This post probably gives the average reader, an insight into the character that built me. But on careful analysis and observation, if one has the tenacity for such things, then you will find that we are all not that very different. Somehow, at the end of the day, when we sit on the arm chair and experience a 'Total Recall' we feel that our childhood, adolescence, adulthood, youth and middle ages were not entirely different from those of the guy next door.
As inquisitive and active people, we all have or would have had hobbies. Something special that you used to do other than the regular games of Ludo, Snake & Ladder & Carom during the hot summer days and a game of cricket, 'lagori', and dodge - ball (Choorchandu) while the weather had been less harsh.
I peek into my early childhood days makes me smile at my innocence, conformist attitude and naivete. You know, kids always imitate each other, just like monkeys do. We only see one in a hundred or so who have striking features of individuality. I do not mean that the kid who imitated others ended up a loser or the kid with a personality of his own, ended up a CEO of a company. No, that is not the case I want to think and damage my brain cells for.
As a single kid in a nuclear family & both parents working, I was always left at the mercy of my surroundings for the development of my imagination, intuition and emotional intelligence. No doubt, our schools try very hard to fire up the child's imagination right from Kindergarten by placing cute little chairs and desks painted in bright lead laced paints, sparkling hoops, colorful balls and the likes. We have craft classes, painting & sketching classes and also gym classes where the child chooses his or her area of reckoning. Some kids take to craft & arts like fish to water and some people take to sports like they were born on the track & field.
I, on the other hand, was a Jack of all trades, not to sound like a narcissist. I did not say I was particularly excellent at everything, but I did try my hand with all things, though I could not find a paint brush or a cricket bat that I would hold for the rest of my life.
My earliest hobby would definitely have to be sketching & coloring. I was pretty 'OK' at it, yes, I can say that when I flip the pages of my old drawing books my mom and dad have so carefully preserved even to this day. I was not a imaginative artiste. I sketched life as I saw from my own two eyes. I was a mere photographer. But hey, that soon passed.
My primary hobby of sketching, was soon taken over by collecting dolls or 'action figures' that boys of my age about 20 years ago used to call, to mark a clear distinction from the ubiquitous Barbie dolls that the 'girls' used to play with. Those were the days I pestered my hapless parents to buy action figures of the 'Masters of the Universe' and 'GI Joe' series, not to forget countless other small figurines of animals, dinosaurs - a fad among children after we were exposed to Steven Spielberg's 'Jurassic Park'.
Peer pressure would be the rational explanation that any child psychologist would love to give, but I call it 'marking of territory'. It was obvious that you had a reputation to maintain and certainly if a kid's parents would shower him with such junk, he or she was 'special'.
My aspirations soon changed when I realized that the shops charged my folks a bomb for those pieces of plastic. I immediately abandoned that hobby & developed a new, less expensive one. Collecting 'Nestle' stickers that were found in their wide range of chocolates. A large collection of unique stickers would yield you a toy car laden with a bunch of Nestle goodies. I spent a jolly lot of my folks' money and yet could never get hold of that 'prize', even after spending hours and hours of recon work finding out which of my neighborhood kids or my school mates had the sticker which was missing in my collection.
End of that story, my focus soon shifted to collecting other stickers which I would use to repaint my dad's 'Godrej Almirah'. A living proof to my crazy schemes is the defaced doors of a perfectly good steel cupboard which we have now dismissed to our cellar as they were starting to look hideous. I remember, we used to subscribe to these cinema glossies 'Star Dust' & 'Cine Blitz'. There used to be some senior girls in the school van I used to take, who were crazy about certain Bollywood heroes and even heroins. My Marketing instincts had kicked in quite early and broke a deal with them. I would provide them with cutouts of their favorite actors in exchange for stickers that I could well.. stick on to the cupboard. This went on for a while till my father felt that I had become a little old for pursuing such silly hobbies.
End of that one too! Next I took to collecting images of cricketers, domestic & international and paste them on books and noting down key statistics. I would spend hours alone in my home, scouting for different pictures of cricketers. I had even forced my parents to change the newspaper from the Times of India to the Indian Express & Deccan Herald since the latter two carried bigger & more colorful images of the sportsmen. I had made about 4 volumes of the cutouts when I soon got over this hobby too.
My next hobby was also more of a conformist one. Collection of 'cricket cards' that would be given away with the purchase of a certain bubble gum brand. I don't remember having chewed on so much flavored rubber ever in my life than while in school. I still have bundles together of useless postcards & pocket cards carrying cricket statistics, lying somewhere in my house.
Next was the collection of 'Tazzos' a new fad that had caught the Indian kids by their tails. We would gorge on trans fat and salt by destroying air filled packs of 'Cheetos' and 'Lays'. This hobby, I should confess, did not last longer than a few months.
Engineering sizzled out many a hobby as poor wannabe engineers hardly get time off from weekday classes, tuition, internals and so on and so forth. 4 years of hobby - less life extended to another 2 - 3 years when I had to settle down in my career. With a job comes money and with money comes more expensive hobbies. I started collecting movies with a passion so strong that it would consume a major part of my free time. More than a thousand movies later, this hobby saw it's end when my wife put a full stop on my mindless expenditures.
Now, that I have come away from home, I found out that I can write quite decently and developed the hobby of blogging and even ventured into story telling. How long will this continue, not even I know! Perhaps my wife has the answer. LOL!
I am sure, that most of you would also have felt nostalgic after reading this post. You are welcome to share something about your hobbies. Did you abandon your hobbies or still pursuing them?