Tag Archives: kids

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))

Advertisements

Modern Parables – 5: Respect for sentiments

The political orientation of the Winged party is far from clear to anyone, including the founding fathers. Nor does it have a clear agenda. The owls and bats tended to oppose the leadership of the crows, while the eagles and vultures rarely attended the meetings.

The present meeting was presided over by a blind old bat, who was revered by all for his contribution to the cause of the avian society in the past. The powerful Crow family used him as a symbol to keep the flock together, while exercising power from behind his wings.

The meeting started on a gloomy note, with the mention of disappearing of the Swan, the beauty queen and the heartthrob of many. The disappearance had taken place in mysterious circumstances, and many felt the dog squad was not doing enough to nab the perpetrators of the heinous act.

“We must take the matter to King Sher Singh. Criminalization of the jungle is almost complete. The crocodiles or the Cat gang could be behind the crime. It is time someone raised their voice,” shrieked a woodpecker.

The Crow family – father, two sons and a daughter, all members of the party – looked distinctly uncomfortable. Papa Crow cleared his throat and tried to bring reason to the discourse:

“However sad we all may be over the disappearance of our beloved comrade, we must exercise restraint. For all we know, Swan could have flown to its native land in Europe. Conspiracy theories always lead to recriminations and disrupt the social order.”

The Crows had working relations with the cats and the crocs, and did not want the matter to escalate. They had a sneaking suspicion that someone from the Big Cats may have kidnapped the Swan, for swan meat was considered to be a delicacy in those circles. Though the new laws of the jungle gave protection to endangered species and foreigners, some animals were known to be above law.

Papa Crow’s voice of sanity did not have many takers, and in the heat of the moment, he was hooted down, and a resolution was passed for sending a strongly worded letter to the King.

The letter was read by the Wolf in the court, to derisive sniggers. Most of those present knew the final destination of the Swan, and smiled. Sher Singh also smiled, but dictated a carefully worded reply:

“The matter of the missing Swan has been brought to the notice of the government. We appreciate the seriousness of the matter, and assure our avian friends that all efforts would be made to trace the whereabouts of the respected Swan. Signed etc.”

“No need to promote these birds by sending a reply,” grumbled a leopard.

But Sher Singh knew how democracy worked. His rule from behind the veneer of democracy was based on respecting the sentiments of all, and on promoting the interests of some. He waived a hand, dismissing the objection, and indicating that next subject on the agenda be put up.

The Swan was forgotten by most within days, but the firmness and love of justice of Sher Singh, as evident from his reply to the Winged Party, was the subject of many a newspaper columns for months.

Moral of the story: Newspaper columnists know which side of their bread is buttered.

***


Modern Parables – 4: When the chicken crossed the road.

The chicken that crossed the road wondered what the fuss was all about.

“There is no rule about not crossing the road, is there?” asked the chicken, panicking at the brouhaha.

“Umm, no. But chicken are expected to be afraid of traffic, and not mess with their lives. You see, authorities want your own safety,” replied the Inspector.

“The state has become paternal and has assumed all the powers of a father. Where is the free will,” the wise old owl commented cheekily from the branch overhead.

“What is that supposed to mean?” asked an angry Inspector, wondering whether the old fool was once again trying to sow seeds of dissent among the public. “Do not play mischief with the lives of people. If there are rules, they are for the good of the animals, and respecting them makes for a happy and safe society.”

Though the owl did not want to get drawn into the controversy, he could not resist quoting the old rule that a razor should never be given to a monkey.

The inspector, who happened to be a monkey, and also happened to have a weapon on his person, saw through the seemingly innocent comment.

“Oo. So we are challenging the authority of law, are we?” he demanded. “I arrest you for obstructing an officer of law in discharging his duty.”

Soon the matter was taken up at the court of justice, presided over by a balding eagle.

It did not help matters that the eagle disliked the owl, or that the chicken, which was produced as a witness in the case, ranted about crossing the road with a zebra.

The Hon’ble eagle, in its legal wisdom, pronounced the owl guilty, and sent him for a month of community service.

The monkey, satisfied at having quashed a rebellion in the bud, recounted the instance to many an animals with the sole wish to establish respect for law in society.

The incident however had the reverse effect on some of the more sensitive birds, who flew into a rage, and started attending a secret society to counter the growing autocracy in the country.

The chicken was made the mascot of the secret society – something that led to much disgust in the powerful circles.

Soon, the full force of law, and this time it was heavy ammunition of police dogs and hyenas that tackled the budding insurgency. Law was pressed into action, and a large number of chickens were culled for the betterment of the society. The culled chickens were used to make soup and this was served to the lions. The pride, which ruled the jungle for the benefit of all, prided itself for being ecologically sensitive and not wasteful, and encouraged cooking up of animals given capital punishment.

