Considering my small frame, I was an ideal candidate for gymnastics. My school was generally into several sporty things. We always had a decent cricket (boys) and athletics (boys and girls) team. There was basketball coaching, invariably. A long drawn out sports tournament every year, with teams across three classes and sufficiently large number of games all around. Formats were changed often but finally we all got plenty of games and matches and races through the year.
I used to be a sniffly, weak little thing early on in my school years. Extremely tiny to boot. I am convinced that I had won the third price in Potato race in V std (or thereabouts). But the guy who was judging (a family friend's son), I still strongly feel, cheated me out of it. I went crying to my dad (who taught next door) and to date the family brings this up every time we have company in an attempt to embarrass me (BTW, dad laughed and narrated the story like a joke and did nothing). I suppose I owe it to that guy, my determination to do well in sports and there needed to be no doubt in later years as to who won the race. Except one year when I won the 100m by a lot and had the cheek to turn around and look at the rest of the crowd behind me (hey, I was twelve or thirteen years old). My dad gave me a piece of his mind then (he was invited there to hand over our medals that day; would not have bothered to come to just see me run!) and I felt severely apologetic about it, later.
And when I was in VII standard, the school decided to introduce the wonderful world of gymnastics to us. I LOVED it. We would bring out these nasty mattresses and lay them all down in a long line and go 'flip flip flip' down it, the whole length. I learned a whole bunch of things, we had the horse too in the school (No rings). Then some of us were invited to go to the local physical education training institute to practice some more. I felt so damn honoured! My friends and I would cycle over to that place, right by the railway track, and spend hours learning back flips and hand stands and combinations and what have you. Every free hour in school we would be flipping. We would wear our sports shorts under our uniform skirt all through the year. My mum would be horrified when it was summer, but we did not care, it was plenty of fun. Then suddenly one day I just stopped. Gave it up. I still play around a bit and do a partial cartwheel to amuse a child or something, but just stopped the whole thing. Why? Because my BFF and I felt that the coach was being particularly partial to the older girls, you know, the ones with boobs. And we were definitely better than them (we were minuscule and perfectly flexible; had no interest in boys or anything so could dedicate much free time to practicing; of course we were better!). Anyway we gave it up entirely and went off to basketball instead. School days are great, you feel so invincible, and 'whole life is ahead of me' types.
Yesterday I came back from my run (at a really odd time - NOON. Yeah I know, its madness) and found a daughter dressed in:
Red Pants & Yellow Tshirt (a dull shade, both, not as Govinda as you would imagine it to be). I nearly fell down the stairs. Of course I assumed that the husband dressed her, he has this way of managing to bulldoze her into doing what he wants her to. I launch into all explanations (too hot for pants; cannot wear Polyester in Chennai; need sleeves as the place will be cold, etc. She counters all my arguments with some of her own, my brain flips out inside my skull, I swear). But apparently she said 'Today I feel like dressing like a boy' & picked those clothes herself.
Oh well. At least thats 1 day in nearly 2000 days of existence that she has felt like her mother. Who used to peel off her uniform skirt; tuck the shirt into the shorts; and go 'Flip Flip Flip' through the school corridors sometimes.