You will not know me, Child

O dear, you will never know me!

You will not know my childhood odyssey and the wars of street cricket.

You will not feel the happiness in plucking flowers for the festival, nor dressing up for the temple. You will know them as rituals, not as brotherhood. You will not have ‘battle scars’ on your knees that I have as the result of running faster than the other friend in hide-and-seek. What’s worse, you will never know to play hide-and-seek!

Your nails will be polished and lips coloured much before I even knew their spellings right. Your fingers will tremble over the i-pad while trying to finish that car race that you think is the best game in the whole world. Oh Dear child, you haven’t really known my childhood.

You never will know how to stone a mango from its tree. To jump over fences and embark on a treasure hunt to find that missing cricket ball. You will never know the joy in feeding a street dog, nor watching an ecstatic mom give birth to a cuddly litter. You will never know to climb a tree nor swim in the pond, for ponds are now replaced by filtered and coloured pools.

O dear, you will never live the life I did, never understand the fun I had. You won’t even have the time to talk to me after school, you ten year old, as you rush to your room to finish that robo-attack that you had to pause because of your school bus. Maybe even you wouldn’t want dinner too! The only sound I hear would be your commands from across the closed bedroom door and not the happy screams from down the lane, like the kids I used to play with. You will never learn to trust, will you?

Oh dear child, know that I’ll always be there for you though you will never feel the bond.

You will now dress up as you have to upload ‘stories’ upon stories in all the apps you have in your phone. For me, stories were always from my dad’s imagination and lingered longer than a mere 24 hours!

You will come back and count the likes and reply to comments and not tell me about the day. Well alas, you have better companions in the virtual world.

You will not go out to play in the hot sun, nor come back drenched in sweat and mud.

You will not enjoy the beauty of the green fields, nor drawing water from the well. That’s already become history, you would say.

You will not devise new games, nor mingle with the neighbours. They’re so irritating and annoying, you would say.

You will never know the childhood I’ve had, my dear.

And  I would still feed you cut mango, dipped in salt and smeared with chilli!

‘Cause you will never know the tastes of my childhood – the dripping, drooling tongues that still water over them!

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