My photo
Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

09 April 2013

Keep it Up!

C1 was awarded a Principal’s Certificate at her school assembly today. It was, as the photo shows, for her good handwriting. ‘I’m so proud of you,” I told her. “Keep it up!”

'Keep it up'. Three little words that take me back three decades to recall an incident from my childhood. Thanks to my parents who make sure they recount this story at every chance they get, it’s hard to forget...

I must have been in Year 1. It was the end of the school term and I had returned home with my report card. A stellar one at that. A+ in every subject. Five stars all over. My six-year-old self was bursting with pride.

Once everyone in the D’monte Street household (Nana, my parents, my uncle and aunt and cousins) had ooh-ed and aah-ed over said report card, it was placed up on the altar. Now, this altar held pride of place in our sitting room. It was the receptacle for not just the expected statues of Jesus and Mary, and other religious paraphernalia like candles (in their shiny brass holders) and an array of rosaries, but also for some unfathomable reason, all “important” documents – recently received letters, electricity bills, etc. Even more strange, below it was our “dirty clothes box” – a place where all our linen was shoved, ready to be handed over to the dhobi, but that’s another story...

So of course, the report card was kept in its lofty spot with Jesus, Mary and Joseph for company.

Later that evening, dad’s older sister, my aunt Vilma, dropped in to visit Nana who told her of my achievement. “Well done, Alison! Keep it up, my girl!” she said, slipping a fiver into my hand. (Yes, 30 years ago, Rs. 5 could buy you the world!)

“But Aunty Vilma, I’ve already kept it up,” I replied, pointing to the altar.


Do you have any incidents from your childhood that make you laugh or squirm? What kind of a student were you – a goody two-shoes or an up-to-no-good one?