Fan mail- Rajyashree Dutta reminisces about her childhood
Fried Eye says- Sometimes one word of praise or a feedback makes our day and so we were pleasantly surprised when we received one such mail and article from one of our well wishers in our mail box. Thank you Rajyashree Dutta.
Well, I was going through the Fried Eye mid-November issue, and the cover story caught my eye. Truly speaking, I had never thought of posting anything on Fried Eye, as I still have a doubt on my caliber to put something off well to go with the standard of the web-magazine(I hope, we can use this phrase for Fried Eye). But, that had never made me stop being a loyal reader of the same. And in this November issue, when I was going through the story on Moina Parijat, felt, I should just put down my feelings in black and white (guess, typing on my word document would be a more appropriate description) and send to Fried Eye. Whether it’s good enough or not, they’ll take a call, and if not, I would still not mind, but at this moment the most important feeling I’m going through is that, ‘I need to write’. This is because, the article was talking about things that I was so familiar with when I was a kid. Well, what I’m writing is neither an analysis of the article, nor on the same topic. Rather, it’s something that can be best described as ‘a flashback of memories pouring into my heart and mind, and thereby a realization of the helpless child in me’.
As a kid, back in Assam (in a place called Kamarbandha in Golaghat district), I had always been exposed to all the goodness of childhood. My parents, being highly appreciative about making their kids feel like the prince and princess of the family, always made sure that no matter what, I should experience the bests of the world. Well, we were not the richest of all, in fact were a middle class family, who knew how to find the small happinesses in life, and thereby used to stay content with the life we led. But, what made us kids in the house feel lucky was the love that we received from our parents, the security that life had with them around and most importantly the feeling that they would always stand behind us, no matter what path we would choose in our lives. Yes, it is a truth in every family, and with all parents. Let’s not go to that today.
Every morning, when I along with my dad, mom and brother had breakfast together, dad fed me; every morning mom never forgot to put the tiffin- box inside my school bag; and me? Never stepped out of the house without dad’s three kisses on my forehead, so as mom’s. These meant more than getting late for the prayer’s meeting at school, and the punishments to be followed after that. Yes, life was all about being loved, and fortunately that came in huge portions. After school, the walk with mom holding her hands had more importance than the irritating hunger inside the little stomach, witnessing dad in front of the gate of our home had more reasons to make me happy than reaching home itself, and the chocolate in dad’s hand meant the world of joy to me. Yes, the whole universe of little me was my small family, and the true reasons for happiness revolved around them. Life was so simple, and most importantly free of fears and full of happiness.
Every Saturdays and Sundays, dad had dropped me to the painting classes, music classes (which I didn’t survive beyond four sessions), dance classes (didn’t survive here too) and then Moina Parijat. We all the kids, happy and the kings and queens of our own world, used to gather together and do things that made our small hearts leap with joy. The teachers in our charge made sure, we maintained discipline and at the same time had the fun that we deserved. They taught small games, talked about the world, told us to grow up to be an asset to the country and most importantly showed us the bigger world that lay ahead of us. Every time, we experienced these sessions, our small eyes used to glitter with amusement, we had started building a world of dreams and knew we would do something big in life. And when we spoke to our parents about all that, they seemed proud of us. And, yes, that’s how we started thinking of the future.
Then we grew up. One day, passed out of school, went to college; went away from our parents (in search of what we believed to be a better and happier world). Life seemed full of new dreams, new adventures and new battles to fight. Yes, first time in my life, I got exposed to a new term,’ Fight’. Everywhere it was enjoying its existence. To keep up to the marks in classrooms, we fought with thousand others’ scores, to keep up to the expectations of our parents, we fought with their feelings, and most unfortunately we fought with ourselves to keep us going. Yes, that is how, we knew, life was not anymore the one we had always been leading. It was time, we grew up.
One day, we finished college too. Had a pile of certificates shouting out our achievements. Got into a job that paid well enough to buy everything we wished for. And today, when I know, we have no ways to go back to those days, I long for my childhood. Because, the simple life that I had in those days is something that makes me realizes how worthless life I’m living today. All I know today is about surviving, instead of living. I think of achieving more than I have today, I think of earning more than I earn today, and I think of having everything I don’t have today. And in middle of these, I have left behind those small but pure pleasures, of the kisses from my dad on my forehead and the walk with my mom. While enjoying my now favourite spaghetti with sausages and yet worrying about calories, I lose out on having the joy of indulging in the melt-in-mouth ‘payesh’ my mom gave in the glass tiffin-box and the small chocolate my dad brought me, every afternoon, after work. Yes, life today is nothing but a bunch of 24 hours long days, with a lot of constant running, at least after something. And, while running after that something, I run completely opposite to the peace of my mind, to the serenity of my soul.
What makes matters worse is the absence of that love and security that I always felt in my dad’s arms. And, as I realize more, I know, there is a child in me still alive, who longs for the simplicity of life, rather than enjoying the twists in it. It still believes in waiting for the dress that her dad brought with his salary, than buying a designer outfit with her own. It still prefers arguing with her mom on the dull coloured sneaker than feeling happy about her cupboard full of stilettos. It still longs for the evening-long heartfelt talk with her dad than chatting on her blackberry. Yes, the child in me never actually grew up to love a materialistic life than one that had her parents’ priceless love. But, willingly or unwillingly, and most certainly, I’m living a life where I’m trying to tie the child in me up with the toughest of ropes. Reasons? Because, I have to grow up, and have to walk along with others of my age, I have to behave like others of my age do, and I have to make a mark in the world, like, or in a better way, than others of my age have done. Such is the reality. And, in middle of these, the child in me weeps its heart out, only to be unheard; shivers in terror, only to be ignored; and shouts out for help, only to be reminded of the rude reality. And thus I too end up ignoring the innocence of the child inside my being.
Well, it’s time I wrap up. Because, no matter what, the helplessness of my soul is something I’m destined to live with. But, the cover story of Fried Eye made memories come flashing back to my mind and I lived in those at least for a while. Those carefree childhood days, when life meant those half-yearly and yearly examinations in school, those small competitions among many others like me and those yearlong plans for the summer vacations. Those priceless moments of hugging dad while listening to ghost-stories, sleeping in mom’s lap and fighting with my little brother for the right side of the study table. And I realize, stronger and stronger, I never really grew up. The child in me, yes, it never did.
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