“Come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned” sang Peter Pan. I was taken on this magical journey with the casual visit of my niece with her 2 daughters. And the photoblog of my dear friend Vivek ( http://www.vivekvsp.com) which begins with a bewitching photo of his granddaughter: a black-and-white invite into the color-filled world of children.
Children around us are indeed an enchanting return to a world where all is bright and beautiful, birdsong is perpetual, everything is possible and curiosity & wonder know no end.
When I was a child, I wanted to grow older. But, this shit was not what I expected…. Disappointment galore!!!! So now, all the time, one wonders whether regression is really bad? is there a return path? can we go back? Back to the excitement, the wondering and the staring? Indeed I realize my desire to grow up was misplaced as WH Davies sang long ago:
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
…No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
And so “stop the world and let me off…I am tired of going round and round”. the only reprieve we “who have played the game and lost” will now get, is the time we are privileged to spend with kids, around them, playing with them, seeing the world through their eyes full of curiosity and wonder. But everything is a ceremony and a celebration, in the Eden garden of childhood. Tom Stoppard captured it well, when he wrote: ” If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older”.
For the GenX who believe posting things on Tumblr and Instagram is more important than actually living the moment, a word of caution: most of our childhood is stored not in photographs. Rather it lives in sights and smells. In the scent of biscuits and cupcakes that you so lovingly imbibed : even as you crossed the friendly neighborhood bakery, on the way back from school!! Childhood lies in the smell of your mother’s saree which filled your nostrils when you rushed to hug her when you returned home; the smell which still lingers and reminds you of the safest place in the universe!!! Childhood is entrapped in the early morning light when you woke up and crept into the living room to have a cuppa with your parents : pretending you liked without sugar tea as you wanted to show how grown up you were, just like your parents who had tea without sugar !! Childhood lies in the thick curtains you experienced on your first holiday at a posh hotel; in the lovely sunsets you saw with family at the hill station; and even in the smell of petrol and engine oil when the car broke down in wilderness and your father gamely tried his hand at repairing the car, to take his precious family to a safer haven before nightfall. Indeed childhood, and the associated memories, make you richer than Plutus and happier than Happiness itself.
Paulo Coelho avers : ” A child can teach an adult 3 things: to be happy for no reason, to always be curious and to fight tirelessly for something”. Were we to assimilate these 3 values and live by them, I am sure not only would we be happier but also make the world a better place for all whom we come in contact with. From my grandchildren I have learnt the importance of living fully and living well, of sharing and caring without fear or favor, the joy of giving and taking pleasure in another’s joy and success.
Imagine a corporate world where we lived by these principles: which the children in our lives can so easily teach and demonstrate to us. Imagine being happy and satisfied with our lot and not feeling jealous of what others have or receive. Imagine standing up and taking responsibility, volunteering for work assignments as they give us joy of expression and proving our capabilities. Imagine doing things without being afraid of being laughed at or singled out for ridicule. Imagine stretching ourselves continuously because we enjoy contributing with all our might. Imagine the whole organization applauding whenever there is an achievement which adds value to the company. Imagine doing what is right and doing it with full confidence. Imagine “Sharing Caring and Joy” define organizational culture. Where Win-Win thinking is practiced by all with full gusto. Can we imagine and help create such a corporation?
Our inspiration will come from children. They live freely and positively all their lives. Now we who have “grown up” ( or should I say “grown down” and “grown in” ) have simply to learn and practice a new religion: Be the one you needed when you were younger. The inspiration and the way forward lies with the young. Can we became children all over again? in spirit and demeanor, if not in in age? Can we attack every challenge with a “never say die” spirit? Can we be all conquering? Can we keep smiling when we win; and more importantly, when others win? Can we leave behind our narrow sense of self and be all encompassing through joys and tribulations, through failures and challenges? In sum, (as Hugh Prather, Notes to Myself says ) “can we just be, instead of being for” ?
I end with Poet laureate Wordsworth’s words
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is the father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
Gargee, my grandchild, teach me your innocence and love: vikas