Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wonder Years



(This post is a part of Kissan 100% Real Blogger Contest)

Most of us hanker for our lost childhood. However, given a chance I would love to relive my ‘wonder years’- ages between thirteen and fifteen. The age when one emerges out of dolls and enters into makeup! Honestly, I have never been as displaced as I was at age thirteen. As I reminisce, being nuts was so much fun. In fact, it was a blessing. Today in the midst of pervasive cynicism, the innocence and the naivety involved in being loony sounds even more appealing. What bliss it was to live in a make believe world. The world looked pretty with the ‘All is wonderful with the world’ glasses.

We lived in small town but the government bungalow had a huge landscaped garden with a boulevard of trees. The sprawling bungalow with mango and guava trees was nestling in the very lap of nature. Nevertheless, my own secret place- my comfort zone was atop the guava tree in the backyard. Interestingly, brother had made it comfortable by fixing a wooden plank between two strong bifurcating branches. Leisurely afternoons were spent on the tree, tasting the un-plucked guavas (Yes, never washed them). Apart from me, a flock of wild parrots were the only other visitors filling the dewy mornings with trills and dulcet cries. Even though the parrots looked exquisite pecking guavas and shuffling iridescent wings, I hated them. They pecked at all the ripe guavas much before I could!

Wonder years’ were also about hopeless infatuations and heartbreaks. Needless to say the infatuations appeared in the garb of ever-lasting love. When you are fourteen and besotted, you can waltz on imaginary clouds for hours with any moron. It’s almost magical. On bad days, every banal comment about clothes, boys and weight seems to upset. I cried my heart out for stupidest of reasons and agonized for days on my tree abode. Reason? Well a lousy hair cut prior to a party. Now that I rewind the reel, my tree abode epitomized a glorious kinship between nature and my wonder years.

There were moments when I would lose track of time staring at the sky as myriad ideas popped up. It was an age when confusion reigned supreme. Mood swings came with the territory. There were days when I would climb up my comfort zone only to brood, or melt into books.

Ah books!

Classics, Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews were done with. It was time to move on to my first Mills and Boon. The only hindrance was that the romantic novel was forbidden. “Not yet,” mom said. I imagined mom was specifically setting up rules to trouble me. Most girls in my class had already read the book. Why couldn't I? One lazy afternoon, after the limpid showers had stopped dancing in the garden, after the symphony between light and sound was long over, I sneaked out of the house with my forbidden novel. The ground beneath looked satiated, emanating a rare joie de vivre. The droplets accumulated on the renewed foliage disturbed my reading intermittently, but what the heck! Reading the forbidden book was fun.

I am sure, as children we all have interesting stories of bunking school, the first crush, the first date.
Even though teen years are an experience any mother would hate to re-live, the sheer innocence of times remains magical. Unfettered by the onslaught of television and computers, life had its own sweet charm. I am far too worldly-wise today. Aren’t all of us? We conjure witty one-liners. We have opinions. We are far more cynical. Which is a pity, because, the age of innocence is lost forever!



54 comments:

  1. Lovely post, Alka. I was transported to the guava tree, where I sat beside you watching you chomp through a guava enviously.

    I am repeating what I have said earlier. Its time you took up writing a bit more seriously. Your words have the power to transport readers into another world :) Atleast start with short stories.

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    1. Thanks Rachna. As I told you, I have several unpublished stories with me...Writing posts is coming naturally these days...Unlike you I am unable to think of plots, sub plots, twists ...Some day, perhaps.

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  2. wonderful post! It transported me back to my 'Barbies'!!
    -Portia

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    1. Really? Well I am glad you liked it. Thanks.

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  3. Lovely flow of words and a captivating narration! Alka, I second Rachna that you can write a book and keep the reader hooked till the end:)You took me back in time!

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    1. Thanks Rahul, but I am not sure about writing fiction.

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  4. That was quite a hullabaloo in the guava orchard! But seriously, the television and computers (and may I add mobile phones and tablets?) have upset the dreamland for ever. My twin daughters are just entering the 'wonder years', but how invaded and yet so constricted the world may have become for them!

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    1. Our wonder years were not about Facebook, mobiles, movies or malls....and yet they were magical.

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  5. Where even a little meant so much. But back then I was in such a hurry to grow up, to be an adult, to be free to do my own thing.

    And now that I'm free, I rue the loss of innocence.

    Beautiful post, Alka.

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    1. I relived some moments when my son was a teen..the mood swings, the angst and the thought that my mom set the rules specifically to torture me.
      Glad u liked it.

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  6. I liked this very much.It is not only teens that we miss, it is the every decade as you progress in life.The younger days are always sweeter

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  7. It was blisss in those days .. reminded me of the days we spent in delhi in the official bungalow my grand dad had , and then back in chandigarh.. I miss all my days and not just the teens but i would want ot live every year all over again ..

    the orchards reminded me of the Jamun trees in the big ground near to the house , the mali running with his big danda after us .. it was hilarious ..

    nostalgic days

    Bikram's

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    1. Ha, ha...True.
      Apartment living is entirely different.

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  8. Those were good old days. I am sure kids of this generation don't climb trees or play hide and seek in open. Computers have corrupted the innocence...

