I’m four years old in this memory. Once every week, my two best friends and I attend a group lesson at the YAMAHA music school in the city centre. My mother and my friend’s mother take turn in driving us all to the class. “All” consists of my two friends and myself, our little siblings, and three mothers. Nine of us cram into a five-seater and travel to our group lesson together.
After about 10-minute drive, we arrive at the parking inside the shopping arcade next to the music school. The two worker men, who look like of our grandfather’s age, never fail to be surprised by the number of people coming out of the tiny five-seater.
“Good grief!” They exclaim. “There’re more coming out?!”
One day, my mother is driving us back home when a police car pulls up and stops us. A kind-looking policeman approaches us and peeks into the car. Of course, we are overcrowded, breaking the rule. But his gaze halts on what is resting on my mother’s back.
“Madam, you cannot drive with a baby on your back!” His tone is firm. “This car is overcrowded, yes. But driving with your child on your back? Absolutely not! You’re risking your child’s life, too!”
Even my rebellious mother has nothing to say to this. She apologizes and – to her great disappointment – accepts to pay the fine.
The next week, we are back to driving with nine people in the five-seater as if nothing had happened. But my mother stops carrying my brother on her back. She asks my friend’s mother to hold him instead.