"All characters in this piece of writing are Real. Any resemblance to people you might know is not necessarily coincidental."
*Names of the persons have been changed to protect their identity.
In every person a child is hidden that wants to play. And so is the case with me. Well, there happens to be a park right next to home which I frequent every evening and apart from walking 30mins a day, I also take time to pamper the child in me.
Unlike most other parks which have a gazillion slides, see-saws, swings and monkey bars, this one offers you just a huge sand enclosure. Yup, just sand. But you must remember that a child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of a box of sand. And a huge enclosure full of sand, Ahh that must be worth billions of dollars.
Until recently, I was just one of the serious walkers. None of the kids (all 10 year old brats) who barely acknowledged my presence no matter how many smiles I flashed at them. There was just one cute kid, Rohit, who would shyly smile and turn his face away the moment I smiled back (little did I know then what lay beneath that shy exterior)
Anyways, one bright evening, as I was on my usual rounds, I see a little girl standing on the bridge and waving her hands at me. I wave back and she beckons me to come to her. The little girl was Pinky.
Pinky is no stranger to me. She lives in the same apartment as me and every time she sees me, promises to get me a “ellow” bubblegum. So well, I go onto the bridge and then she drags me to the sand enclosure. And then we set about building a sand castle comprising of a gateway and a chimney and all.
But then, just as we are nearing completion, disaster strikes in the form of Rohit. Yes sir, do not misjudge a shy smile for beyond lurks a destructive mind.
Terrified, Pinky cowers behind me for protection from the “shy” destructor!!! Me, the knight in the shining armor, set about to rescue the damsel in distress. I somehow managed to save her from the clutches of the young monster (the cutest monster ever) and we continued on our MISSION SAND CASTLE. After completing it, she wanted to click a few snaps. So off she went to the other side of the enclosure to take a long-shot of me sitting beside the castle. The pic was well shot-good focus, flash (of her milky teeth) et al. She than asked me to click one of hers so I acted as if doing so with my cell. When she came over to see how the pic was, I showed her a pic of Abishek Bachan and told her that it was her. She gave me a knowing look and said “No! No! That is the Dus Bahane guy”. Lemme travel back in time now. At the tender age of four, all I knew was Mowgli and a few characters of Mahabharata. Not a clue about the kingdom of Bollywood. Times sure have changed.
After a while it was time for me to go. So I bid her adieu and she made me promise that I would drop by her home later in the evening.
The next evening, was a lot more fun. She had gotten bored of building castles and was getting hungry. To satisfy her hunger she decided to celebrate her Birthday. Unfortunately for us, we had to settle for a sand cake. But I must tell you, given the right company, a sand cake can sure be a lot more delicious than a normal one.
So anyway, we set out on our culinary expedition. It didn’t take us much while to make the cake (what with us not having to use an oven and all). But it looked quite plain so we decided to decorate it with candles and whipped cream (a piece of crumpled white paper served the purpose). Pinky managed to find a wooden knife and blew off the four candles after making a wish. She then cut it into a zillion pieces, ate a substantial part of the cake and gave me the leftovers.
I then asked her to give the leftover leftovers to another little boy who had helped us with the cake. This little kid kept coming up to me and giving me a few grains of sand saying “cake”, “cake” with every fistful. But Pinky was hesitant to invite company and refused to distribute the cake. So I had to do the honors.
Since it was getting dark and I hadn’t walked much, I pushed off, only to be brought to a grinding halt in a few minutes. This time, to celebrate my birthday. We made a bigger cake and then I asked her to get me 19 candles. She looked at me with a I-cant-manage-that expression and said she could manage at the most only one. So my first birthday it was. And since I was just a one year old baby, she decided that it would be dangerous for me to handle the knife and so once again, she was the one to cut the cake. She fed me as well and then we decided to head for home.
But, for some strange reason, she was in a very benevolent mood today and wanted to give me a strawberry bubblegum. So she dragged me home, opened the refrigerator, took out a single bubblegum, put half of it into her mouth, bit it into two, and gave me the piece that was in her mouth. I gladly ate it and rushed home.
As I got into the elevator, I realized that If children are to keep alive their inborn sense of wonder, they needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
Children have neither past nor future; and that which seldom happens to us, they rejoice in the presen
And only in their playful company do you discover the little joys that life offers.