Ours was a joint family but we lived in a rented house in south Calcutta. My parents were strict and so were my uncle and aunt. But my grandma was wonderful and very special too. She was educated and was a very good cook and could prepare splendid dishes. In her student life, she assembled a radio set all by herself! The most important fact is that she always supported me, no matter what I did — be it fighting with my brother or getting into some mischief. I used to call her “Munnaa” and she would call me Chumki.
I went to Carmel School and I still miss my school, my teachers and my friends Jayita, Anindita, Mahua, Tanusree and many others. We were punished when we got into mischief but we failed to correct ourselves. I was interested in sports. One of the events I loved to take part in was “leap frog” in which the girl in front would bend down and the one behind her would sprint a short distance and jump over with her hands placed on her back. While practising this, I jumped over a girl and collided with our game teacher. Both of us fell down and rolled over in the dust. Everybody thought I had done it deliberately. But my teacher was cool about it. She got up in a jiffy and helped me get up, brushed her sari and didn’t say a word.
Our class teacher, however, was the serious type. One day she was writing on the blackboard while we were busy chatting. Suddenly she turned around and asked all those who were chatting to stand outside the class. More than half the class stood outside and we continued to gossip and giggle throughout the period.
I remember I was weak in maths and was able to pass the school leaving exam because I did well in geometry and algebra.
My grandma would pack my lunch box with tasty snacks and on most days, I found my lunch box empty during recess as my friends polished off the goodies in the first and second period. During exams, when I used to study till late night with all my books spread out on the bed, she would sleep on the edge without a word of complaint.