Tag Archives: past

Remembering childhood

Summer afternoons have this amazing quality of transporting me back to my childhood. A magical, magical place! Of course, I was not aware how magical it was at that time. It is in retrospect that the present looks magical.

I think the best part of the afternoons was between five thirty and seven. The sun would have set by then. If we were lucky, the trees would start to wave and blow some wind. My brother and his gang of players would be playing cricket on the green slice of field in the middle of the neighborhood. Sometimes these balls would end up hitting the tin roof or the wooden windows of an annoyed neighbor and he’d be rushing out of the house with angry eyes, asking, “Who has the audacity to hit the ball on my roof again? Today, if I don’t stop this game of yours, my name is not So-and-so!”

When there would be no right answer from the boys’ gang, rather loud pleas for the ball to be returned, he’d just fetch the ball from the courtyard and scream that the boys could wave the ball goodbye. They could go buy another. Better yet, they should stop playing altogether.

Some of these neighbors now have kids and grand kids of the same age as my brother was then. I am not there to see how the cricket games are unfolding these days, but I am sure the scenario wouldn’t have changed much. It would just be fresh set of annoyed neighbors, and another bunch of enthusiastic kids. That’s probably one thing that is still unchanged about my hometown, the fields are still played in.

I was never a part of these games, rather a spectator from a distance, from my balcony. Or sometimes, after I got my bicycle, I would be circling the neighborhood, with the air flowing through my shoulder length hair, watching the kids play, tasting my own kind of freedom.

There were days when there were storms, when the kids would be forced indoors. At the onset of the storm, the dry dust would rise up, almost choking us and blocking view. With the dust rose stray plastics that were strewn all over the neighborhood. On those days, my brother and I sang our hearts out, as we watched from the balcony the trees bend with the vigor of wind and rain. The air smelled so sweet, sweet from the smell of mangoes and the smell of moist Earth. Throughout the storm, my mother would be shouting to close the balcony door and get indoors, because the water would come inside. But who would want to pay any heed to her? Besides, closing the doors meant pitch darkness inside, because the storm always meant no power, and a solid hotness inside the house.

Where I live today I don’t have a balcony to sit and enjoy the rains. Today, there are thousands of miles between that balcony and me, but in that space, the heart is still the same age as in those summer afternoons. A bunch of simple children who wanted to do everything but study, a bunch of parents whose simple aim was to get the children to study and do well in life. I am sure most of us are doing well in the expected sense of the word. But somewhere, we are still stuck in those afternoons, refusing to accept that we grew up.

 

All these free moving feet, yet, freedom is a rare luxury!

As I write this, I am listening to In the End by Linkin Park. “I tried so hard… in the end, it doesn’t even matter.”

I think it nicely summarizes how I feel right now. Sometimes, when are you in a truly calm state, when you are having a conversation with yourself, you think about the deeper issues which you do not discuss with anyone else. For example, why is there so much pain in the world? Is there God?

Sometimes, I wonder, is life a forward moving journey? As your cells age, as your cheeks wrinkle and greys appear in your hair, do you always move in a linear progression, moving on from one experience to the other, learning things? Or is it rather a game of snake and ladder? You are constantly trying to move ahead, but circumstances, situations, keep pulling you backward. You feel you are moving ahead, but all the while, you are probably regressing. You might reach that final square too, but only if you are too lucky.

The answer is both. There are simple mistakes that we make, things that we learn from and make the correction part of our lives. But there are other issues which are deep-rooted. Sometimes, we don’t even realize these are issues. We jump from one mistake to the other, like a deer caught in a flashlight, confused, scared.

But today’s post is really about freedom. Everyday, each one of us, move from point A to point B, our free feet taking us wherever we want to go physically. Yet, how many of us are truly free? How many of us left last night behind ourselves, as hopeless as it was, and decided to live today like it was truly a new day, without the accumulated baggage of our lingering past?

Everyday when I go to bed and cannot fall asleep, I crave for a freedom from the thoughts swarming in my mind. Thoughts which are like buzzing bees without a hive to go back to. Thoughts which just swirl up, digging up the past in a new light, giving new meanings to things that have happened, giving new intonations to conversations that are long lost in the silent chambers of the past.

Meanwhile, the LP guys scream, “I will break away, and find myself today…”

I really want to find myself, that free me, who does things as she likes. She who does not require validation from anyone. She who is not a slave of the past. She moves like the wind through the present without the worry of the future being another version of the past.

Someday. Someday!