The author of this blog stopped writing here long time back. The posts published here embarrass her now. And hence, there is very little chance that she is going to write here again.

This blog is hence declared to be in a state of COMA.

Once upon a time when we were innocent

In the barren lawns of a plot under construction, stood a cart. Around half a dozen little children were frolicking around, in the little space that the cart had to offer. While their parents—all daily wage earners—were sweating it out in the cruel heat of June, laying bricks, carrying loads of cement on their weak shoulders that rested on under-nourished bodies, and were doing all other jobs that any construction laborer would, these children were too happy to have found some sort of a treasure. To me it all looked like some dangerous tribal people had found their food for the day—a healthy man—and were taking good care of it, feeding it and decorating it, so that the meal would turn out to be a delicious one. Spooky. 

But no. For such young creatures, that too no tribal man-eaters, nothing can be truly 'treasure-able' apart from two things: food and toys. And for children who are taught how to lead a life of misery, of deficiencies, of suffering and of perpetual labor, anything eatable is food and anything playable, a toy
What they now had were actually two life-size animal figure—pieces that must have adorned the intricately done interiors of a plush household, till maybe they got inflicted with some scratches or lost their sheen or simply didn't look new anymore. Hence, they came into the dirty little hands of these poor kids, who seemed lost in their own world—thinking that they were doing 'horse-riding'. What's illusion to us adults is actually imagination, but for children, very much the reality. No wonder, nothing is impossible for them, nothing sad and nothing negative. No wonder, we might lack the spirit of life, they don't.

Two minutes, couldn't have been more than that, the time for which I kept looking at them while walking on my way to the market with dad. There was something about the whole scene that seemed to connect. Had I not been on my way for some work, had I not been walking on a busy road and most importantly, had I not been hesitant, I'd have stopped there, observed more, smiled as I still did (inspite of being quite a distance away) and maybe even captured them in a still. "Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder," sure. I had found something magnificent in a seemingly ordinary situation.

And that something was, innocence. Now, those kids were just about 4/5/6 year old, but what they were doing had, unknowingly, brought to life the sweetness of childhood, its innocence, purity and care-free-ness: right in front of my eyes. They were so small that even I, at just 5 feet and one inch, would have felt like Gulliver in the land of dwarfs. One, in his tiny underpants, sat on the cart's seat as the "driver," while the others exchanged turns to 'ride' on it. They were dirty, un-bathed, barely clothed and very small, yet cute. Why? 'Coz they were innocent. They were kids. You can look cute, anyone can, all that you'll need is a bit of grooming, styling or good dressing, good clothes or let's say, prettiness? But, you cannot "look" innocent. I mean, that is something you can't fake. Anything, but not that. And that is what sets childhood apart, making it the forever cherished, remembered, longed for and valued phase of life. 

Do you remember, as a child barely out in the world, being conscious about your hairstyle (or the lack of it) OR what brands you were being made to wear (or whether they were brands at all or not) OR how fat/thin you looked OR whether that over-fed tummy of yours was coming out in a picture OR your skin, pimples, shoes, clothes, perfumes, cosmetics etc etc? Did this all ever matter to you then, as much as it does today? No matter how simple a person you might be, your answer will still be a 'no', I'm sure. 

Nothing was impossible in those days, nothing at all, it was the spirit of life at its peak. There was nothing that could keep us sad, distressed for anything longer than a couple of hours, a max. 'Coz life had something new to offer at every moment, every day. Happiness came not cheap, but free. Yet it was precious. A new toy, a round of applause from the teacher and class, for reciting one of those nursery rhymes, a good drawing ...we could locate a reason to smile in just about anything and everything. There was nothing like a "double-meaning", everything was simple and straight. We'd fight with friends, and come together very soon, without any thoughts, without any complaints borne in the heart. We'd be always willing to help someone in need and, the best part was, we didn't even realize we did something for someone. Forget about expecting them to remember our favor always, 'coz it wasn't a favor in the first place. Our hearts were like this clear, polished, shiny glass floor that had many people (feelings) walking on it all the time, yet, they couldn't malign it. It was all so amazing. There was so much hope, happiness, satisfaction and love, that even we couldn't measure. Best part, we were innocent, and we didn't even know this.  

Saying anything else about childhood would be like stating the obvious. maybe, that's what I have been doing till now. But I couldn't help it—getting nostalgic, dreamy and all philosophical—when I saw the essence of childhood at display. Of all the other gazillion wishes that we make all the time, one is very common. The "wish", the dream, to experience childhood allover again, to be innocent again. You know why? 

It is because children know nothing, yet everything. They aren't as literate as us, yet, far more learned. They don't know what "being practical" is all about, 'coz they think everything is possible. They don't philosophize, yet, know about the spirit of life way better than the greatest of all philosophers. They are ignorant, hence, they are happy. 

Let us reserve a place for the kid that we were, in some part of our mind, body and soul. Maybe, maybe then, we'd be far happier and contented with who we are and what we have. 

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Rinaya August 14, 2011 at 10:30 PM  

a beautiful post that would make anyone nostalgic.. :)
indeed ignorance is a bliss... & an innocent childhood is a lost treasure!

Sugandha January 6, 2012 at 6:48 PM  

completely agree with you on the last part. Lost treasure.
Thanks so much for reading :)

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