My husband was rummaging through his old papers and books at home and I was watching him as he did it. I saw him take a pause. An emotional pause. He stared at a cute hardbound colourful book “Visiting Grandpa” gifted to him by his parents when he was a tiny three years old. He didn’t have to be vocal about it, but I could fathom the emotions that ran through him at the moment. He just lived his life all over again in that one minute! For him, he was the kid in the story who goes fishing, playing in fields, having lunch with grandpa; living a wild human life.
To witness the six foot tall man melt at the story of a small boy which taught him to read and appreciate simple beauties of life, I was thrilled. It was enough for me, to take a journey back the road I have travelled and shake my brain for understanding the curious philosophy by which we wish to go back to the times when things were simpler, life was easier and days were merrier. 🙂
I have been a happy kid. Trees were my resting place, compound walls were my adventure spot, thick thorny bushes were my trekking place, open lands were my playground and glittery eyed wonder kids were my friends. It was easy to delight me. I would be in the seventh heaven if you would gift me a book. And my mother did. Many books. My favourite was a long horizontal picture book with 2 pages showing a picturesque location in a country and there was a boy, who would wear the traditional attire of the country, his image shown at the left corner, saying he is visiting the land and asking you to spot him. “Hi I am here in this Kenyan village and my mother is cooking food in mud pots. Find where I am.” I would be in glee when I search each face for my boy in the Kenyan Village. And it was worth a million bucks when I did find him. I would then observe every small feature in the big image, what people wore, how they looked, whether they were rich or poor, what they did for a living. Once I was satisfied, I moved to the second country, to the next page. Such happiness it gave me that I created a game like this and got my grandmother to play with me with different picture books. 🙂
Even today, when I pick that book and run my fingers over its oldness and inhale its scent, I get transported back to the sofa at home, sitting with my grandmother, diligently trying to find the boy out! I am sure I will carry this book through this life time and treasure it like how I treasure my beautiful memories. Safe and protected.
So, as children, we had been tremendously happy and I wonder why we sacrificed all those when we entered adulthood. One could argue, as children we didn’t know the pressure of earning a livelihood. But we did have other pressures, didn’t we? Study, projects, perform at extra-curricular activities and we had to succeed at it all. Wasn’t that hard enough comparing the degree of the intellectual development of a kid and an adult? But, I believe, irrespective of what was expected out of us, we lived each day to its best.
I have been mindlessly delirious then, to see a starry sky or a thundering rainfall. I want to do the same even now. Run to my favourite place, my balcony, when it rains. Watch the moon on cloudless nights and converse. Stare at the shape of a tree and admire it. Play with my pet furry angel. Live and laugh like there is no tomorrow.
And I try to do it, every day.
Hope this story reminds you of your own “Visiting Grandpa’‘s too and may those memories remain and continue enriching your life!
Three cheers to the child in you!