Through the child's eye

As a child, I usually spent my summer holidays in Basavanagudi. My grandmother’s house was in that locality and our vacations revolved around the simple pleasures of life like good food, movies and great company. As an adult, I had not revisited the area despite frequently travelling through that part of Bangalore. Determined to set this anomaly right, I went there one fine evening. I dragged my 12 year old too wanting to show him in detail a part of my childhood. ‘I would rather go to the mall’ he wailed but I wouldn’t budge.

The first stop naturally, was the Bull temple. We went round it and I read with interest the ASI notification about the temple’s historical significance that had completely missed me as a child. As I rattled on about how the bull had seemed enormous and the dark and cavernous interiors had seemed scary when I was his age, I could sense the little fellow losing interest.

I then took him to the Bugle Rock and explained how, many evenings would be spent playing there. Seeing my son darting up the rock face, I recalled how we too would run to the top. Coming back to those familiar but vastly changed landmarks had unleashed a torrent of memories and I was eager to revisit them.

But the ‘can we go now?’ refrain began almost immediately and the bribe of American corn did nothing to soothe the impatient boy. Was it also because of my refrain of how we ate good food those days and not junk? As he gave me the exasperated look children reserve for their mothers, I began to lose my temper. There was so much more I wanted to see, couldn’t this boy understand?

The visit wound up on a less than pleasant note. It was a while later that I was recounting this visit to a cousin. Having shared my childhood and not having been to Basavanagudi in recent times, she was keen for the details. ‘Remember walking on DVG road? Did we even know it was named after the great man?’, she gushed. ‘Remember how we used to help our mothers light the lamps during Karthika maasa? Remember the kadalekai parshe..?” she asked eagerly. ‘Yes! Those were lovely days but I wouldn’t want to go the groundnut fair now. The crowds would put me off.’ I replied.

Then it struck me, I was now looking at the fair from an adult perspective. As children, perhaps the crowds were part of the attraction. Similarly, wanting to relive memories is an adult thing. Children live for and in the present. If my son doesn’t want to see something from my past, it is alright. Perhaps, as an adult I need to remind myself to see things from the child’s perspective. 

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