Whenever I met someone new, I’d ask,
“Did you have a happy childhood?”
And nine times out of ten, they said,
“I don’t remember.”
Childhood Amnesia, it’s called,
the inability to retain memories till we’re about 10.
Well, Do you remember anything about your childhood?
I don’t remember learning to walk and yet somehow I can.
And I certainly don’t remember potty training.
I wish my parents had taught me
how to flush out my worries too.
There’s a picture of me praying to a traffic cone,
but I don’t remember that either.
Why would I pray to a traffic cone?
Perhaps I thought it was a God in its own sense,
having the power to divert all cars onto another path.
There was this one kid with who I would play-fight every afternoon.
I do not remember his name.
I asked my mother, she doesn’t remember either.
She thinks it starts with ‘A’.
My mother tells me
how we’d go for ice-cream each day
as a reward for going to school
and how there’s a picture of me
crying after dropping an ice-cream bar.
Why would she click pictures
rather than comfort me at the horrific loss
I faced as a child?
There’s another picture of my sister on the Beach.
But there is none of me.
Perhaps, my parents didn’t take me.
Or they did.
I don’t remember.
She also told me how
I’d always break my sister’s stuff
with this Tank toy I used to have.
I don’t remember being mean.
Perhaps there was a lot of love between us back then, too.
Where has that love gone?
I do remember this dog we had
who was so fluffy that I refused to sleep next to my parents.
I miss Fluffy.
I miss being that close to someone.
Was my childhood full of adventures,
journeys to uncharted territories,
or was it spent sitting in front of the TV?
Did I really dress up like Spider-man when I was four?
There’s a picture of me that says I did.
I don’t even remember waking up each morning,
dressed like a monk in the
over-sized night-suit I (must have) had.
There’s a picture of that too.
That’s the thing.
There are a lot of pictures in old cardboard boxes of my childhood.
There aren’t that many memories.
I do not remember half the things the pictures say I did.
My parents like to tell stories about my childhood.
Like this one time how we had gone to the Zoo
and how I bonded with a Chimpanzee called Caesar
so much that I wanted to take him home.
So I decided to go back to the Zoo,
all these years later.
Caesar wasn’t there.
I don’t even know if he ever existed.
this amnesia was important as well.
I do not remember the times
when my dreams became nightmares.
And, if I did,
I would have lost my innocence long ago
like in the stories of children
we hear from around the world,
living in the hardest of times,
those who have to live in poverty,
go through child abuse,
I hope they find people to
take care of them
as my parents took care of me
and gave me a happy childhood
that I can see in old photographs
but I do not remember much.
All illustrations by Victorior
Taken from The Innocent Project| The Innocent Project is Victorior’s attempt at raising awareness about Stopping Child Violence.
Used with Permission
To see more illustrations by Victorior: Facebook | Behance