Tag Archives: childhood

An incident in the park

imagination____by_punktlosThe child, about six years old, sitting on the park bench was looking curiously at me. It broke my reverie, and as an opening gambit, I smiled, but he continued to stare.

“What’s up young man?” I asked.

“What are you doing?” he asked, point blank.

That un-nerved me a little, for you never know what the kid was thinking. I played safe, “Just imagining things,” I said.

“What things?” he asked.

“All sorts of things,” I said, not really getting the hang of the conversation.

“Why?” he said.

Now there is little you can do when a young person asks you why. So I deflected the question, “My imagination saw your imagination there,” I said, pointing towards the sky.

That hooked him. We were on familiar territory now, in the world of imaginations.

“Where,” he asked. Perhaps he wanted to know the exact location of our imaginations.

“There, above the clouds,” I said, “Where lots of imaginations live.”

“Imaginations live above clouds?” he asked, curious.

“Not all,” I said, “but the better ones like to live above the clouds.”

“How do you know?” he asked.

“I have been studying imaginations all my life. I am an expert on them. My imagination meets the imaginations of so many people. That is what I was doing. ‘I was connecting’,” I explained.

The expression on his face turned to respect. It takes one to know one.

“Your imagination tells you everything?” he asked.

“Imagination can tell anything. Many things that even the scientists do not know,” I said.

“And they don’t lie?” asked the kid, for he wanted to be on sure grounds before proceeding further into the world of imaginations.

“Imaginations can tell you anything, it is up to you to believe them or not. They are not very particular about truth, but they are powerful none the less. They know the truth, which is sometimes difficult to find,” I said.

“But truth is easy to see. They are like facts,” the kid remarked.

“Not so. Most of the times truth is hidden behind layers of feelings. But imagination knows truth, for truth is sweet and imagination is powerful. I will give you an example. There are many poor children who have not seen the inside of a normal home. They imagine how it may be and are happy.”

“They can go anywhere they can imagine,” he asked.

“Yes of course, like you can go on an adventure, or on a spaceship, or fly with superman or fight the aliens. My imagination once saw a beggar child imagination what it would be to go around the city in a car. I decided to take him along with me in my car. And I did. At the end of the ride I asked him how he liked it, and he said, it was good, but he had been around earlier also. I asked him when, and he said, in his imagination. So, you see, imaginations can be pretty accurate.”

“Wonderful!” he exclaimed.

“No, but remember, not everyone is blessed with such great imaginations,” I cautioned, for I knew that he would feel that the world doesn’t need anything more than imagination. “Moreover, the soul needs imagination, but the body needs more worldly solid things.”

He was disappointed, for he seemed to detect a fly in the ointment. “My dad was saying it is all fool’s paradise,” he said.

“Not so. Newton to Einstein, Aristotle to Marx, Leaonardo da Vinci to Picasso – all the great men have had great imaginations, ones they believed in.”

“What was my imagination doing?” asked the boy.

“I don’t know. Did not talk to it. It seemed busy,” I said.

“Yes, it was. It was catching snakes. Huge snakes,” he nodded and said.

“Ah, that explains it. Your imagination was looking very preoccupied,” I said.

“How did you recognize it was my imagination?” he suddenly asked.

“It looked like you,” I said simply.

“Oh,” he said, “there must be millions and billions and gillions of imaginations up there?” he said.

“Not so. Only few imaginations soar so high. Mostly those of kids. Only few adult imaginations go there. Most adult imaginations can not even cross the clouds, let alone reach space. But the one that can go into space can go anywhere in the universe. No, even beyond the universe, but that needs more power,” I explained.

“What’s beyond universe?” he asked.

“Don’t know yet. Have not been able to go there. Imaginations of saints and really good people are so powerful as to break out of universe. But I have talked to some of those who have been beyond, and they say it is wonderful, for there it is without rules and limitations and free,” I said.

We were silent for a while, as we tried to imagine beyond universe. The little boy’s sigh told me that this time he had failed. And that is the danger of growing up. “Boy, never give up imagination even though at times it will not be able to take you where you want. The imagination of the adults becomes feeble only because they stop believing in them. They start believing too much in the real world, which, I am sure you know, is also imaginary,” I concluded with a smile, and decided to let his imagination figure out the rest.

***

 ((Pic courtesy: punktlos from the net))


A mom’s disbelief

I can scarcely believe
that my whiff of a girl
has actually managed to get
her head full of trigonometry,
and organic chemistry,
and bosons,
and what-not,
and is in college!!
 
No! Don’t tell me
that this young twit,
who would die of hunger
if she is not fed
from time to time
and needs to be put to sleep
and cannot wake up on her own
is in college!!
 
There is nothing common
between her and the boorish gangsters
who masquerade as kids
the ones that I see at the college gates
smoking and scratching.
Surely, she does not belong
to that rowdy world
just because she has managed
to get into college?
 
Time stood still for me, and for her,
since the day when I first saw her
look trustingly in my eyes.
It is hard to believe
that we need to catch up
with the missing years
just because she has managed
to get into college?
 
It all seemed like a doll’s game
when she sat with her fat books
and drank milk and cocoa.
Don’t say it is time for her to know,
that there are shades
other than pink, and that the world
is not really as it seems,
just because she is in college.
 
