I Was Even Afraid of My Own Shadow

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I was afraid of even my own shadow

Mum could not understand how she could have brought such a classic case of a scared cat into this world. According to her, when I was born, I was one of those smiling, good-natured babies who would not cry or whimper and would sleep the whole night through. She herself had a peaceful confinement month unlike her colleagues who were kept on their toes the whole night. This made her to be so pleased with me. But immediately after my first birthday, there was a drastic change where I became the most irritable one-year-old monster. I cried at the slightest whim, at even the softest whisper. I whimpered when the lights were switched off, I wanted darkness and brightness was my forsworn enemy. The electricity bill rocketed with my unreasonable demands to have lights in every room. Mum and Dad despaired. They prayed it was a passing phase but the nightmare continued into my kindergarten years too. Grandma had to be my constant companion when I first attended kindergarten and she had to follow me everywhere I went. Even the teasing and boos of my little brave companions did not shame me in the least. I was just plain scared to be alone, without a familiar face, although there was twenty other chubby cherubic faces who were sheer daredevils. When I turned seven and was enrolled in co-ed school, my parents had practically to drag me, with hands and legs bound, to school. In those days, there were no rules of child abuse and they escaped scot-free. To make matters worse, I was sandwiched between a dark skinned Indian girl with white teeth and fair-skinned brown haired Chinese lass. Could you imagine the horror that haunted my first year in post kindergarten? My parents just ignored my complaints, protests and tears in the mornings and I had to be in school, rain or shine. An unforgettable incident occurred when the mischievous child in the class sneaked a black harmless spider down my collar. I was paralysed with fear, my face turned...
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