Life sure knows how to think of the good old days when you’re working in a busy bustling metropolitan city with barely any time on your hands to just lie back on a freshly mowed lawn.
Being an army officer’s son, I’ve moved around rather frequently during my childhood. Sure, it does have its lows initially when the friend circle starts dwindling and replenishing every now and then but every new place and the new bonds made are something to be cherished. Of course, that never stopped my dear parents from making the occasional ‘extra’ trip every once in a while to some erstwhile unknown or rather well known place. Bless them! Vague memories still come to my mind, more so now, amidst the everyday wails of car horns an cursing people.
I remember a particularly amusing incident when my dad decided I should learn how to catch fish, maybe even make a sport out of it. So we went spooling with my mum in tow, bored because she knew neither would catch any and therefore ready with the box full of sandwiches. So by the Peacock Bay we sat in the Academy campus, the Khadakwasla dam looming nearby. Two grown people and an eight year old who held what looked like a long pole with loose wire all about it. After trying to stick the bait onto the hook and only managing to stick my finger into it every time, I borrowed my father’s line and tried as hard as I could to jerk it back and throw it into the still blue water. The first time, I let it too loose and it got stuck somewhere in a nearby tree. It took the joint effort of both of them to get it down. The second time, I entangled myself in it and the hook lodged itself somewhere nasty. I don’t quite remember where but it hurt. I do believe I gave up after that run. Numerous awful pinpricks (hook-pricks, rather) and some delicious sandwiches afterwards did not manage to give me a second wind and after seeing some peacocks looking bewildered, I remember going out with my pals cycling and myself a little more by diving straight into thorny hedges (I was still learning and rather disoriented!)
People who have seen the movie ‘Up’ would be able to recognize my next little anecdote. With my head always high up in clouds thinking the most unimaginable turns of events, I would wander out of our bungalow with a light saber in hand when my parents took me for their nightly walks. I was around the same age as when the fishing incident happened. It must have been a particularly strange part of my life, now that I think about it. I would leave my parents behind, run helter and skelter with a lighted light saber (for those who don’t know what it is, watch Star Wars), pretending I’m on a mission of some sort. I would then fearlessly walk into some vines and climb some large rocks which in my head, resembled wasted green mountains until I would remember my fear of snakes and my little ‘adventure’ in the ‘woods’ would be postponed. My father’s stories about his training and his work and my being a great fan of both Tom Sawyer and Luke Skywalker had egged me on too many such escapades!
Walking my labrador with my father when I was smaller than she was, trying to make her wear my shoes only to realise she had two more feet than I did must have evoked the thinking ability in me while I also listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and decided I would be a great musician someday. Shooting with a catapult at stray monkeys in the yard and then having them rage at a little army of boys, myself included, when the catapult turned into a pea shooter was less scary than it should have been, somehow. Ruining dad’s beloved garden and destroying more than a month of his hard work by playing football in the lawn probably shows that I’m not such a nature lover after all. Yet, after I discovered my love for writing and becoming rather passionate about it, I found myself writing poetry sitting on a jhoola on the porch.
Picking up fallen mangoes in the middle of torrential rain at nine and at five, memorizing the names of all the places I visited and all the gentle as well as savage rivers in Uttarakhand (then Uttar Pradesh) I saw for more than a month and then reeling it all off to everyone I could speak to probably make up only but a few noteworthy moments of my yet short life. Many years later, when my love for books had reached new heights, I was in Shillong not seeing the beauty around me but preferring to indulge myself in a think paper bound copy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’! I’ve seen nearly every tourist destination in India and some abroad and been to places most people aren’t allowed to see. I will always remember sitting all alone on a long sandy beach with many tiny red crabs a few paces away for company, thinking about the Moon and watching as the tide slowly crept inward. Snorkelling and diving with the fishes I hate to eat and gliding with a few watchful disdainful birds have only taught me one thing - to live and to value the force that gives it peace and possibly, some meaning since we cared enough to think about such and decided to call it culture.
Art and beauty and love and pain have always been the central part of my thoughts and my imagination. I have lived a very real life, tangibly full of the real human bonds that make us who we are. My love for books made me see everything in new and unique ways I possibly could not have but it was the real experiences with my parents and with the people I met everyday that taught me how to understand those books. Reading Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’ in today’s world gone haywire, I can only think how people are moving towards her dystopic world instead of spending a little more time just living. I can only be glad I lived and learned as I did and because of all of that, I can now do it all in just a different manner; with a novel, a text editor, a guitar and several gigabytes of rock music. All that’s left now is to accomplish my dreams so I won’t go to the grave with disappointment in my heart. Well, since I know and keep learning how to see with my eyes both open and closed, I doubt I would be all too let down.
Life is just every next beautiful moment.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
- George Bernard Shaw
- George Bernard Shaw
PS: This post has been written for the Indiblogger contest, 'The Kissan 100% Real Blogger Contest', sponsored by Kissan.