The fairyland where dreams, fantasy and reality co-exist. Childhood!
Mudfights, skinned knees, grazed elbows. Holi without mineralised water. Midnight feasts with cousins (much b4 Enid Blyton). Making mock sandwiches by stuffing 2 halves of a peanut with squashed jaggery. Lollipops made of tamarind and chilli powder…
Our generation lived childhood.
Even the aging veterans with memory lapses cannot forget childhood. Each memory crystal clear in its fragile wrapping, colorful and untouched – just like the paintings of Ajanta Ellora.
My most vivid flashbacks of age six:
1. 1st day of school: Sheer torture. It was shock enough to be chucked out of the womb. Now they wanted me to leave home! I could never understand the logic behind leaving my cozy cocoon for unchartered territories.
So, I rebelled – by attacking the most unsuspecting victim. My school Principal!
2. Running away from school: An inevitable outcome of point 1. The poor rickshaw driver made a U-turn and dropped me back home. He was terrified that people would attack him, mistaking my road-rage for a kidnapped kid!
3. Loving ‘Homework’! : Yes, I was a nerd. But the true reason for loving homework, is that it signaled the end of school day. So, in my mind, Homework on black board = Freedom around the corner…and Home!
4. Toothaches : A perennial dentist’s candidate, I dreaded Wednesdays. I remember that one time his drill drilled into my gums – and my prompt vendetta by throwing up my breakfast all over his apron. The best outcome of these painful encounters was the beginning of my love affair with books. Click here.
5. First Crush: AB’S voice. Deep, rich, cultured, sensual, delicious.
I remember Mom teasing me that he was already married. I made an immediate compromise – in that case, I would marry Abhishek Bachchan, I said sincerely and seriously.
7. Number 2: As Boman says in ‘3 Idiots’, nobody remembers the second-best. My very first report card carried rank 2. I only knew the existence of a certain holy, revered and exalted ‘No.1’, which meant the winner.
I thought Rank No. 2 = I had failed in Kindergarten!
Of course, my parents were over the moon, considering point 6’s prediction.
8. I turned Vegetarian: In all innocence, I used to think mutton and chicken grew in fields or upon trees. And then I saw it happen b4 my eyes at the butcher’s shop. Instant transformation. Hallelujah Veg food!
So, now that I am an adult – has anything changed? Not much.
I still hate leaving home (though I have to mute my tantrums), I still brighten up at the thought of going home, I still drool over AB’S voice, I still love Veg food, still despair at the dentist’s.
I still believe that good guys will win in the end. I still believe in Heroes.
Life was never meant to be a backward journey.
The challenge is to mature without getting cynical. To age without losing innocence.