Life was strangely happy when I was small and hopelessly stupid! Not that I had acknowledged the fact then; but now, as I stride towards understanding and wisdom, I realize the school days were the best days of my life and more so because I was living in my own private bubble,oblivious to the menace the world is engaged in! I was naive, with nothing on my mind except school and friends, books and Barbie, my favourite TV shows and of course singing! Singing has always been my passion! I was the lead singer and a really passionate one at school for six straight years and highly appreciated by all my teachers and school mates! 🙂
In my primary age, I remember playing with my Barbie, spending hours combing her hair! When I wanted some action, I would play “Police and Robbers” with my next door neighbours and when we wanted some thrill, we’d go cycling or skating! We also shot each other with water guns! Life was so happy and content when I was silly and mindless!
School was a giant aspect of my life. It was like some sacred place to me while my teachers were my heroes, my inspiration, and my guiding light! I particularly remember, with great fondness, Mrs Rehman and Ms Mariam who were my English teachers in Grade Three. I had a wonderful time with them. They were fine teachers! I remember Mrs Rehman taught us Robin Crusoe with such enthusiasm and fervour that every chapter in that book fascinated me.
As time passed, I studied many different books, was taught by many different teachers and all of them left me with many valuable lessons, and pleasant memories to cherish!
When I was small, we had a mini-library at home where we had books about dinosaurs and fossils, volcanoes, forests etc. We had encyclopedias and we had books about sea-life! Of all these books,I felt that English books were dearest to me! More than dinosaurs,I loved reading the huge, and vibrant picture books which gave me the definitions of many different words and explained how those words were pronounced!
When my uncle observed how much I loved books, he introduced me to the magnetic world of Fairy tales. I read Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty And The Beast, The Wild Swans to name a few.
Though books were my companions, my school mates also shaped my world view. Their words and opinions were divine to me! We grew up together, eating Snickers bars, potato chips, sandwiches,and drinking Pepsi at the school canteen. Those were the days when, having a gullible mind or maybe not having one at all, I’d just worship my friends and every word they said left a mark on my soul!
By the time I entered my teens, my raging hormones and ludicrously crazy ideas were at their peak! I remember all those lovely promises I and my friends had made of never abandoning each other! My friends would often visit me and sitting together, we would write long, and sentimental letters to each other about how important our friendship was! And we would talk endlessly about our ambitions, hopes and dreams though we had not the foggiest idea where our life would take us. Yet, we thought it vital to discuss such matters. Maybe, that was our way of growing up!
Our conversations would also revolve around the famous American TV shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and The Bold And The Beautiful and magazines such as Young Times, Star Dust and U. We also spent hours debating about boys and sex and at that vivacious yet unholy discussion, there was spontaneous laughter and uncontrollable giggles!
The afternoons were weary but still provided pleasure in the form of phone-chats with friends, school assignments and TV shows! After I returned home from school, I would be exhausted,but not so much and often, a plate heaped with hot dogs and fries, a can of Pepsi and an endless telephone conversation with friends filled my afternoons. When that was over, it was time for school assignments and TV. In fact, TV and school assignments I juggled together! I remember the afternoon shows I watched included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Wonder Years, Aladdin series etc. I and my siblings were usually glued to the TV, cuddled up on the soft and comfortable sofas, delighting in the entertainment the idiot box brought to us.
By the time I entered high school, mobile phones and internet were all the rage! I and my friends had accounts on Hotmail and MSN messenger and for hours we would amuse ourselves chatting and browsing the web. But I couldn’t make most of the internet connection as we are six brothers and sisters and we had one PC which we shared. So, sometimes, it was frustrating when my brother would be online and I’d wait for him to leave the system alone!
But internet and mobile phones were not the only attractions of high school. As far as I was concerned,high school was one gigantic challenge! Nobody wanted to know the simpleton that I was! All the girls there were hip and fashion trends had to be followed. Painted nails,glosses, eyeliner and mascara were the order of the day and going out on dates was common! I felt like a fish out of water at school! Nevertheless, life was sweet! Even when it felt confusing, it still felt sweet!
In my freshmen year, I made friends with a really nice girl who became my best friend but she ditched me the following year when she fell in love with some guy and that was when my annoyance started peaking because she had absolutely nothing left to talk about except how disgustingly happy her boyfriend had made her! I buried myself in studies and my after-school Poetry and Elocution classes.
Life passed in a blur! Parties came and picnics went but they failed to captivate my interest! I found comfort in MTV. I would indulge in songs by Amber, Bryan Adams, Backstreet Boys, Richard Marx and MLTR. Spice Girls were my favourite too! I particularly went crazy listening to Amber’s “This is your night!”
Those young and vulnerable years were simply the best! It was the time when I was getting to know myself. Everyday was a learning experience! Everything was cute! Every thought, every feeling and emotion was pure and tender! Amidst all the pressures of studies, and the sweet and mysterious temptations, I found satisfaction! I was happy! The world seemed reliable and convincing! My heart didn’t know fright, my eyes didn’t know tears, my mind didn’t know turmoil!
Life went on and I realized I was a quiet soul, and all that partying and dancing weren’t for me! I found bliss in the quiet ride to school on the bright and shiny mornings. I found joy watching the winter rain, sitting in my school bus! I would write my journal or send my writing to the U magazine! I would watch The X Files and fall in love with David Duchovny over and over again! I found standing in the balcony and watching the world go by riveting. I enjoyed long walks on the corniche at night! I found my passion for singing growing stronger each day, everyday!
Amidst all such activities, I realized why I wasn’t much into extra-curricular activities at school. Because they never appealed to me! All I wanted was some quiet time to think, to fantasize, to reflect, and to discover myself!
In those foolish and frivolous days, in that rosy phase, my life felt like it was charmed! Though it felt the same everyday, yet it held an incredible appeal! Each morning brought sunshine and excitement and each night was special! When I went to bed, the daytime scenes and events would rewind in my mind or I would fantasize about romancing with the handsome hunks I admired on TV. In that dizzy spin of fantasies, I often drifted to sleep with a smile on my face! Had I known one day I would wake up to witness the horrible world of today, I’d have continued sleeping and dreaming! Because, in all honesty, my life then was like a long, exquisite dream and writing this blog is like reliving every moment! It’s a magical experience! It’s surreal!
Written By Shumila Malik