The clock ticks past 10 P.M. and I slowly made my way to the stairs and to the terrace of our building. The Moon shines brightly upon the entire city, her glowing rays of light a thing of beauty and took me down memory lane.

Nostalgia and loneliness creeps into my deep thoughts like a vine, I muse about the times of the past with mixed emotions. So much have happened within this short span of time, I thought to myself.

Thoughts about my earlier years of childhood, the innocent and carefree days bought a smile to my face. Those were the days that lit the face when thought about.

Waking up to the melodic songs of the birds and the adoring smile of my mother will forever be a sight I cherish. Her cooking though not the best and often ridiculed was my favorite and will be for years to come and my dad, he was just the strongest man. Dressing up for school sometimes might not be the best experience but it had its own day. Playing around the school campus with enthusiastic friends and foes, we all have a story to tell, some good and some bad ones.

One of the most pleasing music to the ears was the ringing bell of the last period, everyone scuffled and screeched, eagerly rushing home. The way back home bought an indifferent mood to the tiring day.

Home, whatever state it was, was heaven. The sweet aroma of mom’s cooking filled the room and reminds us of our empty stomach, dinner was taken as if it was our last meal. Then it was playtime again, rushing outside to the howling friends, in a flamboyant mood.

Marbles, hide and seek etc. we entertained ourselves with ostentation. The future, there was not a thought about it. Merry making was the primary aim and nothing was better without friends. Second to none was the Saturdays, how the day goes no one knows but it was always spent with vigor and enthusiasm.

CHRISTMAS! How could one stroll down yesteryears and not think of childhood Christmas? In our Christian tradition, nothing was anticipated and prepared as much as the Christmas. Families reunite with love and dear ones.

Everyone buys new clothes and we couldn’t wait to show our friends and peers on the day. I remember vividly the time my dad bought me and my sister a pair of shoes, they were not ordinary shoes, we call them ‘Pheikhawk varthei’ (LED shoes).

We were excited to the core, we wouldn’t take them off. We slept with it, eat with it even bath with it. The world was literally at our feet. We valued it higher than gold. The smile and happiness it bought us must have been a sight to our parents.

Then as a boy, there was the ‘Silaite’ (toy gun). It was a must have toy for all the boys around the village. We played ‘ṭheng ṭhenga’ and boy did we enjoy ourselves.

Then comes the Christmas dinner, while we were singing hymns in the lengkhawm hall, the aromatic ‘Christmas masala’ of ‘chartang and hmepawk’ filled our nostrils. Dinner was served in heaps, the spicy chartang and the soothing hmepawk complements each other so well, the taste was satisfying and heavenly, it revives the taste buds.

Then comes the New-year celebration, equally hyped with Christmas. Those days will forever be etched in our hearts. Time flies by and nothing surpasses the exciting memories of childhood.

Life is short and we must use it to the fullest, make mistakes and learn from them, fall in love and be loved. Everybody loves a story, the stupid and crazy things that we did will be an interesting story to tell our children and grandchildren.

What we do determines who we are. Setting up the right environment is vital. At the end of the day, all that we inherit is a 6 ft. long earth and nothing matters any more than the soul.