Image by lisa runnels from Pixabay 

Isn’t it strange whenever I think of good times, my mind travels back to time? I remember the precious old days when the air smelled sweet, fresh, and cool when the sun was perfectly lit and flowers blossoming on a bush. C-H-I-L-D-H-O-O-D, a 9- letter word is an amalgamation of small, often irrelevant, and lame bits and pieces, that together form a huge panorama, yet not the mainstream. It would be shocking to believe that once,

“The child was hidden in the closet and forgotten”.

When everyone around me stopped playing hide and seek and had more than ten rupees in their pocket to spend, it was indisputable that we were not kids anymore. When all they could think was to impress others rather than to express themselves freely, without fail, and without fear of judgment, their childhood was lost. Forever. When at the age of 14 watching videos on childhood made you nostalgic, childhood was lost. We are all in a hurry to grow up and be independent and without even realising we lost our childhood. Always trying to fit our feet in our father’s shoes, we lost our childhood prints. It was just before the summer vacation of eighth grade that I noticed a change of atmosphere in my class. A competition, unspoken and unannounced was going on. It was a race to outshine others and to be on the top in some aspect, which I also joined – a flock of sheep, being a part, of which was the only option left. All my friends were still there but something was different. That fun, innocence, and honest laughter went missing.

We continued just like that. Everyone was drifting apart slowly and when no one was there to lend an ear to the problems and shoulders to the tears, it was then that the realisation of lost childhood and selfless friendships dawned upon us.

The new year of 2020 was different. I decide to wake up before the sunrise and witness the dawn of this New Year as it was going to be the last one with my friends. Full of new promises, new resolutions, and most importantly, hope. I make myself a cup of tea and stand on my balcony. I notice that no one is up yet, barring a few early birds. The dark starts to increase and I know that dawn is near. I see the first breaking of the light slowly colouring the sky in a myriad of shades. It is like human emotions – from a gloomy grey to a bright deep blue. Finally, the sun rose in all its grandeur and magnificence. It spreads a warm glow to each and everything that comes it's way. For better or worse is yet to see, I welcomed the new day and the New Year with a warm smile and a serene mind. But no one is there to see it except a cup of tea and me.

Now comes the Farewell. We were celebrating, us leaving school. Mum draped the saree, dolled up, tripped thrice, and was all set to go. The time has come to leave and only the memories will live in every corner of our minds. Gave the boards and as soon as the results showed up, the next headache had already knocked on the door – COLLEGE.

The goodbye to our childhood will always be left undone. Though we understood the degree of loss, we could not go back and reshape it. Still, we tried to make for the lost time and let the child out of the closet but it was weak and fragile. It is still in the process of rejuvenation and it will revive one day. Someday.

Childhood is simple, while adulthood is complex. And how a pencil is different from a pen. One is fickle while the other one is concrete. One gives you freedom and the latter gives you a strong stand. One is a symbol of learning, the other is the symbol of making decisions. One gives you a chance at redemption, the other gives you a chance at rectification. We make our base in childhood but as we grow up, the child fades away. Once it is done the pen takes over and the pencil is erased. Now we are required to take a stand, to choose but never fail. Fun is no longer the same. The pencil is carefree, the pen is sophisticated. While one comes in colors, the other comes in brands. One diminishes, and the other remains. But after using a pen, and all its brands, in the end, one longs for a pencil anyway. For a pen is a sign of growing up. It cannot be erased. A mistake, once made, can merely be cut - but the mark remains. The mistakes made up by grow-ups would somehow alter and leave an impression on their lives. You can amend the mistake at most, but not over-rule it. It will always exist.

Dear Inner self,

For once, could you come out from inside and ‘face’ for starters what we face? It’s pretty easy to say stuff from the comfort of my body, but try and say it out loud for me? My constant companion, you know nothing in comparison to what I do. You have been hiding in the depths of darkness. However, that’s not your fault – just an occupational hazard. Since you are “me” after all – I forgive you.

Asking such questions and arguing to ourselves we all grew. But poor did we know that Adulthood is a trap. A TRAP and a God’s conspiracy that no one can ever pass. And yet what I have observed throughout these days, now, cannot be simply put into words. Simple, adulthood has betrayed childhood.

But this moment I am young, dreaming and all else is forgotten, if not forgiven. The most beautiful moment in life is when both of us (me and my younger version) are together. So incredibly, incomprehensibly young-young; young forever.

I think living with the present flow of time and doing the utmost hard work to live life like a child once again can surely make the child within me nurtured and happy.

.    .    .