Childhood

By , Flemington, NJ
Power Rangers, Pokémon, Digimon, Zoids, Dexter’s Laboratory, Scooby-Doo, trading cards, toys (lots of toys), losing your baby teeth, the Tooth Fairy, Nintendo 64 (good times…good times), Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon…the list goes on forever. But it’s more than the shows and toys that I grew up with. It’s also the experiences that sculpted my personality today. The countless family vacations in which I had visited cousins in other states and spent time with them. Most of that quality time, however, was spent being tortured by my elder cousins. But, those vacations affected me as I grew up. Even movies that I regret having watched as a child – especially Jaws – had affected how I turned out into the person I am today. There are multiple aspects that impacted me as a kid, but they were important pieces of my past nonetheless.
Television was my life. I had spent hours and hours watching Transformers, Digimon, Pokémon, Scooby-Doo, and so many more epic shows. Even the Disney shows were amusing – Even Stevens especially. I will never forget Shia La Beouf in that show. He was hilarious. But my favorite show as a kid was Power Rangers by far. The Red Ranger kicked butt! The other rangers were still pretty awesome though. For example, the Blue Ranger was always the “cool” guy. The Pink Ranger was the “girly girl” who was usually prettier than the Yellow Ranger. Power Rangers had so many different seasons. Mighty Morphin’, Zeo (not the best), Turbo (my favorite), In Space, Lost Galaxy, Lightspeed Rescue (probably the worst), Time Force, and Wild Force – which was the season I pretty much stopped at. I had almost all of the Megazords – which, in the series, were the giant robots controlled by the rangers whenever they had to battle the monster of the day. Those toys were incredible enigmas to figure out. Some of the Megazords were actually pretty difficult to put together – but I only needed to use the instructions once, then I was good to go. They were always creative in both structure and theme. For instance, the Megazord for Power Rangers Wild Force consisted of a red lion, a blue shark, a black bison, a yellow eagle, and a white tiger. The construction of the Megazord was a bit confusing because the bison could be opened to fold out the legs of the robot, while the lion’s legs could be folded inward to allow the head of the lion form the chest of the robot. There were so many different themes for the Zords (the five robots that would combine to form the Megazord). There were cars, trains, planes, space ships, animals, and even dinosaurs. But Power Rangers was more than toys and a television series for little me – it was a hobby. I always used to run around pretending to be a power ranger by “fighting” the bad guys (basically kicking and punching the air). It was so exciting to pretend I could actually fight (even though I was just a short five-year old). Everyone in my family knew how much I loved power rangers – my parents, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles – everyone! But there was more to my life than acting like the Red Ranger. Family was a huge part of my life, and still is today.
Back in the day, I used to live in Ohio – up until about age eight. I still remember the address: 65 Chenango Drive, Powell, Ohio. It was the best house ever, plus the address was always fun to say. While living there, my family and I visited my cousins in Michigan quite often. They were only three hours away, which resulted in numerous visits. These cousins were on the older end of the spectrum. There was Jiman bhaiya (“bhaiya” is what is used in my culture for elder boys in the family), Nahreen api (“api” is the same as “bhaiya” – but for the girls), and Nabil and Namir (the twins). The twins are ten years older than me, but I never accustomed myself to calling them “bhaiya” – probably because my sister never did. My sister and I just called them by different nicknames: “Wobble” (for Nabil), and “Womilini” (for Namir). The twins were literally my tormentors. These two always attacked my cheeks – pinching and pulling. I was like a red balloon by the end of every visit. These guys adored babies, and new me ever since I was a fat little one. However, they were quite devious when it came to playing with me. One time, for instance, they rolled me up into a “baby burrito” by using the multiple sheets and comforters we had used to make sleeping on the floor of their carpeted basement more comfortable. After rolling me up into the burrito, the twins took my favorite cereal and sat on top of me while eating it. I yelled for help – but this was early in the morning, so the parental units were asleep. I believe that I was like their “guinea pig” as a kid, and now they know what not to do with babies/toddlers. Despite their torturous games – which they believed was “character building” – they were, and always will be, my favorite cousins. I always admired these two. One thing they always did was make great nicknames. Nabil and Namir are the masters of nicknames. For examples, they call their eldest brother “Jammy” as opposed to Jiman bhaiya. Likewise, they call their elder sister “Narz” instead of Nahreen api. Over the years, they have invented at least five different nicknames for me. The very first nickname for me was “Tanz”, and then came “Tanzman”, “Tanzilla”, “Tanzabar” and so many more. These two were essentially the brothers I never had. They were a huge impact on my days as a little boy. But, of course, there were small things in between that affected me as a kid – like movies.
Have you ever seen Jaws? Well I have, when I was six. It was terrifying for a first grader. I feared the pool after seeing Jaws at age six. It took me forever to set foot in the water after seeing people swimming and being eaten. I was always the easily scared kid. No matter how “not so scary” the movie was – I would jump. For example, when I first watched the first Harry Potter movie, I distinctly remember the scene in which Voldemort came out of the bald guy’s head. That scene scared the hell out of me. Other movies that scared me easily were movies like The Ring, The Matrix, and even this one Disney movie called Don’t Look Under The Bed. I know what you’re thinking: “a Disney movie scared you, really?!” But like I said – I was easily frightened by things. In the movie Don’t Look Under the Bed, I was terrified of the antagonist due to his creepy appearance – excessively long finger nails, glazed eyes, and even sharp teeth. Even movies that weren’t meant to be horror movies scared me as a child. For instance, I remember this one scene from The Matrix when they sucked out a bug-like creature from the main character’s belly button. To me, that was disgusting and horrific! Of course, I was only six or seven when I saw this – thanks to my much older cousins deciding to watch it. But due to those experiences, I don’t mind scary movies anymore. They’re actually kind of exciting – when they’re not just pure gore.
So what is “childhood”? Well, for me, it’s the Power Rangers fighting Lord Zed, Nabil and Namir tossing me around and torturing me since I was the “baby” of the family, and being terrified so easily that I’m surprised I didn’t pee my pants. But, I’m content with that childhood. I would never want to change a single part of it (well, maybe watching Jaws until after I learned to swim).





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