kesari and a few other weeklies every week by post. I was an eager reader of these weeklies. The happiest days of our life were when my father came home for a few days on leave with all the gifts of a foreign land.

Sri Lanka is our neighbour and it is a very beautiful country. Though I was only four years old when I lived there I remember the beautiful meadows and the greenery. It is a pity that there are political differences between both the countries.


NRIGirl said...

Thank you Amma! Appreciate you taking the time to share your childhood memories with us. It is quiet interesting.

Nice read about Pautima, Thatha and Chithiema. We are much blessed considering such loving & caring individuals in our lives.

SG said...

Very nice post. Loved reading it. After I finished reading I rememberd a song by Barbra Streisand titled "The Way We Were". First few lines go like this:

Light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were

A said...

Mrs Livingston,

Thanks for taking time and posting these wondeful memories. Your emotional article touched my heart. It is first time I am at loss of words to express myself to describe how much I liked reading this article.

Thank you once again.

Y L said...

I sincerely thank you all for your encouraging comments.I thought that the article was so simple that my daughter will not post it.
Again thanks and God bless you all.

Sakha said...

Dear Amma,

Beautifully written...The part about the same small girl who couldn't count up to ten becoming a lecturer later on brought tears to my eyes...you are right, we are too harsh on our children some times..Hope God forgives...

Thank you Amma...and thanks Queen

Black Walnut Pearl said...

Dear Amma, you really take me 60yrs back. Your experiences make me feel inquisitive to hear more from you. - Vanitha

Y L said...

thank you Sakha and thank you Black Pearl
God bless you both

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