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If you carry your childhood with you , you never become older"-Tom Stoppard
the vista of lavish gifts of life, ‘childhood ‘is the most enduring phase endowed upon humanity. These pleasant memories are profusely imbibed in our minds. The imprints are still a fresh and the serenity of silent autumns and warm Summers of childhood ,still have an indelible mark on me, and for life’s longing. A small house with a big balcony and wide windows, where there were wide screens of nature and not the multiplexes . The magnificent view with chirpy birds and hustling leaves on the ground. The squirrels and mynas play takes over the computer games. The fresh and chilly breeze replaces all the airconditioners . The fireplace with burning logs of wood in the winters does not adds on to smog but warmth of cosy confines of the hill house.The making of paper boats in the monsoon rains was our favourite pastime and hobby. The muddy rocky undiscovered paths leading to the house, replacement to all gyms, treadmills and walking plazas. People here were still untouched by junk food or beverages, as the green vegetables grew outside the house with natural fertiliser of cowdung ,did not require green houses or chemicals and chilled water from the ancient Wells barred the entry of water coolers. Thank God , I had my childhood before the technology took over. Yes memories of childhood are pristine, our invaluable possessions , which are mortgaged to adulthood, these memories, nostalgic moments , recollections from the past, still overwhelm my mind.
Every time when vacations approach,my mind and heart automatically reminds me of my maternal grandparents and their home.
Instead of visiting unexplored lands , visiting temples as devotees for the blessings or hanging out with friends, I rather chose to visit the sojourned place every year.
The reasons attributed , may be the ‘period of innocence and dreams’ spent there, before facing the big bad world, the emotions and the urge to go back to the land of nostalgia , always pulled me back, to relive the cherished moments of childhood. ‘When I was a child’, The time spent with the grandparents was the short golden period , as they always shielded us from the most harsh and rude conditions. The life was full of royal treatments, superiority and dominance.
I still distinctly recollect , how the rooster played the role of an alarm clock, the mud and clay pots became our toys and the vast green fields during Summers , became our playgrounds, where we roamed under the scorching Sun or the Star-lit skies , day and night , but without any purpose, reason or objective. It was purely the luxury of doing ‘nothing.’ Heavy lunch followed by warm siestas in the lap of nature, and dinner with star-gazing session , was my favorite pastime . The very thought of tasting the ripe mangoes under the mango trees in the orchard , still satiates and calms down my turbulent mind. The recurring image of Gambol of children , in the afternoon, hanging to the mango trees and going to and fro and at times crash landing , is still so fresh in the thoughts. Now , when I re-visit my memories and compare them to the present times, things have changed drastically.
Touches of modernization and fast transformation are every where.
Nothing is same now, memories are forged and recollections are deceived. I feel cheated at times, my rustic life is long gone and lost. But I am still a child at heart, ready to jump in the puddle or climb trees like monkeys. Earlier the houses were on the finger tips and so was the name of the residents . But my thoughts are still diversely coloured and vividly pleasant with memories of bygone Era called ‘childhood’, the memories are similar to a swift flowing river but , at times ,some where amidst the turbulence , they get lost.
As the past and present intermingle, they lose beginning, unaware of the end and still flow swiftly at times. I still desire for old times , but then life has to move on, that too on its own pace……for better. But I am still a child at heart, so my “childhood is still alive in me”. Yeh Daulat Bhi Le Lo,
Yeh Shohrat Bhi Le Lo,
Bhale Chheen Lo Mujhse Se Meri Jawani,
Magar Mujhko Lauta Do bachpan Ka Sawan..
Wo Kagaz Ki Kashti, wo Baarish Ka Paani.. Take this money,
take this fame as well,
snatch my youth from me if you so wish,
but return me those rains of childhood,
that paper boat, that rain-water..
Kadi Dhoop Me Apne Ghar Se Nikalna,
Wo Chidia Wo Bulbul Wo Titli Pakadna ,
Wo Gudia Ki Shaadi Pe Ladna jhagadna,
Wo Jhoolon Se Girna Wo Gir Ke Sambhalna,
Wo Peetal Ke Chhalon Ke Pyare Se Tohfe,
Wo Tooti Hui Choodion Ki Nishani
Wo Kagaz Ki Kashti Wo Baarish Ka Paani, going out of house in strong sun,
that catching birds, nightingales and butterflies,
that fighting on dolls’ weddings,
that falling from swings, and be on your feet again,
those lovely gifts of brass rings,
those souvenirs of broken bangles..
that paper boat, that rain-water.. These lines sung by the late legendary singer Jagjit Singh, truly summarize my childhood.