SELF-ISOLATION BANTER – 5
If I could bring back the collection of vivid childhood memories, they animatedly dance around my ancestral home – my dad’s father had built to accommodate his four sons and two daughters. My dad was the youngest and also the smartest. I admired my three uncles and aunts endowed with a reverential brilliance in portraiture painting, excited as a child, I roamed around the house watching them hunched before the canvas surrounded by inks, oils, brushes, a palette rich with a blend of oil paints. I loved to inhale the strong smells emanated from the inanimate life taking shape on the canvas and from the turpentine used to clean the brushes and painting knives.
What I’m trying to coax out of my memory was to scrape out bits and traces how I was tamed to walk down and made to sit among the crowd of brats and sweet-talked to scribble the alphabets on a slate. Thus by coercion they baptised me to reading and writing.
About my first grasp of slate and chalk, I need to dig back six decades to invoke a hazy, dreamy frame of an image that bounces in and out of an almost forgotten past. It emerges in a form: a not so distinct thatched house with a low roof frontage. Empty of any habitation in the vicinity was what I could visualize about the setting where I received my first flash of enlightenment.