Apr 27, 2013

Golden nothings

People post their childhood photos on Facebook, brimming with mischief and innocence. The screwed up eyes, the broken tooth smile, the naughty glints, the tongue stuck out. There are cricket bats and stumps and beach balls in the photos, adding to a sense of a full childhood, as it should be. There are other kids in it, playing with them, adding to the cuteness.

I look at my childhood photos. There is nothing like that in them. My photos are just me, alone. No siblings, no cousins, no cute snotty playfellows in them. Sometimes my Dad or Mom can be found in my photos, looking indulgently at me. I am never to be found playing in my photos. There is only one photo of me where I am tearing apart my Mom's wedding saree. Well, my Dad thought that moment was more precious than the wedding saree, so he chose to take a snap than rescue the saree. Other than that I am most passive in all of them.

I guess my photos are a reflection of my childhood. There were no friends. My first best friend was made in std.  7. Till then I was happily alone with my thoughts. I never liked to play in the sun. I was happy to fake some mild illness and read under the trees during PT Time. Chess was my game of choice and Scrabble was my favourite exercise. There is no snap of the hours spent reading Nancy Drew in a dusty corner of the public library.No one has captured the moments where my school librarian gave me grown-up books off the record. Nobody knows how much I cried over Sidney Carton's death when I was 11.

I am sure there are others like me, who grew up feeding their imagination rather than actively experiencing life. The way the rest of the world looks at childhood, we will always be made to feel like we didn't our normal share. That just isn't true. Our childhood was every bit as special, our growing up was equally heart-breaking if not more. After all, if you read about the horrors of adult life well before time, doesn't that dampen your wish to be grown up? Our innocence was precious too, so were our joys and sorrows. We bear our own scars, most of which are not visible to others, but we know why we don't like strawberry ice-cream or that red colour dress. 

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