Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Child

We’ve had bad luck with our kids- they’ve all grown up.
                                                                                           -Christopher Morley

But what is life if not Change?

Only change is constant. Change is inevitable. I have often heard it being said that nothing in life remains the same. Beauty, people, plans, relationships and even the truth as you know it will become subject to change because the fiery ravages of Time seldom leave you unscathed. Time flies with wings that never tire and as it soars, it watches what became of what once was and remembers a time lost forgotten. But such is Life. The cycle of Birth and death is ineluctable. One must grow and change and adapt- for one must live. After all it is one of the many rules of Nature and if you don’t play by those rules you only get left with Death as an option. Ironically, there never really is any choice. Death comes both as an end and a new beginning, like the cycle I said.

So live we must and live with a zest.

Life wins every time for it is a grace to be alive. Every morning when I open my eyes, I thank my God for the privilege to feel, to see, to think, to feel, to be able to act and to love. In short-

What a Gift it is to be ALIVE!

 From the moment of one’s conception to the actual birth and from then on to our growth from a baby toddler, frisky rebellious teenager to a competent adult (at least that’s what we would all like to call ourselves), we continue learning by observing, analyzing, imbibing and applying all that we perceive around us. This forms a vital part of our growth. But growing up in itself isn’t easy. A tedious process, it entails not only learning but also incorporates those changes that come both within and without you as a result of the application of that very learning; also how one adapts or rebels as per the phase. However, instead of veering into the physical aspect of growing up, I’d like to deliberate on a question which I am pretty sure must have at some point of time crossed your mind as well.

Even as a child, I had always thought that the life of an adult would be Awesome, in control and oh so powerful. I was always of the opinion that somehow becoming an adult would make you smart, independent and mature. And the more mature and worldly wise you are, the happier you become, for then you’d know how to deal with the everyday complications, stress and situations of the real world. As a child I was this Curious Cat always imagining the time when I’d be a grown up managing my independent life, working with dedication (A child, I saw myself successful at anything I did), earning honestly and then spending economically step by step to build a comfortable  home, travel to places, wear the most beautiful dresses (Yes! I have always been fond of clothes) and last but not the least- be surrounded by my family, best friends and well wishers. And there would be a guy. As far as I can remember, there was always a guy, my guy- my partner and we would be like happy forever.

Sounds Girly!?


A little too typical!

Well then dear reader, make a list of what you wanted as a child and then correlate. The life I had envisioned was quite simple in its structure, sans complications with just a home to live, food to eat, clothes to wear and then somebody to love and be loved by. Can life be anymore simpler? Coming down to our basic individual level, we all want simple things. Sadly, I was mistaken. As I grew up I learnt otherwise for I saw that the adults were not happy and things never really remained smooth. I saw how trapped, restricted and frustrated they were behind the facade of their ever pleasant smiles, social status and the     “Loop-race” in which you kept on working because others had more and others worked cause you had acquired more and like a loop which never ended, the race went on and on and on, unless of course you were sensible enough to know what you wanted in the first place.

While adults can certainly boast and brag about the worldly wisdom part and the collective practical training or learning that takes place providing experience, I haven’t met a single adult person I’d call as calm and contented.
I believe that somewhere down the line while making that inevitable transition from a child to a grown up, our growth whether it is physical, mental or spiritual stops or halts maybe and then there comes a point in this hectic and fast paced life where we end up becoming stuck and jammed, bored and restless. The ubiquitous joys of childhood become ephemeral. Things start to lose their beauty, wonder and significance, they fail to surprise you and hold your admiration and interest. To quote Walt Streightiff,

“There are no Seven Wonders of the World in the eyes of a child. There are Seven Million.”

Courtesy: Chiaralily/Creative Commons/Flickr

There is something mystical about a child that touches a deep chord inside one’s being. Looking at a child you might wonder as to from where does he get that insanely huge amount of energy of which he lovingly spends every bit, relishing each moment with a joy unbounded. I very rarely find children suffering from bouts of depression and sadness. True they cry when they fall but that doesn’t last long for their curiosity and wonder at what surrounds gets the better of them. I haven’t met a child who didn’t enjoy and found the scenery moving outside the train windows a treat to watch or who wasn’t excited at the prospect of getting a new pet, a new responsibility. In fact, what I have actually observed is that they act very maturely, dedicatedly and responsibly when given importance and a significant responsibility to fulfill. If one brings up a child in a free and healthy atmosphere, one would find that children devote huge chunks of time, efforts and utilize all resources they can muster to the completion of the task at hand. Once fascinated they seriously try to learn much about the subject and achieve their goals persisting without failure, coming to you with their cute faces and twinkling bright eyes full of joyful laughter to show you what they did. If one would observe, it would be found that children have very clear cut relationships and fights get resolved with just a heartfelt ‘Sorry’.

When we are young everything seems possible and there is nobody to limit what all we can accomplish. Childhood is magical indeed. But then this golden period starts to get tarnished slowly losing its refulgence and spirit. So what is it that happens when we grow up? What happens to that carefree child? Why do we get involved in the rut that brings nothing but unhappiness in an attractive wrapping?

Thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that the very first thing we do as we grow older is that we give up on our Dreams. The goals and ideals which had fascinated us before take on the cloak of impossibility and their dedicated pursuit is interrupted by a hiatus that comes as a result of our Distraction and consequent giving- in to the obstacles that besiege the dream which then becomes elusive. It is from here that we become miserable. After convincing and making ourselves believe that it would be implausible to chase what we had aspired for, we take the next step which is to find a goal which can be achieved with lesser efforts. The third step is the rational justification of your step number two. Convinced that the situations demanded you to give up your very own plans, you remain deluded in a false shell of practicality- a cocoon that closes around you dimming your memory and later making you forget what you were. 

Courtesy: Rachael Adams/Creative Commons/Flickr

Never give up on what you want. Elusive at first your dream might seem but never give up on it. The pathways would not always be straight and easy, circumstances would demand that you change courses and so, it might take longer for you to reach where you wanted but no matter what you do remember to always take out some time for the bigger picture you had in mind for you for that dream is the only thing which will provide you with happiness. Like a butterfly fluttering from flower to flower, it will take you to places making you run after itself and like a beautiful woman it shall play hard to get. And then when you would have given all hope making that last effort unfolding your fingers, opening your empty palm, you will find that the butterfly hovers and sits prettily on your hands, you will find the mirage materialized and you will be what you were always meant to be.

You would be worthy of the dream. It is the not the dream in itself but the whole adventure of the journey that teaches us to live and be alive.

It is indeed a shame that we try to stifle the voice of the knowledge that is and has always been in us. So I’d just say,

“Listen to the voice of the child inside you for wayward though his words might seem and inexplicably insane the path he wishes you to follow yet the child is wise and knows you and of the ways of the world better than you. Do not stop to think for if you stopped, you’d lose him and then we will never know when that willful voice of wisdom might deign to answer us.”
                                                                                                -Anchal Sharma


  1. its really cool Anchal, I appreciate the thinking behind us and would also appreciate the way you have described everything... !! A+++ Stuff.. !! Good Luck...