Childhood nuggets

Childhood is an evergreen poetry of budding life replete with purity and innocence.

‘When I bring you coloured toys my child, I understand why there is such a play of colours on the clouds, on water, and why flowers are painted in tints.... And when I bring sweet things to your greedy hands I know why there is honey in the cup of flowers and why fruits are filled with sweet juice...’ wrote Rabindranath Tagore in his Nobel prize winning work ‘Gitanjali.’  

The celebrated author could not have expressed his profound love for the fascinating phase of childhood in more sensitive and delightful words. Childhood, indeed, is an evergreen poetry of budding life replete with sublime purity and pristine innocence. The mischievous  (sometimes harmful) pranks played by the budding heroes and heroines are wholeheartedly pardoned solely because the perpetrators are children. Who wouldn’t love to recollect those dreamy days, the very picture of which gently blows like the soothing breeze in the sweltering midsummer noon of our life?

I vividly remember that day, over seven decades ago, when I was in lower primary class and was playing cricket with my classmates at the school ground; the ball went beyond the field and across the road towards a house facing the road. I ran after the ball along with my fellow fielder Chokka (who later became the famed Kannada and Tamil film star Kalyan Kumar) and found that the ball had entered the house through it wide open door. We stood there and called out, as calling bells were not common those days. Getting no answer, we went to look for the owner outside.

And lo! There she was, the lady of the house, about four houses away, deeply engrossed in a much animated discussion with two other ladies of her age, with frequent throwing up of hands which seemed to evoke peals of laughter. All our attempts at drawing her attention did not yield any response and on our being shooed away for disrupting their ‘conference’, we were left with no other alternative but to take the liberty of entering her house in search of the ball which had lodged itself right inside the kitchen! As we hesitatingly made our way into the kitchen, the inviting aroma of the sambar kept in a bowl on the smouldering coal oven assailed our nostrils!

All thoughts of the ball and our waiting teammates evaporated into thin air as we surveyed the scene and found to our delight a full bowl of rice and a few fried papads. It was already well past lunch time and we had been playing right from morning. Our hunger instantly got the better of us and in no time we did full justice to those delicious items which the lady of the house had probably kept for herself and her husband. 

As we stealthily emerged out of the house leaving behind the fully cleaned bowls, smacking our lips in grateful appreciation of the culinary skills of our ‘dear hospitable lady’ we found the three of them still going on full steam. I do hope, the good lady, wherever she might be now, would pardon this culprit!

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