Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oh! To Be Little Again!

(Most) children are innocent and with each day spent at the school teaching children, my belief is reinforced.

"You're little now, so you're called a girl and he's called a boy. What will you be called when you grow up?"
"Err... Aren't you a human now?"
"No! I'm a kid."

In another incident, a rather feisty boy from class III came up to me and said, "Ma'am, you know what Aditya told a group of girls from class IV?"
"No.... What did he say?"
"He said, 'Girrrrrls! Come here!'" (Saying so, he roared with laughter and poor Aditya flushed a deep shade of crimson.)

So you see. While we stand scratching our heads wondering what happened, almost anything makes a little kid laugh!

The youngest children I teach always love looking at colourful photographs and pictures. This always felicitates interesting conversation, which is basically the prime motive of my classes, so the other day I borrowed a book from the library. It was about the circus and had large photographs of trapeze artists, lions, the ringmaster, flame throwers etc.. When I opened the first page of the book and showed it to the class, they let out a collective gasp. Sensing that something was wrong, I turned the book towards myself and had a long hard look at the page.
"What's wrong guys? It's just a couple of lions!"
"Oh Ma'am! Can't you see? They're all running around in a circle and a couple of them are standing on stools! Waaaooow!"
Hmm.. I saw nothing spectacular in a couple of lions running around on their hind legs, but they did. Why's that?

The main reason for our lack of enthusiasm at the simple things of life is because we've been there, done that. We've all let out our gasps and had our share of wows. A tiny earthworm splitting into two tinier ones does not excite us. We don't hoot with laughter when we see someone wearing a foil hat. A puppy scratching its head off is mundane. Uninteresting.

When was the last time we asked an interesting question? Children do that all the time. They're full of queries. No answer completely quenches their curiosity. Some of their favourite words are "what" and "why". Why are your nails green today? What is in your bag? Why is that boy crying? What do you mean? Why are you so short? Why are your feet so small? Why are you shouting? So on and so forth. You'll get tired of answering but the questions just won't stop coming! That's the beauty of childhood.

Now the problem arises when these children grow up and turn into.. well.. us! Grumpy old adults sans enthusiasm. We hem and haw over how much we know, how much we've seen. I personally believe that the day we stop being curious and enthusiastic, we lead a pointless existence. Blessed are those who realize this! A couple of days back I got a beautiful message from one of the sweetest persons I've meet in life. Having recently acquired a job, he has little time for himself and those around him. The message goes like this (ignore the errors that are typical of forwarded messages)-

One day we will all be sitting and thinking hard about life...
How it changed from a simple college life to the strict professional life...
How pocket money changed to huge monthly pay cheques, but gives less happiness..
How a few local jeans changed to a new, branded wardrobe, but less occasions left to wear them to...
How a single plate of samosa changed to a full pizza, but the hunger is less...
How a bike always in reserve changed to a car always full of petrol, but less places to go to...
How a tea by the roadside changed to CCD, Barista; but no friends for gossiping...
How a general class journey changed to travelling by flight; but less vacations for enjoyment...
Maybe this is the truth of the journey called "life"...

I'm sure we'll all associate with these words (even if just a bit!). Hidden behind this message is a desperate need to be little again; to be untroubled and carefree again! We all desire to go back to that stage of life where stress meant an exam; a decision meant choosing the right subjects and sorrow meant getting over a crush! An extremely popular Facebook page with over one lakh "fans" is very appropriately titled- "I wish I was little again, when the hardest choice was picking a crayon".

Sigh... To be little again!