Get Your Premium Membership

Childhood Memories - A Poetic Inspiration - Malabika Ray Choudhury's Blog

About Malabika Ray Choudhury
(Show Details...)
Bloggers Photo

I am a Canadian teacher, Creative writing is my passion. My early years were spent in India, and later in the Middle East. I am finally settled in Canada, and enjoying my profession as a teacher. Writing is my first passion, but I also immensely enjoy music and art.

In the beginning of 2020, I have published a collection of poems on amazon, called "Without Me, Without You".

A Reader's comment about the book: Beautifully vivid, and delightful verses! Malabika’s gift with words can be compared to an artist expressing beauty and feelings on canvas with paint and brush. Verses I can read in mid winter and feel spring in my heart.

I write equally in two languages - definitely in English, and also in Bengali, which is a regional language in the eastern part of India. I have translated a few famous Bengali poems (mainly by Rabindranath Tagore) in English, and hope to publish a collection in future. 

 

 

 

 

 


Childhood Memories - A Poetic Inspiration

Blog Posted:6/22/2020 7:22:00 AM
In my last blog, I mentioned about spending my  early years in India. I was born in India, in a city which was once the capital, but not any more. That city is still considered to be one of the cultural hotspots of India. I was born in that city, in a large extended family spending time with grandparents, parents, siblings, surrounded by uncles, aunts, and cousins. In spite of belonging to an extended family, I was a shy, quiet,  introverted girl, who felt awkward if there were a large crowd on occasions like weddings or religious celebrations. 
 
 I joined a local school at a walking distance at the age of six, although my brothers were allowed to join schools which were more reputed, but needed to take public transport.  I was a bookworm, so school was a refuge for me. One year later, my father had to leave the city and work in a small  village, four hours train-ride ( remember in those days, trains were not fast ) from the city. So my mother joined him and I and my little sister tagged along with them. We lived in that small village for three years and went to the local primary school. 
 
Those three years were the best days of my life, and those three years have shaped my personality and inspired my love of nature and love of writing. My father was working as the Manager of a textile mill, where most of the people in the surrounding township used to work. The textile mill produced  both machine-made and handmade fabric. I used to be fascinated by the work they did, and being daddy’s girl, sometimes strolled around with my father when he was supervising (this won’t be allowed at all nowadays)! Being a city-girl, I was mesmerized by the natural beauties of the surroundings. We were provided a beautiful bungalow to live in, and inspired by my father’s vision, we had large and lovely gardens - both in the front and back of our house. The most enchanting memory is the swing - which was the main attraction for many children in the neighbourhood, and how much we enjoyed swinging on that simple rope-swing every day, countless times!
 
 The new township was neat and clean, cemented roads, and all the houses were one-storeyed cute bungalows with flower and vegetable gardens. It was a fairy-tale place for me after residing in a buzzing city with three or four storeyed  gigantic buildings. But it was long time ago, none of the houses had electricity, or running water, and the roofs were all made of asbestos (which absorbs heat). We were not the richest people, but my father had a modern outlook, and he spent his own money and time to create a heaven for us. 
 
He took initiative to decorate the house with flower-plants in the front, and vegetable garden in the large backyard. We had help, because in India, even now helps are available. But my father made sure, every morning we got up early, and water the plants. He considered the stay in that village as a big life-lesson for his kids. Even my brothers came to visit us in their vacations, he made them regularly weed the lawn, and water the plants - the climate being tropical, plants needed  watering every single day, sometimes twice a day. 
 
My father also got a deep Tube well installed in our property, so the water could be pumped to the washrooms, kitchen, and the garden. To lessen the temperature inside (no air-conditioner), he got a wooden roof installed under the asbestos. Curtains made of special fragrant plants, called Khuskhus, were also placed in all windows of our house. 
 
Those were the most delightful days of my life, not only because the bungalow was so comfortable, but also because I very much adored the natural surroundings and the simplicity of the people who lived there. The house I lived in, and my neighbours lived in, were cemented brick-buildings. But there were small huts close by which were made of mud and straw. Sometimes I used to visit those houses from where children used to come to the same school where I went! 
 
Talking about school, there were only two government-aided schools - one a Primary, another the Secondary. In the Primary School, boys and girls used to study together. After grade four, they got separated. Having only one building, the girls had classes early in the morning, and boys had their turn after the girls left at 10 am. Something very special I would like to mention here. When I was attending the school in the city, we were wearing uniforms, and carrying backpacks and water-bottles. When I went to this village-school, other children looked at me with an astonished look - as if I was a stranger. I found that they did not have uniforms, in fact their clothes were as ordinary as could be (perhaps hand-stitched by their mothers), they were not carrying water-bottles, and the most shocking - they were not wearing shoes! They were walking to school bare-foot! 
 
I felt a little awkward in that environment of bare necessities! And I came home, and I told my parents - I don't need to carry a fancy backpack, and I am going to school barefoot. My father was the most important person in that community, but he and my mother agreed to my decision. From the next day I walked barefoot to school, like every other child, and I felt beyond happy! I felt I belonged to that community. The other incident which I remember till today is about a little boy who was in the same classroom with me. That boy came to school every day very much unprepared, in shabby clothes, did not do any homework at all, and every day he used to be punished by our headmistress. I remember feeling so sad for him, and I used to wonder why he never finished any school-work or failed in the exams. Now the face of that little friend of mine comes back to haunt me. 
 
The other special memory of my childhood in that quaint little village was my friends, who gave me their delightful company and so much joy in a short time, that even now, in a sorrowful moment, I close my eyes, and imagine not to have left my haven at all. I don't know if I inherited the genes from my grandmother, who was a voracious reader, I couldn't live without books. In those days, in a small village of India, there was no library in the girls' section of the school. That was devastating for me! Fortunately, our neighbour's son, who was a year older than me, realized how much I longed for books. He used to borrow books from his school, and brought them to me. And I, being a bossy bookworm, made sure he finished the book too! We had created the smallest library in the world - with only two members.
 
How much I remember one of our male teachers! My father made arrangement that one gentleman, who used to teach the boys, was going to come to our house to teach me and my sister every morning. He was so punctual, he never missed a day, and we could see his umbrella exactly at eight o'clock in the morning. My little sister was very outgoing, and did not like spending so much time reading, she would rather play hide-and-seek with her friends! At quarter to eight, both of us used to look out the window and prayed to God that our tutor didn't come on that day, Every morning exactly at eight o'clock, we used to spot through our window his umbrella moving towards our place without any exception. Oh, those were the days! At some point, the teacher became very ill, and he had to stay home. He invited me and few of his other students to go to his house, and he used to teach us math while he was lying in his bed. Forgot to mention something really fascinating in those days! On my first day at the village primary school, I walked with my neighbour's daughter, who was probably two years' senior to me. I went straight to her classroom with her, and the teacher asked me to read few sentences from a book to find out what level I was! I was already reading any book I could find, so it was quite easy for me, and finding me so fluent in reading, she allowed me to be with the students two years older! Her decision was the final decision. That placement might be unbelievable in present days, but that's how it was! 
 
We came back to the city after three years because of an accident happening to my mother, in fact we had to leave overnight not even saying good bye to anyone.. But I always missed that quaint little town, little haven of mine, and saved that experience in a very treasured corner of my heart.  
 
 

 

Please Login to post a comment

Please stay on topic with your comments. Off topics comments may be removed. Thanks.



Characters Remaining:
Type the characters you see
CAPTCHA
Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Date: 6/24/2020 3:39:00 PM
I enjoyed reading about your wonderful childhood memories, Mala. For a minute, I felt like I was in your idyllic village. I can imagine children running barefoot, playing happily. I'm sorry your mom had an accident, and you had to leave so abruptly. Have you been able to go back for a visit? I wonder how it has changed over the years. Thank you for sharing. Blessings, Rhonda
Login to Reply
Ray Choudhury Avatar
Malabika Ray Choudhury
Date: 6/25/2020 6:18:00 AM
Hi Rhonda, So glad that you enjoyed reading about a part of my childhood in a remote village in India. I went back after a few years, and decided not to, again. In my next blog I will tell you what happened, why I made that decision. My childhood friend went recently, and took some pictures, which I would like to share. Love, Mala
Date: 6/23/2020 2:37:00 PM
Mala, thank you for sharing your interesting upbringing with us. It sounds like you had wonderful parents. This was such a delight to read, you should consider adding it as a short story here on Poetrysoup if you haven't already. If you write more we will read more! Cheers! ~Mark
Login to Reply
Ray Choudhury Avatar
Malabika Ray Choudhury
Date: 6/24/2020 5:31:00 AM
Mark, I am totally thrilled to read your comments and your suggestion about posting this blog as a short story. I know, we have a story section at PoetrySoup, haven't explored it yet. My life-experiences span from India to Middle East to Canada in various roles. So I have many stories to tell, but yet to master the story-teller's art. I have to thank you immensely and from my heart, for encouraging me to give this idea a serious thought. Do you write stories? I am delighted that you enjoyed my humble writing. Best wishes, Mala
Date: 6/23/2020 8:18:00 AM
Hello Mala,I found this to be a very interesting blog to read. You really did have a very interesting childhood growing up.I will re-visit this blog again to read. Enjoyed this blog. with Love Darlene Enjoy your day my friend.
Login to Reply
De Beaulieu Avatar
Darlene De Beaulieu
Date: 6/24/2020 6:58:00 AM
Hello Mala, you have done a lot of travels. Yes different countries are different cultural it makes life interesting. love Darlene
Ray Choudhury Avatar
Malabika Ray Choudhury
Date: 6/24/2020 5:39:00 AM
Dear Darlene, It's hard to express how delighted I am to know you have enjoyed this post! My life has taken me to a few countries, and I have observed and experienced various cultural aspects in different settings. My childhood was a bliss! Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Love, Mala
Date: 6/23/2020 4:30:00 AM
Tears welled up in my eyes as I read your humble beginnings dear friend. What more could I ask for? You made my day! I will revisit this blog again...soon!
Login to Reply
Ray Choudhury Avatar
Malabika Ray Choudhury
Date: 6/23/2020 6:28:00 AM
Dear JCB, So glad to know you are visiting my blogs. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to share the incredible life-experiences I had in a few countries I lived, the remarkable people I had the chance to meet with! Best wishes, Dear Poet.
Date: 6/22/2020 9:51:00 PM
What great memories, your journey should be made into a book or a movie... Best Wishes, Anthony
Login to Reply
Ray Choudhury Avatar
Malabika Ray Choudhury
Date: 6/23/2020 6:20:00 AM
I am thrilled with your comment, Dear Anthony. Yes, I was fortunate to have incredible life-experiences spanning a few countries. My life has become enriched with those experiences. Glad to see you visiting my blog, thank you. Best wishes, Mala

My Past Blog Posts

 
Deception - Translation from Rabindranath Tagore
Date Posted: 7/26/2020 5:45:00 AM
Books, Art, Food - My Dream Vacation
Date Posted: 7/12/2020 5:36:00 PM
A Sleeping Beauty - Translation From Rabindranath Tagore
Date Posted: 6/30/2020 6:16:00 PM
Childhood Memories - A Poetic Inspiration
Date Posted: 6/22/2020 7:22:00 AM
Translation From Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel-Laureate in 1913)
Date Posted: 6/12/2020 6:20:00 AM
A Rare Art, A Poetic Inspiration - Part 2
Date Posted: 6/5/2020 7:54:00 AM
A Rare Art, A Poetic Inspiration
Date Posted: 5/29/2020 5:29:00 PM
Mala's Space
Date Posted: 5/24/2020 7:14:00 PM

