" No, you cannot take the bow and the arrows with you!" shouted my mother at me with a stern voice.
Our one week stay at my grandfather's tea estate was coming to an end. I was pleading my mother to allow me to take the hand made bow and arrows gifted to me by a local tea worker's son with whom I had developed some kind of deep affection during those few days.
"No, you cannot take those arrows and bow with you, the army will catch you with weapons and arrest you immediately" she tried to put some reason in me while folding our clothes in the travelling bag.
" Now get ready quickly! The army escorts will be leaving soon, we are already late"
My grandfather was a tea estate manager in Mongoldoi, which is still an area under a terrorist outfit. His retirement age was nearing and he wanted me to spend my vacation with him. I loved my grandpa, he was a very reticent person who held on to his principles of living a life of dignity till his death.
I have only a few flashes of memories of my visit in his place, but those were the brightest period of my childhood.
Being a senior manager, he was given separate quarters and was quite respected among the tea workers. Some workers would use to visit him daily with vegetables and fruits. A boy also used to come every day with his father to our quarter. And that is how we became friends.
I remember however that there was an apparent difference in the treatment given to the workers and managers. Every Sunday there used to be a movie organised by the tea company for the managers and the workers likewise. We used to sit in the front side of the screen where the movies are projected and the workers would sit in the rear side of the same.
However, I was allowed to roam around with that boy. I even had the chance of having lunch in his house.
I think we even visited a dried river, where he helped me make bows and arrows.
Today, I asked my mother about that boy. She said that she does not remember much about him, but does remember how much upset I was the whole time during the trip back to our home.
Indeed, memories play different tricks to different people. Some bring a sense of pain and some a sense of happiness. Some bring a sense of gloominess and some a sense of longing.
I wish that my forgotten childhood friend also has some pleasant memories about me.