The discussion that followed the party dwelled on the foolishness of the aspersions that are cast on the law of the jungle by foreign powers. “We know what is best for our people,” commented the oldest male lion of the pack, for in his life he had always worked for a just and inclusive society.

***


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.
 
***

Parable of the mice, the cat and the monkeys

“We must act now,” squeaked the top mouse, sounding pretty revolutionary. There was a muted round of applause – the mice had heard all this before. What they wanted to know was – how.

The pussy cat, with its voracious appetite, seemed unstoppable. Even though the mice bred fast, their dream of democratically ruling the world was stymied by the pussy cat. Not only was it not letting their numbers grow, it was also not agreeable to a democratic transition of authority to the mice.

The midnight meeting of the mice in the attic was something the top mouse really loved. He was at his oratorical best at midnight, when the pussy cat went to the neighbourhood alley for some fun with the wild cats.

“How do we act?” timidly squeaked a tall mouse with a long tail.

“I have thought long, and I have thought hard,” replied the top mouse. “What we need is networking,” he said mysteriously.

“With?” asked an old mouse.

“Monkeys,” said the top mouse. He looked around for approval, but none came. Mice so far had no truck with the monkeys. It made no sense. But the mice, timid as they are of all authority, hesitated to ask for a clarification.

It was the top mouse who decided to reveal all. “We must think out of the box. We must use the modern technology to our advantage. We must turn our weakness into our strength. We must develop relations with different forces, and use them to further our ends. We must…” And on and on he went till he came to the end of his stock of Famous Managerial Quotes.

“Er..,” began the tall one, “how will befriending the monkeys help us?” he asked in a soft voice, hoping he would not be heard. But he was.

“Idiot,” squeaked the top mouse sharply. “That is why we have not been able to take-over the world, though we have the numbers. Sheer stupidity.”

There was silence for sometime, for this was hardly an explanation.

Realizing that he was the leader of an exceptionally foolish set of mice, the top mouse began to explain the obvious, “With modern technology, we will network with the monkeys. They have awesome abilities – they can jump from one tree to another, just to give you one example. From the treetops they can give us a feedback on the movements of the pussy cat. Information, you see, is power.”

“But we generally know of the movements of the cat,” argued the old mouse in his irritatingly nasal voice.

“Your time is up, old mouse. The new generation is a lot smarter. And for once, try to understand, rather being such a pessimist.”

This suitably snubbed the old mouse, and the younger ones nodded in approval.

“So with the monkey allied with us,” resumed the top mouse, “we will have a good feedback and intelligence mechanism. We will be able to make wise decisions.”

“Like?” blurted the tall one, despite himself.

The top mouse threw his hands in the air in despair. “Focus on one thing at a time,” he said. “For networking we need a mobile phone and a Twitter account. You arrange for that, and no excuses,” he said pointing towards the tall one. “And you, old mouse, do something useful. Go to the monkeys and ask them to join us on the Twitter.”

This time the applause was loud. “We have made progress,” muttered a fat mouse to his wife, ignoring her skeptical look.

It was only the old mouse who looked sad. He knew that even in this generation the chances of the mice taking over the world were bleak.

Moral of the story: The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Alternate moral: You get the leadership you deserve.

***


A nursery rhyme…that makes no sense

 
 
 
Why should one and two
Buckle the shoe?
They are the best –
They passed all the test,
And still you give them
A task so beneath them?
 
 
 
 
 
Why don’t you let in three and four
Who have been knocking at the door?
It is quite chilly outside
They may catch cold, and beside
They have turned all blue
And will catch a dreadful flu.
 
My heart goes to the poor five and six
Who were sent to pick up the sticks
I think, with your care and devotion
And a little bit of attention
They will surely start to do well
Their grades will improve, they will swell.
 
But it was seven and eight
Who were just asked to lay them straight
That were such a disappointment;
Their work was crooked and bent
And causes such resentment,
That out of the decimal system they were sent!
 
However it was rude to compare nine and ten
To a really big fat hen.
They do like to eat
And never miss a treat
And bulge a little at the waist
But still, it was a comment in poor taste.
 
***

Television: A cautionary tale

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have you ever seen a monster
Gobbling up its victim?
No? You live in wrong times.
Ok. Have you seen a television
Watching your child,
Like a hypnotist, casting his spell?
 
I saw a look on the face
Of television, that sent
Shudders down my spine.
All intent and focused,
Its face glowing in amber light,
Flickering, but unblinking,
It looked like a snake,
Or a ruby kept in an evil magician’s den,
Ready to pounce on the kid
And devour him, whole.
 
The spell cast by the evil creature
Had worked. As I tried
To switch off the beast, to stop
Its oxygen, and choke it to death,
It was my child, the poor victim,
Who flung the pillow at me,
Cried, and threw his legs in the air
And fought to save the monster.
 
Let this sad tale be a lesson
To those who succumb to the wily charms
Of television.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
***

%d bloggers like this: