There was a time… There was a time when world around was simpler and more beautiful. Unfortunately, it seems that the world has changed while remaining static. There was a time when I was in Kindergarten and cried the hell out during an exam just because I just ‘didn’t feel like’ writing the exam. I forced the teachers to call my mother (our home was a two minutes walk away). As she stood outside the class, I forced her to come inside in the exam time, held her hand tight and said…
“Haan… Likhiye… Likhiye na… Main bol raha hoon, aap likhiye… (Ya… Write… Write no… Write as I say)”
“Tum likho na… Exam hai… main kaise likhoongi? (You write… It’s an exam dear… I am not supposed to write in the exam)”
“Uff!! Mera haath dard kar raha hai… Aap likhiye… Likhiye… A… P… P… L… E… Likhiye na… Dekh kya rahe hain? (Uff! My hands are aching… You write… Write… A… P… P… L… E… Write no… Why are you looking at me?)”
Those were some moments that shall be cherished forever. Once I declared that elephant is a bird… Well not my fault… An animated cartoon series showed a flying elephant… and as we all know… ‘Anything that flies is a bird’ and so elephant – which flew – was a bird… Simple!🙂
Another instance which I remember was when our school teachers gave us homework to ‘write all the English alphabets five times each without looking (bina dekhe)‘. Now the ‘without looking’ meant not to turn overleaf where the alphabets were already written (as classwork) and write them out of memory. But being a very ‘obedient’ kid in the class, I took the words ‘without looking’ literally and there you go… I sit on my bed, with my eyes towards the ceiling, probably closed, trying to write the English alphabets five times each in my ‘four-lined note book’ (I hope you remember them… Don’t you?)
And today in my hostel room, I recall those memories. Golden days. Days which define a natural, carefree, unrestricted life. One in which words like personal, private, ego, deceit and dishonesty don’t crop up. There was nothing to hide back then. When happy, we would laugh our hearts out, when sad we would cry as if hell has broken loose, and when angry we would swear never to talk to that person again at his face.
Those were the days… Today when happy, we no longer laugh, we are grown-ups, we smile; when sad, we no longer cry aloud, we are grown-ups, we sob silently inside a pillow; and when angry at someone, we no longer shout off at his face, we are grown-ups, we remain silent, let the anger grow and ultimately seek revenge.
Oh we do a lot more as grown-ups. We start having our personal lives (oh god… I hate this word so badly). We make a point not to intrude into ones personal space (you see, the same thing has two names) and get outraged if someone breaches our privacy (now it has three names).
But yet in this grown-up world we try to preserve our childhood via friends. Well my definition of friends is a very strict one… Friends… a group of people where ‘good morning’ or any general salutation is replaced by… well… you know what. A group of people who fight so hard that they forget that they are friends. A group of people who care about each other in ways unspeakable, who share joys in ways indescribable, who share tears in ways inaudible.
I have always been extremely selective about friends. But yes, I do make friends, the real good friends. But sometimes… just sometimes big words like ‘personal space’, ‘personal life’, ‘privacy’ seem to mist the transparent air around. Those times, I seem to loose my childhood, I seem to loose my power to make friends – real friends; and in those times I write…