Right Left Right

It is Easter time!

While the world is celebrating the resurrection of the Saviour I cannot help but reminisce the hullabaloo of a celebration that Easter used to be during school days at my mountainous home-town, the bitter-sweet days that were. Colourful Easter eggs and candies would magically mushroom in the several bakeries across the town. Hymns could be heard while the freshness of spring coloured the world in myriad shades, bright and beautiful, adding to the festivity. Spring showers woke up the erstwhile slumbering valley. Sweet pea shrubs would shed their pink, white and purple petals, and delicate leathery pods would appear in their places. The plum tree in our front yard would be the envy and target of little kids shooting at the unripe plums with their catapults irking my grandmother who raising a storm would chase them away with her thunderous roars!

Easter also meant a much needed holiday from school; savouring every bit spent away from school I would read Enid Blyton in the solitary backyard and watch purple-yellow pansies sway and pink-indigo fuchsias dance merrily in the spring gale while bright golden-orange marigolds attracted bees! It was a blessing to be away from school  to reduce the memory of a debacle that Sports’ Day used to be at school, just before every Easter holiday.

I am horrible and clumsiness personified when it comes to any form of sports! I did try my hands and legs at every possible and permissible sports, making quite the fool out of myself! I just could not, and cannot still, coordinate my eyes, my hands, my legs when it came to catching a cricket ball, kicking a football, or snapping at the badminton shuttlecock. Growing up in a cricket loving nation, a soccer loving region, a school that boasted of three playgrounds, and whose soccer team had an entire wall dedicated to their wins, made me the butt of funny-to-everyone-and-vicious-to-me jokes. I was the target of the Physical Education teachers, dreading the periods and the wrath of the teachers in the PE classes. I was clumsy when it came to marching and my pathetic march could shame Mr. Bean’s dance moves! Yet school made it mandatory for the hop, skip, jump, catch, throw! Not that I abhor outdoors. On the contrary I love long walks, I prefer running, and I run with all my might each morning; but throw a ball at me and it will land with a thud while my hands would react just after they miss their target!

The annual sports’ day at school meant a month of severe competition between the houses and high school mandated participation even if you were horrible at it. I would plead, beg and cajole my father who was, surprisingly, eager to see me improve at sports. I had my heart into reading, into painting, into writing and if I did protest, ‘Yes we agree but you are a boy and you must know how to play’ was casually thrown at me. Why? I still argue! I remember how everybody would giggle when I had to bat or field, or when the football landed miles short of where it should have.

As much as I found comfort in the mysterious shelves of the library, or sitting across the field sketching a distant pine tree, I would be forced from the ‘abnormality’ to the normalcy of the field, only to be pushed around, laughed at, and pointed at. Quietly, frustratingly, furtively, I would practise, if only that would make acceptance easy. Acceptance at the field in school, acceptance in the conversations my father would have with my cousins during the revered cricket matches. It hurt being a mute and laughed at spectator whose opinions would seldom matter. I had seen some of my classmates who were equally terrible at sports trying hard, struggling to fit in, if only that would make school easier.

I still cannot fathom why must boys excel at sports? Why must catching a ball, or swinging a bat come naturally to them? Why must they be laughed at for being terrible at sports? It ain’t a weakness that must be picked upon with shrewdness, only making rightful carefree growing up days uncomfortable and miserable for the souls who are meant to be different. Embrace the difference, nurture the strengths, guide them and don’t cloak them in a mass produced opinion. Children regretfully smother and choke, succumbing to the expectations.

It took me years to be comfortable in my own skin, to brush off the laughter when a key that is tossed at me is seldom caught, to claim nonchalantly that I suck at sports, and, were you play the march-past tune, to happily and obediently disobey and let my feet wonder ‘right left right’.

Image Credit : Brian Tucker from Pixabay

67 thoughts on “Right Left Right

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  1. So now I have been able to enjoy one of your posts from the past. And see? The computer has to be in some ways acknowleged for its role in recording and transmitting your reflections and art here, even though time has passed. Your gift of writing has been a part of you and your writing community for quite some time, evidently. You are so eloquent in your responses to readers. You listen to their ideas and interpretations and learn from them as well as teach them. I am so happy to have discovered your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Xavier for your wonderful words. 🙂 Indeed we must thank technology for the possibility. I have always believed that ‘words are all I have’ and to be able to share them with the world, listen to their ‘words’, have a conversation, engage and discuss is what enriches our experiences and opens an entire different spectrum to us. Believe me I am so very glad to see your wonderful words each day.

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      1. Oh! That explains a lot. Because when I was back to check what’s going on in WordPress I was genuinely surprised to not see many new posts on your site. I hope the work break did serve you well. Weekend classes? That’s new. May I ask classes of what?

        Me. I’ve been pretty much the same. I’m being active on other areas of my life so WordPress has sort of taken a side track. But I’ve not stopped writing even if I’m not posting here, which is what I’m truly happy about. 🙂

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  2. I sucked at sports too, Parikhit, with the possible exception of Volleyball — where the ball usually moves slowly enough I have enough time to align myself to hit it. But at least I never had the nasty PE teachers you describe. Mine were not joyous to have me in their classes, but they were not shamefully malicious about it, either. I am sorry you went through that, my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey! Paul, thank you so the encouraging comment. I do think we are headed towards better days now. People have been vocal about issues and I do see healthy steps being taken to combat what was not possible earlier.

