I was born in North Bengal in the tea gardens, 50 miles from Jalpaiguri. I spent my childhood in the lap of nature, surrounded by the quiet, imposing beauty of the hills. I went to the Jalpaiguri District School. I was quite a mischievous child. When I was very young, about three or four years old, I visited Calcutta with my parents.
One afternoon, when my father was out and my mother was asleep, I sneaked out to explore the huge city. As I walked passed various shops, I came across a shop that sold framed pictures. And a certain picture caught my eye. I walked inside the shop and asked the shopkeeper to give me the photograph. The shopkeeper was quite surprised to see a four-year-old, asking for the picture. On learning that I was alone, he told me that hed give me the picture if I could take him to my parents. I agreed, but I had no clue as to where the hotel in which we were staying was located. I realised that I was lost in the city, but didnt breathe a word about it. I kept walking, and as I came near the hotel, two guards from the hotel spotted me and took me back.
One can imagine what the situation was like when I got back. My mother was hysterical and had sent out a dozen people to look for me. The man who had brought the photograph along, gave it to me, but didnt take any money for it. The photograph was one of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and, I still believe that it was because of him that I found my way back that summer afternoon.
There was another incident that I remember. We had a test in school and in those days, all students, senior and junior, would sit in the same hall to write their tests. When the question papers were distributed, a senior student offered to write my paper. I found the proposition very tempting and let her write it while I stared outside the window, lost in thought. But the fairytale didnt last long, and the teacher caught us. My senior was expelled from school, while I was severely punished.
Childhood was all about fun, games and mischief. I had my share of fun. I wish it had lasted forever. I often used my imagination to get away from this mundane world, and it was wonderful. I hope children these days do it too because it helps to create a unique space of your own.