As I sip my evening tea, seated next to the window of my drawing room, I notice a group of children playing in the adjacent car park. This group, comprising of boys of all ages and sizes, and also two girls, indulge themselves in sports, such as, football and cricket.
The chattering group seem to enjoy playing, running hither and thither, cheating and fighting; bring forth every bit of the innocence that is common to kids and which, everyone had undergone in their own childhood.
Although much of today’s generation is indulged in electronic gaming, with their little heads almost dipping into their hand held devices, it was a refreshing feeling to see these kids playing in the Sun. I felt if I could join them for a game or two, but then, a momentary worry caught my attention. Not that whether they would include me in their sport, but, I was feeling uneasy, because, all my playful emotions have now been surpassed, and I felt I would not be of my enthusiastic self.
I believe childhood is one fantasy, which we spend like a beautiful dream and enjoy at best, and which exhausts so suddenly that all memories of it is lost in a way, that we no longer will be successful to stitch together, the now scattered dreams.
I faintly remembered my childhood at that instance. Every summer vacation, we used to travel to Mangalore with a cricket bat. My cousin brother used to wait for us for hours, and as soon as we reach home, I used to brandish the bat in the air, showing him the bat, and immediately we used to play cricket in our verandah, even without bothering to change our clothes. The occasion used to be vociferous, aggressive and joyous. And play, we used to, from dawn to dusk, and the next day till our vacations were finally over that we did not care a dime for other earthly activities.
Then, there was our house owner’s son in Hyderabad, a big bully, who used to boss at almost everything that he wished for. During Sankranthi, almost the entire city used to fly kites. The big bully would have his own arsenal of kites and would swear at us that he would rip our kites, if we were not going to help him in smearing powdered (tube light) glass on the kites’ chords.
Sankranthi was also a war of sorts between kite fliers of neighboring buildings and also a rare occasion when the big bully used to gel with us. It was usually a battle between kids of our building and the neighboring buildings. On such occasions, allies are formed and strategies discussed. He used to be our Don Quixote and I was his personal squire Sancho Panza (I mean, to hold the chord as he used to fly his kite). There was excellent camaraderie and chivalry, as we used to fly our kites. We used to cheer as we cut through the other kites and used to moan when our kite went down. The entire locality used to thrive with kids, flying their kites and running to catch the kites that were cut.
It was gladdening to see that these emotions are inherent to kids of even this generation, irrespective of whether there is an electronic equipment or gaming system that would steal away these top memories of their childhood.
Even during our time, we had the ‘Idiot box’ or the Television set. Apart from the normal kiddo cartoon episodes, such as, Spiderman, Jungle Book etc., we also craved to watch good serials, such as, Mr. Yogi, Vikram aur Betal etc. Although, my parents were strict with the timings to allow us to watch the TV, I (who was scared to switch-on the TV set myself) used to secretly indicate to my kid brother using my eyes about the start of a serial. My innocent brother used to switch-on the TV and face the brunt of my parents, and I used to escape.
But despite this interest in watching the TV, we were more keen to play in the outside. It is, of course, the encouragement of our parents and the same seems to happen even now, indicating that certain things do not change despite the changing times.
If nature has given us such a beautiful dream called ‘Childhood’, then, let us understand that the child should be allowed to enjoy it, to its maximum. By allowing them to play in the sun and the wind, roll in the dust, we should be the driving force of tomorrow’s children so that they live this dream.