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  3. How do you write so beautifully! I can really live, experience all this through your words. And I never get bored reading them. I too have many memories, but I can never pen them down the way you do so beautifully. You really are gifted. Do write a novel, I so wish to read it. Stay blessed. Jazakallah Khair

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful words! And my sincere apologies for the delayed response. Believe me your writing is wonderfully heart-rending and strikes a chord always. Thank you again:)

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  4. Hi there-I enjoyed this very much! A lovely visual of your home. I can relate to the clumsiness…but I’ve also found over the years that I do indeed “throw like a girl”…and I’m not half bad either. 😊

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    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 I guess eventually everything gets better, for some of us it takes a few days and for some months! Acceptance of our own self and knowing our strengths and weaknesses make it so much easier right.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved the progression of thoughts from the memories of the hometown, the observations and musings of Easter and the (quite relatable) account of school sports.
    Being from the mountains myself, I related to more in this post than I can ever express. You took me back to the moments when I sat curled up beside the window sill, an English classic book in hand, stealing glances out the window upon the hills, some of which were embraced by the warming sun, while others, their very neighbours at that – subjected to the cold shoulder of the dampening mist..!
    Needless to say, I loved the post. Not many writers can make one feel that sense of belonging (which I think is why one tends to love posts one can relate to).
    Absolute pleasure reading this. Looking forward to the next already!

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    1. Ah we share similar roots! The mountains, a book in hand, staring at misty green blue hills, the sky a shade of ozone, merry clouds, the the little houses, cottages over the valley is a sight I miss so much! I would do anything to go back to the time that was, the good ones and here I am being selfish. 🙂

      I feel blessed that you could relate! A big thank you! 🙂

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  6. oh, sweet Pari, thank you for sharing your memories, your heart, your struggles, and your beautiful writing…to take us into your experience, your wisdom, your generous and humane vision. How grateful I am that you found your voice, your means of expression despite the misdirection of others…may your song forever find its way to us, you who reveal such beauty and exquisite humanity in all you say. May your days be sweet, and the song of birds delight you…blessings and much love to you, dear friend! *willows at sunset**rainbows and opening blooms*

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    1. Thank you so much for the forever wonderful words 🙂 I only pray and hope that the change comes sooner and everybody is accepted for who they are than forcing down norms through their throats. Thank you again 🙂

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      1. Yes, if only world rulers recognized the gifts each individual brings into being, and nurtured nd encouraged them to grow. If only social justice enabled each person to flower like the individual blooms we are, what a glorious garden we would be, reflecting the Garden of the One! Love and blessings to you, my dearest Pari *sunbeams shining into garden blooms**children dancing and smiling*

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      2. Oh Joan! That would be a wonderful world wouldn’t it 🙂 Maybe someday the world will let every flower bloom happily 🙂

        I do hope you are well. It must be Spring now 🙂

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  7. It started with a walk back memory lane and finished with some very thought provoking and relevant question……..”don’t cry like a girl” ……”you are boy you must know how to play ” it always bothers me that how things said so casually puts so much pressure on a child’s growing years…..gender is not a bar to define what one should or shouldn’t do

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    1. Absolutely Sakshi. It is somehow ingrained in our heads, the shortcomings and privileges of belonging to a gender. It is unfair how we belittle someone and put ‘so much pressure’ upon them so that they conform to rules we make. I do hope change comes sooner. We all need to seriously think!

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  8. You describe your childhood so well, the yard and your interests … nobody should be humiliated for anything! I have always bucked societal norms and wish more would …

    Great writing again 🙂

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  9. What an amazing writer you are — i can so relate because i loved reading, writing too and was terrible at Badminton, even dancing – and all other sports. i was (am) lucky to be a girl? I guess with time all those wounds have dissolved as i realize that i have been blessed beyond of beyond with so much in my life – i raise my heart in gratitude to the heavens and join you in my heart as i pray for the sweetness of the Lord’s presence this Easter – and every day. 🙂 Thank you for writing Parikhit. Your words are delightful magic.

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    1. I agree with you Krishnapriya. With time we, a good number of us, realize that there are other things beyond what was forced upon us and we can happily let go of the pressure and embrace without any qualms what we like. 🙂

      Thank you so much for the prayer. I fold my hands in gratitude and pray that every day is bright and happy for each one of us 🙂

      P.S.- The weather has been heavenly these few days and everything looks vivid 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Had to come back to read the part that mentioned ‘it took you years’. Well, maybe it did take you years. But you did become comfortable in your own skin. I loved that part. At the same time it just saddens me that sometimes we don’t really have that freedom to just be 😦

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      2. I hear you Nelma. It takes years for so many of us but there are some who just cannot make themselves heard. My heart goes out to them and I hope there is sunshine for them sooner. We need to change as a society!

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  10. You wrote about my upbringing. For far longer than I should have, I was overly critical of myself for not aligning with societal standards or expectations. I did excel as a swimmer but that was it for me and sports. Today, I have no qualms about who I am and the fact that I did not subscribe to what others believed I (we) ought to be. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Eric! I am happy for you. Not many of us have the strength and the environment to let go of the self-criticism brought about by the peer pressure to be accepted. It does immense effort doesn’t it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A society, a school, a parent that makes anybody think “I am horrible and clumsiness personified when it comes to any form of sports!” has failed miserably and should hang their head in shame! Thankfully people like Ken Robinson & Ted talks have helped narrow minded people realise that we were all bestowed with different talents!

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    1. There is something quite wrong with the way our society works, following a set of norms that is wrongly assumed must be applicable for everybody. And if you dare to be different you are shamed, making it difficult for the ones who did not choose to be consciously different. I wonder why don’t we celebrate diversity and uniqueness. May be some day?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think because there have always been bullies, power seekerd, who rule over people, who set the norms and because of their authoritarian style are afraid of difference and diversity. But who says we can’t push the boundaries, buck the trend, be assertive and live true to our real selves!

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