Thursday, June 30, 2005

Vanishing Childhood

“Vinu, wake up my dear, mamma is going to office.”

His mom’s voice used to be the morning alarm for Vinu.

“Have your break-fast which is kept on the dining table. Don’t forget to drink the milk. Yesterday you didn’t drink it and it was wasted.”

By the time he wakes up from his bed, Vinu’s pop and mom would have left for their offices. The maid would have started her work in the kitchen. Though Vinu is only three years old, for him, time immemorial this has been the routine.

Straight from the bed he went to the window of his bedroom to have a look at the world outside. The sun was already up and running and so do the crowd in the roads outside.

Their flat was located in one of the busiest corners of the city. There was no space left in the city. So less so that even the buildings found it very difficult to stand up. There weren’t any independent houses with lawn outside but only flats with balconies of the size adequate only to hold some junk, two three flower pots and a rope to hang the clothes.

Vinu never went outside for playing. There were't any free spaces for him to play. In fact the case was the same for any other child in the city. He used to see cartoons, played with the pokemons and did some artistic works on the bed sheet. Very rarely only he saw his father and mother. At first he felt sad. But then, even at that small age, he kind of adjusted with it.

Once, his cousin from the village came to Vinu’s house for a visit. Vinu was amazed by the stories he told. He said they have a very large open space in front of their house. They have very big fields. He even explained its size to Vinu. He said it would be covering a distance equivalent to that from his flat to the junction nearby. Vinu became extremely jealous hearing all these things. He even presented the topic to his parents thinking that they all would go and stay in the village. But his pop’s and mom’s job was in the city and they said they will be falling short of food and toys. And he agreed to them.

Vinu looked out through the steel grid attached to the window. In one of the branches of the lean teak tree which stood beside the flat, he saw a bird-couple with their small kids. The kids were about to fly and the birds were helping them learn flying. While he was observing this, one of the small ones took off from the branch. Its parents helped it to fly towards the open sky, towards freedom. And the other ones followed.

Vinu watched all these carefully. He didn’t feel much about the happenings. In fact he was so young to think about those. To think about growing up in the open world, to think about doing things he liked, to think about playing in the open space, to think about how his childhood is being killed inside the four walls of a flat. Only thing which was there in his mind was his mom’s words.

“Have your break-fast which is kept on the dining table. Don’t forget to drink the milk. Yesterday you didn’t drink it and it was wasted.”

He ran towards the dining table to drink the milk. He didn’t know that the milk was already frozen.