Reflections : From then to now
A psychology student’s questions, connections and learnings.
Childhood is considered to be an amazing part of one’s life. They are influenced by the school you went to, or the best friends you made. I have a vague memory of the early days from my childhood. Most of the memories were retrieved from the pictures stored safely by Mum. As I look at these pictures, I identify the consistent change in my life. I notice how my identity formed and evolved depending on the people I spent my time with. Learning through imitation to learning through wisdom from an older person, I started connecting the dots to people who influenced me to grow into who I am today. I arrived at 5 pictures from my childhood that can best illustrate this evolution.
As a kid, I observed my father walk around the house, talking on his phone all day. He was an early bird. It was mandatory for him to wake up and attend calls every morning for work. At that point, I was fascinated by the telephone and dad talking seriously to his subordinates. So I imitated him. Every time he got a call, I’d take my toy telephone and walk around with him. I wanted to be like him. He’d take a glass of whisky and I’d insist on drinking milk in my favorite tumbler with him. I tried to be like him in every way. The photo above shows me imitating my dad, as he holds the phone and I hold the fake one.
As time passed, I celebrated my first birthday. Too many people, too many presents. It was nothing my parents planned. People just turned up. And I was too excited looking at too many people around. This picture shows the happiness I expressed looking at so many people come and pull my cheeks and give me presents (I love presents!). The white furry teddy bear I am holding in this photo had a red heart you could press. Every
time you pressed it, the words
“I love you” were heard from the teddy. I loved the toy. I went around with that toy till it stopped saying those words.
I started to experience fear by the time I was 3. I was scared of loneliness, darkness, insects, birds, animals, people, etc. When I was a baby, I didn’t seem to be scared of anything so much so that I could walk around in darkness. But that was when I didn’t know what the world was made of. I only saw the good around me. As I started growing up, I realized the realities of the world. And It scared me. I couldn’t do anything alone. Not only did I realize, but my family started over protecting me. This only made me more curious as to why I am being so protected. Even after knowing the Cheetah in this picture is fake, I was trembling standing next to it. I was scared it might come to life and eat me. With age, I did start to understand about the world and my fears, but my perceptions of the world was developing. So fear in me grew comparatively.
When it came to Animals, I found the ones that were portrayed as man slaughtering animals, very scary. The other domestic animals, I loved. We had pet rabbits for sometime when I was 4 years old. And I loved Rabbits. Relating to my favourite cartoon ‘The Bugs Bunny’, I adored them because they are gullible. Also, cartoons played an important role during that phase of a kid’s life in understanding the good and bad. And after watching Cartoons like ‘Bugs Bunny’ and ‘Scooby Doo’, I liked the animals that were portrayed through those characters. Dogs, Rabbits, Panda, Polar Bears, etc. were animals I was never scared of, in fact I was very sensitive towards them. I was scared of hurting animals physically and ensured they were protected and safe. Of course, the Rabbits pooped all over our house so we returned them (which made me sad for days), but having Rabbits at home was one way of creating a relationship with animals and understanding them. Which is why when I grew up, I volunteered at different programmes relating to animals, Like EFI’s Zoo volunteering programme and CUPA’s Adoption center. My love for animals grew gradually from the time those Rabbits came home.
And finally my grandmother, who has been a very important person in my life. She was the most tolerant, most kind hearted woman I’ve known my entire life. She was funny too. Her bed time stories were a must for me or I’d never fall asleep. She made the best food too.
As I saw her throughout my childhood, I saw how she was nice and kind with everyone she met. She was an ideal woman. And people loved her for who she was. And that’s one of the things I have adapted : Help people around me. Even if you don’t know them, help them. And even during her final days, she was a little cranky, disturbed and lost, but she never gave anyone any trouble. She lost her speech and she was back to behaving like a 5 year old kid mentally. I remember how we reversed roles from when I was a kid to now her being a kid, even though her physical age was 72. She’d peep through the door and watch me during my Dance class, she’d have a big smile on her face. When I looked at her, she’d nod her head and smile again.. that moment is still vivid in my memory. She taught me about life through her stories, actions, behaviour towards people or things. Even when she was ill and lost her speech, she managed to teach me the essence of life.
I am a 19-year old psychology student curating experiences and observations on Medium. I am interested in people, their stories and lives. Psychology Education has answered many questions that I pondered over as a child and I aim to study more to help people around me searching for their answers.