It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon. The breeze is as free as it could be, and the Sun is going about its job as always. I’m sitting in front of the Idiot Box, sifting through channels in an effort not to sleep. The breeze is ruffling the curtains and every now and then, the chirp of a bird or a cuckoo’s sweet voice turns my neck for a glimpse of the Outside. Between this and trying to stay awake, my mind takes me back to my childhood summer days.
There is something about the human mind. We desperately hold on to what is good, what was in the past. Like a kid who clings on to his mother’s hand in a crowded market, fearing of losing her if he lets go. Little does he know that it’s his mother who’s holding him tight. It amuses me that as we grow up from an infant to a toddler to a kid to a teenager to an adolescent to a financially free person, we keep looking over our shoulders and sigh over what we’ve lost in the process. I bet Newton and Einstein never knew that human progress would come at a loss of the simplicity of life. At the end of the day, we come home from a decent paying job and wonder if we would be better off living in the Stone Age.
I continue looking outside. It reminds me more and more of my Aaji’s (grandma’s) home where I spent the ten most beautiful summers of my life. School used to break for summer and every day baba (dad) used to drop me off in the morning at her place. There were two big mango trees in her yard, just outside her door. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the mango flowers have a very mellow and subtly intoxicating smell that just makes you breathe it in as much as possible, as if that fragrance was going out of fashion. My friends answer my call and we all wreak havoc the entire day, disturbing Aajoba’s (grandpa’s) sleep and inviting his wrath. Our play always resumes at this time, when the breeze starts getting cooler and the Sun a bit friendly. We start our matches again and continue long into the twilight hours, till baba comes and takes me back home.
These were my summers. From ’88 to ’99, this was all I could think of doing every summer vacation. Time dragged me along and I played along, only to grow up into responsibilities and delivering to the expectations around me. Our only link to the past is our memories, triggered by rouge glimpses on such afternoons, opening floodgates of all that was good, and all that is gone.
What hurts most is that perhaps, somewhere down the way, I think we all lose that innocence of a sunny day’s child.