My Recent Poems

Date PostedPoemTitleFormCategories
8/10/2020 A Perfect Dawn Tetractyslove,nature,
8/10/2020 A Crumpled Rose Free verseanti bullying,heartbreak,
8/9/2020 Solitude Rhymeinspiration,nature,
8/9/2020 One Red Leaf Lyricautumn,nature,
8/4/2020 haiku - dawn Haikubird,butterfly,nature,
8/3/2020 Path To You Lyricdevotion,love,
7/29/2020 A Song Of Togetherness Free versegarden,nature,
7/26/2020 My Muse And Me Rhymeinspiration,nature,
7/24/2020 Masked Feelings Free versecelebration,dance,
7/17/2020 Completely To Myself Free verseloss,memory,
7/11/2020 A Warrior Queen Narrativecourage,strength,war,
7/8/2020 Rubies For My Daughter Rhymecelebration,wedding,
7/4/2020 The Moment of Bliss Free verselove,time,
6/30/2020 A Sleeping Beauty - Translation From Tagore Narrativeangel,fantasy,princess,
6/25/2020 A Voiceless Scribe Narrativebest friend,growing up,me
6/23/2020 In Snowflakes I behold Lyriclife,silence,
6/19/2020 Abandoned Narrativecelebration,father daught
6/19/2020 Gifts Lyrichappiness,nature,
6/18/2020 Pretence Makes My Day Versedesire,how i feel,love,
6/12/2020 An Ordinary Girl - Translation From Tagore Narrativelife,loss,
6/12/2020 Morning Whispers Free versenature,rain,
6/9/2020 My Garden, A Stage Lyricflower,garden,
6/8/2020 Let's All Breathe Free versediscrimination,humanity,l
6/3/2020 When I Was In Portugal Verselove,romantic,
6/3/2020 Clouds Haikucolor,nature,rain,
6/3/2020 Raindrops Versememory,nature,rain,
6/2/2020 Metamorphosis Free verseinspiration,love,
5/30/2020 Has Spring Arrived For Me Lyriclonging,spring,
5/29/2020 A Promise Lyriclonging,love,
5/28/2020 Falling Lyricdecember,night,snow,
5/27/2020 The Tale Of A Yellow Poncho Narrativeangel,lost love,
5/26/2020 In Silent Prayer Free verseautumn,garden,nature,
5/26/2020 Ride In The Subway For Twenty-Five Days Narrativehope,uplifting,
5/25/2020 I Will Rise Lyricemotions,inspiration,wome
5/24/2020 The World Wouldn't Be The Same Free verse7th grade,8th grade,morni
5/22/2020 With Your Eyes Lyriclonging,love,nature,
5/15/2020 Never Reached Home Free verse11th grade,12th grade,sad
5/13/2020 The World Without My Glasses Lyrichow i feel,introspection,
5/10/2020 The Yellow Curtain Free verselove,mothers day,prayer,
5/7/2020 Dreams Lyrichope,life,

My Photos


photo

ps_IMG-20200528-WA0000.jpg

Fav Poems

PoemTitleFormCategories
The Last Petal Free versefunny love,
I will be the stars Free verse1st grade,beauty,bible,je
The Garden That Lives On Shapegarden,
In your lockup Rhymecute love,love,passion,
Abandoned Free verseflower,garden,lost love,r
The Strength of a Princess Versedream,fantasy,night,princ
Fascination Versehappiness,heart,
Separated By A Common Language Rhymeamerica,england,language,
Find me then Verselove,sunset,
A Bullfrog's Croak Quatrain10th grade,11th grade,9th
Reflections in Silence - Moon and I Free verseanalogy,life,philosophy,

Fav Poets

PoetCountry 
JCB Burl Korea (South) Flag Korea (South) Read
mpho Gift South Africa Flag South Africa Read
Keith Trestrail Trinidad and Tobago Flag Trinidad and Tobago Read
Wayne Kingston United States Flag United States Read
Besma Riabi Dziri Tunisia Flag Tunisia Read
Pigeon Tart Canada Flag Canada Read
Jeanne McGee United States Flag United States Read
Rhonda Johnson-Saunders United States Flag United States Read
John Watt United States Flag United States Read
Andrea Dietrich United States Flag United States Read
Aditi Mishra India Flag India Read
Darlene De Beaulieu Canada Flag Canada Read
Vijay Pandit United States Flag United States Read
harry horsman Australia Flag Australia Read
Connie Marcum Wong United States Flag United States Read
Debjani Mitra India Flag India Read
Mark Toney United States Flag United States Read
Nandita Das India Flag India Read
Funom Makama Germany Flag Germany Read
Silent One United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Anisha Dutta India Flag India Read
Lillian Twolsky United States Flag United States Read
Sam Kauffman United States Flag United States Read
Carol Mitra India Flag India Read