As a child, I was terrified at the thought of having to sleep alone.

My father, in his attempt to put us all to sleep by midnight, had created a rather horrific version of Wee Willie Winkie. Unlike the lovely, blonde-haired blue eyed Wee Willie Winkie  in children's books, Baba had created this power-hungry manipulative monster, who would put little children in white sacks and then tie the mouth of the sack with rope.
That wouldn't be all. They would all be ducked in icy-cold water.

Right outside our house at the time was a mistir dokan* which sold, apart from the usual sandesh and Rosogolla, sorbhaja, cchanar jilipi and their own rather innovative sweetmeats. In restrospect, I think it was a father-son venture and since it was just the two of them workingly zealously to keep the shop alive, they would clean their utensils up until three in the morning and would fry things till midnight. Since the shops were within earshot, I would hear the unmistakeable sound of sizzling oil and ask my mother questions. Ma would be too tired to speak.

My father, undaunted by my barrage of questions, would answer instead of her, "Jomraj baje lokder koraye bhajje". The thought of the lord of the underworld ( I was too young to know about the financers of Bollywood films) actually frying bad people was also an extremely scary thought, but the combination of the two ensured that I could not sleep at night. My poor father thought that this was an effective strategy of putting his daughter to sleep. Little did he know that I was creating newer monsters in my head with each passing day, giving them colours, characteristics and telling myself that they were part of this large group that I might have to fight off, one day.

So, while everyone slept, I lay awake, sometimes listening to the frying sounds and at other times, looking at the large jamrul tree outside the window and noticing a frightened squirrel scarper past, hoping no one had noticed it. 

I don't remember ever owning a barbie doll, and even if I did, I think my parents insisted on not getting me any when I was a little girl. Instead, my brother had a monkey and I had a tiger which I named B.B.D Bag, after the buses I saw on the roads everyday. B.B.D Bag is- I am happy to say- still alive, although he has been missing a ear for almost thirteen years now.

Coming back to the question of being mortified of sleeping in the first place, I woke up this morning to a blustering wind outside my windowpane. In my paranoia, I actually thought that someone was knocking on the window with alarming alacrity.

In my dream-induced state, I felt like there were bears and werewolves outside my window, and instead of a happy thought ( them doing a moonlit dance, them having a party), I dreamt that they wanted to eat me.

I awoke with a start, drank some water and listened to Owl City's Fireflies on loop. Then I went back to garner some undisturbed sleep .


Magically Bored said…
Hahaha, I probably shouldn't laugh, but the thought of what your father did when you were young was just hilarious. Obviously must have been very scary to a little kid, though.
When I was about 3-4 years old, we used to have these people who wandered through the locality with wheelbarrows, they were mainly rubbish collectors. My mother scared me into thinking that if I was naughty, those people would come for me, load me into the barrows and take me off to some garbage dump!
Reeti said…

I ALWAYS think it's hilarious now. I also think that many of the bizarre things he taught me- us really- made us think creatively.
CheshireCat said…
B.B.D. Bag. Oh wow. Now I'll never be able to look at another B.B.D. Bag bus without thinking of you and your tiger. :P