Last night, as I lay in bed, beckoning my beauty sleep to rest awhile under my eyelids, a long forgotten nursery rhyme came to my mind. I know not how, but I felt I heard the words loud and clear, in the silence of the night! And, instantly, I was transported to my childhood, where I sat with my nursery rhyme book open in my lap, gawking at my dad, who was reciting the rhymes with much gusto. The rhyme, which even as I write this post, plays in my mind, goes like this…
Multiplication is vexation,
Division is as bad;
The Rule of Three perplexes me,
And fractions drive me mad.
It has been more than 40 years, since I heard these lines being recited by dad, but I still remember the tune to which dad had set the rhyme. And, I vividly remember, he would emphasise on the last word, MAD, stretching it so, it left me awestruck! I think, he predicted back then that one day, his daughter is going to be struggling with arithmetic and its siblings, pulling her hair out in frustration, and driving him and mum crazy!
I still have that wonderful book with me. Long ago, when I had been to mum’s, I fished it out of the attic and brought it back. Dad suggested passing it on to my nephew, but I would have none of it. It was MY book, it would stay with ME! Today, when I see the rhyme books available in the bookshops, I feel proud for having owned a book that was so royally printed and lovingly bought for me by my dear dad.
The illustrations are ‘royal’ , with kings and queens and young lads and little girls, all dressed in the attire of the Victorian era. Some of the rhymes will seem familiar to kids of today, but, there are others that, I feel, belonged to that period. I couldn’t sleep for a long time last night. I was lost in my childhood, with dad reciting the rhymes, and I, staring open-mouthed at the marvellous book, lost in those colourful pictures! I plan on going through the book today, and call up dad and thank him for his gift of a lifetime!
Here’s the picture of the illustration made for the poem. The boy, sitting at his desk, lost in thought, is how I was, back then, when faced with the most hated subject of my school life!
This other picture will give you an idea of the era it was printed in…
Life today, is so fast, and so glamorous. It makes me yearn for the simple days of my childhood. I pity the children of today, who have everything they could ever ask for, except the simplicity and the innocence, that we were abundantly blessed with. Thank god, I have these golden memories to cherish, and sustain me throughout the rest of my life!
Will call up dad now, and take him for a walk down memory lane!