I will yet stop the clock
I will still be her cloak.
I know my role is not over
I know this frail fool
needs me still.
There is no need to panic
just because she has managed
to get into college!!
 
***

The baby drives a car

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stomping feet, tantrums, ‘I can, I can,’
And you give in. The baby sits on your lap
Steering firmly in hand, eyes wide,
And with the cry of ‘Zooom, Zooom,’
The car takes off. Yes, takes off,
To some distant galaxy.
 
The cautious hands, the worried eyes,
The tense legs control
This flight of fancy. The passersby
Smile at the proud young man.
‘Bang, bang,’ some aliens
Are taken care of, on the way.
 
‘See, I told you, I can drive.’
And you say, ‘I know, great,’ and smile,
Happy in his happiness.
 
I am the kid on the wheel, my poems
The car. (I think we are passing Andromeda!)
Meanwhile, you smile, and say, ‘I know. Great.’
 
***
 

Catch them young

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Let me capture the moods
When they are young.
For a novice like me
It is easier to catch them
When they are innocent
And true.
 
Anger, when young,
Is destructive,
But not conniving.
I can recognize
Its fiery eyes and
Its tantrums easily.
Later, when it grows up
It will hide
Behind a smile.
 
Love, when young,
Will jump on you
And follow you
Like a puppy
It will fall, and
Hurt itself, and cry.
Later, when it grows up
It will hide
Behind poetry, and shyly
Avoid you.
 
I could go on
About hate, jealousy,
Joy or fear.
They are all the same
When young – boisterous,
Spontaneous, honest.
It is only later,
When they grow up,
That they hide,
And are difficult
To catch.
 
***

Spring cleaning

The other day
I made an inventory
Of all that i have,
And of things
That can be discarded.
 
I have lost
(I found)
Most of my memories.
The useless clutter
It seems
Has pushed out
My entire childhood.
Only some fading
Sepia snaps
With mom and dad
Remain.
 
As i tried to access
The inner recess
Of the heart,
(I found)
Amidst the cobwebs,
The darkness and the stench
Of old clothes,
Some broken toys,
A rusting scooter,
Yellowing textbooks,
Some loose sheets
Scribbled with poems
And an old album
With photos
Ruined by moisture
And neglect.
 
For a while
I struggled with the junk.
I sifted through
The passwords,
The dates for filing
The forms, the brochures
For the next home,
The next car, the next holidays,
Birthday dates
Of many acquaintances
Their calling cards,
Memories of evenings
Spent in futile parties,
The false smiles, the
Bitching, the frustrations,
And lots of pride
Over manipulated
Achievements.
 
This calls for
Some serious
Spring cleaning!
I shall throw out
(I decided)
The useless desires,
The worthless goalposts
The hates, the jealousies,
The anger, the grievances,
And the expectations
That i have collected
Over the years.
 
Is it too late
(I wonder)
To restore the old photos,
To bring back
The innocence
Of the carefree afternoons
And the rowdy evenings?
Or are the memories
Of the summers spent
Under the peepal tree,
Of the winters
Spent shivering under
The thick blankets,
Lost forever?
 
***
 
 

Childhood: Precious memories

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
He runs around the house
Bazooka in hand (a catapult
Slung casually in his pocket)
Slaying monsters, gangsters,
Aliens and other assorted baddies.
 
His marathon TV-watching sessions,
And the few minutes that he spends
On the study table, I shall record
For posterity; for the time when
He will be bullying his child.
 
The alphabet soup on the wall
The nonsensical, never-ending stories
The irritating imitation of gunshots
And the unending ‘whys’, I shall store
In the hard-disc of memory, for later use.
 
***

Stories should never end

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Did the author run out of ideas, or ink
Or of paper? O why did he end the book?
 
I really hate it, when a book ends
Sometimes halfway, sometimes for no reason at all.
One book I know, ended just because
The hero died and the war had ended !
That’s no excuse to end a book. I want to know
What happened to the poor heroine?
And did she cope well with her loss?
 
Another one, I remember, was going great,
(The hero had just married the heroine)
When the author, the lazy waster, decided
That that was it ! Now as everyone knows,
Real fun starts after marriage, and anyway,
Having come to know the couple so well,
It is sickening to suddenly remove them from our lives.
 
Don’t get taken in by the thickness of a book-
War and Peace or Gone with the Wind –
They are all the same, they flatter to deceive.
Now small children are honest storytellers. Their stories
Go on and on and on, and people and animals
Keep coming and going into them, freely,
And, like in life, there is no silly ending in them.
 
The story of the wily old fox, who lives
Near the farm (and wants to eat the lambs)
Has entered its fifth year. I do not mind
That over the years, he has managed
To kill not a single lamb, and yet he is
Not discouraged. The farmer, the fat lamb,
The tiger who is too lazy to hunt,
The poacher, the circus man, the teacher,
The astronaut, who is chased by the aliens,
Are just as close to my heart now
As my own kid.
 
Now that is how a story should be told.
Like life, the stories should never have an end.
 
I hope the lazy authors
Would take note of this serious matter,
And make amends.
***

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