I’ve had a rather comforting revelation of late though it may sound silly at the same time. Up until a few months ago, I used to look back at my childhood and feel nostalgic at how times have changed. How everything was all innocent and cosy back then, or how the world seemed so much smaller or how my whole universe was limited to home, the streets in front where I would play with my friends each evening, the exact route to school, the classroom and so on. A particularly fond memory of childhood is the festive time of Dusshera and Diwali. It all would start from Ramlilas in the neighbourhood parks. I haven’t been to a lot of them but for the few of which I’ve been to; the best part for me always included buying the colourfully decorated swords or the archery sticks and the launching instrument( spare my poor English translation of teer-kaman) after coming out of the mela.
Memories of coming out to the road where yellow-orange street lights reflect the light on charcoal black surface at the night when it’s a bit chilly and windy at the same time and making up my mind about what to buy looking at the square board displaying all the Dusshera artefacts for children on shifty carts while some cars and other vehicles zoom past away, mesmerise me. Or how I used to play with large balloons in India Gate lawns with my brother and cousins and how I was absolutely nuts about water bubbles that are always floating around in that particular corner of the world. Birthdays felt a lot more magical back then too. To share another bit of a memory, it was a ritual at home for me and my brother to be woken upto to fresh flower bouquets and ChocoPies on our birthdays (Frankly, it still would have been the same for me if it wasn’t for the gelatine in Chocopie controversy). Cutting the cake while everyone around you sings “Happy Birthday To You” like it really matters to them that it’s your birthday because they have such a wide grin on their face and are even wearing clownish hats, and the way your parents organise the whole party for you.
I used to think that it was a thing of past, a time of innocence. But I can still see little kids waiting for their buses in the morning smiling away or being giddy about things kids are giddy about. I can still see those little kids buying swords and archery kits, I can still see kids playing with balloons at India Gate and a lot of water bubbles there. I still witness birthday parties being hosted for kids turning 7 or 8. And sometimes when I think out loud, I wonder if kids still do things that I used to. “Ofcourse they do, just because you grew up doesn’t mean kids aren’t kids anymore”, my mum always says.
This is the part where I felt silly because suddenly it’s so much simpler and obvious. The individualistic people that we are, we often forget how self absorbed we tend to become living in a society that tells us to think for ourselves and do what we want to do. In the same way, I didn’t realise how wrong was I to pity little kids at this point of time in the Gregorian calendar that they don’t have the delights that we did. True, to an extent values change with the passage of time. I didn’t have a cellphone until 11th standard and I can look at a 6 year kid with a cellphone or an iPod and say that with a hint of condescension. Well then, so can my dad do that to me. He didn’t have a cellphone up until he was 30 years old.
That’s the nature of things then, I suppose now. A bit of everything changes with a new generation but the core joys, emotions, things that make human beings happy on a general level remain the same. The ways to celebrate life may change, we may become technologically advanced and morally degraded but still life would always be about a few good things- Birthdays, picnics, school, and festivals and so on. Now the reason why I found it comforting was because that’s one time when you can say “Life is wonderful” and actually mean it. Although that’s not to say that grown up life is not wonderful. It has its own joys and happy moments. It’s just a bigger world than a 7 yr old’s world, it’s just more complicated to the kid’s simple world and it’s just about more responsibilities than the childhood’s carefree world. But then again, life is easier to appreciate when you look at it from a detached point of view, that’s to say, from a wholesome point of view.
Time will not come back for anyone (No, I won’t consider the possibility of a time travel machine, it won’t be quite the same thing even if time travel were possible so I’d just leave it at that) but as Green Day sings “It’s something unpredictable but in the end, it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life”. I hope you do have the time of your life while you still can because in bits and pieces, life really is wonderful.