COUSINS, CRICKET, COMICS AND CHILDHOOD

COUSINS, CRICKET, COMICS AND CHILDHOOD

Disclaimer: Nostalgia ahead. “If life grants you one wish, what would be yours?” , a friend of mine asked me. “Childhood”, I replied, without a

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Disclaimer: Nostalgia ahead.

“If life grants you one wish, what would be yours?” , a friend of mine asked me.

“Childhood”, I replied, without a second thought.

A sense of nostalgia crept in as I thought about my answer. As I strolled down my memory lane, every step turned out be a happy one. Stories of innocence, of craziness, anecdotes of cricket matches, memories of bicycle rides, stealing mangoes, gossips and a whole new world filled with fun fondly welcomed me back.

“What a childhood I had!”, I said this to myself with a sense of pride and satisfaction. My childhood, like every other kid of early 90’s was filled with Cricket and comics; Thanks to Dada and Cartoon Network. Every empty lane was an impromptu cricket ground, every building under-construction was a place to hide (hide and seek), and every house had a friend.  And looking back now, every moment turned out to be a precious memory.

Summers always had a special place in our hearts. There was never a dull day, thanks to my cousins and their one rule of summer; live the day. Cricket filled the mornings, indoor games took the afternoon slot and cricket again in the evening, cycling at night. This became a passage of rite for every summer, even power cuts were blessings in disguise, for we have extra time for cycling. The beauty of growing up with your cousins is that you don’t need to search for friends and you are never short of stories and conversations.

The only time we cried was when India lost the world cup and the biggest problem of the day was to choosing a cartoon to watch. There were no mobiles to stop you from actually calling people, no Facebook to waste your time following someone in the neighboring house and no WhatsApp to form imaginary groups. Actual human interactions were the norm and we never thought that they would be replaced with technology.

Riding one’s first bike was probably the best excitement of any one’s childhood. It’s even better for me, sneaking at midnight to learn on my dad’s bike made it even more memorable. Our parents still find it very difficult to digest the fact that we managed to do that regularly right under their noses. We fell, got hurt but never backed down from learning. There were a few moments filled with fears but we never stopped enjoying every moment we had. On a wonderful night we nailed it and rode the bike long into the night. On that night, we did not just cross the “Laxman Rekha”, we flew over it. I don’t say it is the safest way to learn but it is not a bad one either.

How many of you remember your first midnight bike rides, the first time you saw empty roads and how the world seemed to move slowly and you were the guy running. How many of you remember the feeling when you did a Shah Rukh Khan by stretching your hands while driving? How many of you remember how you felt when your crush sits on your bike for the first time?

The first love stories are a different story altogether. The first lies, those anxious moments before meeting your sweetheart, the first day of college, I wonder if those feelings are still around, somewhere in the archives of our memory.

They say you are never too old to read a comic, and I believe in it. From Chacha Chaudary to Tinkle, TinTin to Calvin & Hobbes, Batman to Jack Sparrow, Narnia to Lord Of The Rings, comics and fantasy worlds have always stayed with me. These are not just characters, they are my imaginary friends, friends who help me in times of distress. Friends who never abandon me, friends who are a family. I am never short of stories about these worlds. Life without those characters wouldn’t be this beautiful.

I still remember my first fantasy movie on a big screen. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. I still remember that awe struck feeling when those magnificent worlds and characters unfolded and I am still the same kid who watches each movie with the same excitement. I still dream of discovering worlds like NARNIA while opening a closet or having super powers like Spider-man or Superman. Or I wish I could create a room full of memories which I can access like in Interstellar or move back and forth in time in a snap.

Growing up, I had somewhere lost track of what really made me happy and was stuck in the fictitious norms of the society.A hard earned degree, stressful work and being updated with fashion, all enabling me to live a flamboyant lifestyle, for what? To keep me happy? Which I was, without any of  those things. The only money I had was what my grandfather gifted me, my favorite t-shirt was a Pokemon shirt, the only expectations I had on me was from my local cricket team. Money, fashion, society and expectations never made me happy. But my family made me happy, my friends made me happy and my dive to take a catch made me happy. All these years did we become more advanced or did we distance our self from what we really are?

I don’t want riches or fame, I don’t want the best grades or a beautiful girl, I don’t want a flamboyant lifestyle. I just want good company, like I had back in my childhood. I want to live the day without worries, without deadlines and without dogma. I want to have the excitement of learning something new, visiting a new place, having a good conversation and smiling over coffee, sleep under stars and wonder what happened to a long lost friend. I just want to live, like I lived in my childhood, fearless, careless and happy.

Back then,
Hair strands were thicker ,
Body was much fitter,
Future was brighter,
Disappointments were lighter, &
Life was usually better.

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