Regardless of the personal relationships, my parents gave me all the opportunities in life. Every summer holiday there was summer camp, outings, we lived outdoors, we played outdoors all the time…and when I look back, I know I had a beautiful childhood.
Puja Gurung, 38 years, Entrepreneur, Bangalore
Interviewed by Poorva Dinesh
Why did you decide to speak on childhood?
I think everybody’s childhood influences what they become in life. For me especially, how I grew up or what happened to me in my childhood years has shaped me, but I didn’t realize this as I was growing up. Everyone thinks they have the worst childhood ever, everyone has some sad childhood story to tell. Aww…I didn’t get along with the parents…aww…you know some sad story to tell…especially in the teenage angst years and young adulthood. But you don’t realize your childhood has impacted you in such a way until, I guess, you have children of your own. And you start seeing things from your parents’ perspective and from your own parenthood’s perspective and what you want for your children. So you start looking back on life and analyzing everything and then you come to a point when you realize “yes my childhood was actually beautiful”.
How was your childhood?
Well…see, my childhood was very different. I was adopted as a three-year-old by my own aunt…my father’s sister. I had a very difficult childhood in terms of a personal relationship with my adopted mother. They took me away to Hong Kong because that’s where they were working, but other than the personal relationship with her in the family setting, everything else was amazing. The school I went to, the friends I had, the place we lived, the opportunities I had…I mean regardless of the personal relationships, they gave me all the opportunities in life. Every summer holiday there was summer camp, outings, we lived outdoors, we played outdoors all the time…and when I look back, I know I had a beautiful childhood; (adds passionately) forget about the little relationship issue.
An incident in your childhood you remember even today like it happened yesterday?
Like I said, every weekend we used to do some adventurous activity or the other. We were once climbing a hill called needle point hill, and it had a very sharp incline and it was a difficult hill to climb. We might have been between 9 to 11 years of age. I don’t remember exactly…It was a difficult climb but we managed to make it up the hill, and as we descended down the hill, the view in front of us was the most amazing view ever. And I can still picture that. When we reached the beach at the bottom of the hill, there was a stream flowing into the ocean, where the salty and the fresh waters met, there was soft sand where we played… I don’t know what that was…other than the view and the friends there was something else magical about the moment…I can’t quite put my finger on it, but that memory always stayed with me.
A trait in you that you can trace back to your childhood?
The need to stay neat and clean and have everything in its place (laughs).
I am still like that and some people call me obsessive compulsive, and it drives my children crazy.
What does love mean to you?
At the stage in life I am right now, I think love for me is mutual respect for each other and accepting each other regardless of your flaws, and just being there at times of need and understanding each other.
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