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Friday, February 20, 2009

Children's adventures: Bunking classes, berries and bravado

I was standing in the balcony in the afternoon when the group of boys, Raju, Ganesh, Preeti and Abbas, came as usual.

Raju and Ganesh, the active ones, scaled the boundary wall of the apartment and after balancing themselves reached the 'ber' tree.

They plucked the berries and collected dozens until the pockets were full. Preeti was keeping an eye on the guards of the colony.

Generally the families in other flats shout at the kids and the guards run after them. For these berries they take a lot of risk.

Stage 1st photo: EFFORT

First they dodged the priest to pass the temple premises and then had to enter the adjoining compound before climbing this wall.

They tasted a few of the berries and threw the rest down to their friends standing down who ate them and pocketed them in such a manner as if this was the most exquisite taste available on earth.

I didn't ask them to leave, just advised them to be careful so that they don't fall or get caught by the guard.

Once their pockets were full, they gave me a parting smile, thanking me for not calling the guard and bade me goodbye.

My three-year-old daughter who was fascinated by the site of the 'outgoing courageous' kids, asked them for berries and they threw a couple towards our balcony.

She didn't like them. I also tasted. They were not ripe and the taste was nothing great. But that's what childhood is all about.

Stage 2 photo: Injury

Joy has different meanings in that age. I have had a few chance encounters with this gang of children on my holidays when they come back from school in the afternoon.

These kids bunk classes. In fact they leave school early as the teachers rarely bother in the government school where these kids study. Risks like getting scolded, caught by someone or a few rashes don't matter, as going home with the berries is the ultimate aim for them.

Every time these kids come, I turn nostalgic thinking of my childhood and similar 'conquests'--either it was taking away flowers from a neighbouring short-tempered woman's garden or climbing a tree or catching a kite. In those days there were no video games or even TV for us to remain occupied inside the rooms.
Stage 3 photo: Conquest

It was fun for them and a sense of achievement. Managing to take away berries home and then sharing them with their siblings.

Once you are grown up, you have little time to think of anything except career and daily rigmarole of life.

Photo [left]: Ganesh conquers. Berries Are Mine.

And no matter how much you achieve later in your life--material possessions or any greater heights you reach, nothing, just nothing can give you such a thrill which one used to get in such adventures in childhood.

Related post on this blog earlier: Indian kids playing marbles and catapult (ghulail)

12 comments:

How do we know said...

oh wow.. those childhood days.. u r so right... they are always the bestest. VERY sweet post. Just the kind of post that i needed this afternoon. :-)

kk said...

Just wanted to say I discovered your blog today and have now bookmarked it. I think it is important for every minority to be VISIBLE to put across their point of view - just look at how much and how well gays have succeeded making us understand what they go through for example.

M J Akbar getting a column in the TOI for example was long overdue.

Being a muslim in India(or for that matter in any other country) should be a non-issue. :)

Anser Azim said...

Nostalgia! yade maazi kya khoob hai! In bachon ko dekh ker sab kuch yaad aa gaya!! We used to go out with all my friends (so called gang members)for these "bairs" in the long hot hours of summer to the baagh that used to have some Sheeshum kai darakht, few tuqmi aam trees, couple of jhar bair trees, long grasses, papeete, imli and amrood trees. There used to be pathron ki "sansanahat" so called firing for hours. That used to be fun. Some of us were experts in picking the good and ripe ones (not me) was always a reluctant associate!!! we never washed them. Jaise milli fauran khai!!!
We were also told the existence of a "churail" (the she ghost) on one of the imli tree and on one of the bair trees. I share that story with my young son, Hasan, at night time and he enjoys my bachpan kai kisse". papa phir kya hua!!! He now has memorised the names of all my friends and specially "Tammu" the so called slum stray dog..... He used to sit with a bone all the time with a ferocious growl!!! my son wants the same story every night!!! the so called scary one!!!
Thanks for taking us into the past
that is gradually becoming hazy, dim and obscure but at times beautiful and priceless.
best wishes
anser azim, Chicago

Ye manzilen !! said...

" kal yehi bacche bade ho jaynge...magar berry conquer kar ne ki adat..."
:)

Khair..yu hi hota aayaa hai...

Anonymous said...
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anil said...
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Anonymous said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

hi *****, adab how are u...it was nice to be a kid...and those adventures

Anil

indscribe said...

HDWK: I'm happy that you liked it.

KK: Ya, that's what I felt long back when I started the blog. Interacting is important, if not real life, at least in cyberspace.

Anser Azim Sb: Thanks

Shahid bhai: Wah, Kya baat hai!

Anil Ji: Sorry for editing a 'word' because of personal reasons. Thanks a lot for visiting. Hows life there!

Kagaz ki kashti said...

Sweet post!

Reminds me of my childhood, :-) getting down from the rickshaw, at imli, ber or kaveet ped, have them, sit back & eat till our homes are reached.. :-)

The only difference is our rickshawala was the one who threw stones!! His name was Hari, he was like a friend to us... used to call us "Myna"... saying tum sab ik din udh jaoge... so true!!

getting nostalgic! :-)

Saif said...

ye daulat bhii le lo, ye shoharat bhii le lo
bhale chhiin lo mujhase merii javaanii
magar mujhako lautaa do bachapan kaa saavan
vo kaagaz kii kashtii, vo baarish kaa paanii
---
Ab to sirf yaad hi kar sakte hain wo din....