I was born in a very poor family. We were 7 children and I was the fifth. My parents eked a living by weaving bamboos and I got apprenticed to the profession before I was 5. I had already learnt to weave bamboo mats when I was 4 years old and I helped my elder brothers whenever it pleased me. It was fun. But when I turned 5, I was put in a local school. The school would be over by 1 O'clock and after returning home I helped my brothers in weaving bamboos. But I had to weave one 7' x 5' mat on school-off days. It was no more fun but hard work. I was so small that after weaving a mat string from one end to the other of the mat, I had to make a frog-jump to come to the original position to start weaving again. About 100 such strings had to be woven in a mat and I had to make as many leaps before I finished one. The morning rice gruel and the noon steamed tapioca was consumed for the energy and I would soon become empty-stomached again. Still I was happy if I could complete the mat by the time the sound of the Chennai (then Madras)-Kochi aircraft boomed above our small house (at about 2.30pm). It was child labor and my people could have been charged-a distinct probability now. I dashed off then jocundly to the dusty courtyards in my loin clothes to play with the emaciated neighborhood children. I still recall my bamboo weaving days when I go to my village where the villagers are still engaged in the work. It was a big help to have had started working so early in life.