    A beautiful post...:)

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    1. Its a different way of life altogether....Glad u liked it.

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  9. oh yaa...those were the days when innocence was Natural and getting high always meant climbing those trees in our courtyard.....Life has changed a lot...isn't it....???

    Beautiful write up Alka ji...my best wishes for the contest....:))

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  10. very cute ..Love the expression...My childhood was spent same way in Delhi cantt Area where my dad was posted ..those old British style homes and garden with lot of trees ...reminds me of same thing But the difference here is we always moved from one state to another ... and when in adolescence age..Heart breaks and other things happen ...my irony was same ... it was dads time to get posted somewhere else... Today people aske me ..how come you had arranged marriage? same ans ..one has to stay at one plce to get into ISQ ..lol
    love those days n people ...
    love your post ...it will remind everyone of their childhood.

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    1. You lived in Delhi Cantt? Well my son went to TAFS Subroto Park.
      True,with transferred jobs we hardly had any time to nurture our fantasies.ISQ as you say.

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  11. Oh the fun, the excitement and anguish, the emotional yoyo-ing of those days! And of course, the books! Whatever we did or felt or discussed, I guess we lived each moment to the full. Experience does make us more cautious unfortunately. Nice post, Alka.

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    1. Yo Yoing is the word for emotions....Glad u liked it.

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  12. I have lived my prime years in villages. Studying religious texts in sanskrit in temple by the village pond ( no school there ), riding on buffaloes, learning how to use 'gulel' for naughty ends and ofcourse playing all the time in mango gardens :) There was no TV, no phone ( only radio ), no movies nothing ! Things changed when I moved to the city for "education" and its been a journey of sorts since then.

    So, yes... I can understand what it feels like being in nature. Hanging upside down on guava trees and sleeping on the khatiya there :) . Didn't read novels as there was no English for me early on. But, I guess there is excitement in things like that- like I have when I go see a good english movie or review some new operating system. Or even read some good article :)

    Innocence..ahh well... The world is such a different place now Mam. People back in village are not the same anymore. But why blame them.Even we are not the same people we started off as.

    I wonder whether my children would appreciate the simplicity ,innocence and humility which nature embodies. I would want them to be a good person..a free person. But will they be so... I wonder

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    1. PS- Thanks for taking us all back in time. Good times :)

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    2. I guess, wonder years in small towns still retain the old world charm...In the metros with high rise apartments/flats and gizmo centric life, children stay away from nature....Remember watching the fireflies lying in aangan during power cuts? My son has not seen fireflies ....
      Regarding innocence....one has to move with the times. in the cut throat world, innocence is an impediment..kya karein? Fact of life.

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  13. All the best with the contest.

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  14. Wonderful post m'am. Nostalgia with a sepia effect hovering my mind.
    I had spent most of the part of my life at my Nani's place. Over-protection was an all time issue but what fun it was to sneak behind the back and commit the prohibition.
    Those days.......

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    1. Have you seen fireflies Prateek..my son hasnt. Apartment life wakes you up with the cooing of pigeons and the buzz of air conditioners.
      The sparrows, the fireflies and the butterflies are all gone....

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    2. Yes, I saw fireflies long back. Now only found in villages. Skyscrapers like buildings prohibited them from entering cities. Sad, amazing things will soon turn into tales.

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  15. Lovely nostalgic post. Only you can weave such magic with so few words. I pity the kids today too. they have everything but the magic of childhood. We have to 'create' magic out of things for them if we are inventive. My children were luckier since we got the first colour TV when the younger one was in +1, in 2000! Yes, that late. Till then we had a 12" B/W portable :) I didn't have a guava tree, but my imagination that gave me wings to fly to the treetop and beyond. Sigh.....

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    1. Thanks dear.Living in apartments we wake up with the cooing of pigeons and the buzz of Ac's...no sparrows, no butterflies and no fireflies...Life is different.
      I have written too many personal posts. Time for political satires now.

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  16. You know how to make your readers live in your nostalgia..

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    1. This one sentence means a lot. If I could genuinely do that, all the pain in the neck right now is worth it.

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  17. wonder years are the best years
    like the narration

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  18. Wonderfully narrated. :) Got me nostalgic.

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  19. those were the best days of my life.. back then in school I used to think of growing up and working.. getting the slice of being independent but now those teenage days of roaming around with friends seems as the best. You will for sure win the contest!

    Weakest LINK

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  20. @sm...:)

    @Ria...Glad u liked it.

    @Rachit...Thanks for the wishes.

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  21. Alka,

    Memoirs of Golden Years told so captivatingly. A sure winning write up.

    Take care

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  22. Hey Alka! Just beautiful...The words are mesmerising and i was reminded of my very first M&B;) Life would have been much fun if we had stopped growing after 15. Good luck with the contest!

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  23. Ahhh....a trip down the memory lane. Nostalgic indeed. I can share your anger at the Parrots. The area beneath the Guava and the Jamun tree in our house was filled with half eaten fruit.
    The Army life gives you a lot of open space and green areas. I was allowed only half an hour of TV and Video Games once a week. It was a novelty. It was novels, comics and outdoor games most of the times.
    The 10 year olds in my neighbourhood are on their Play Station 24x7.

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    1. Army life and life in the Railways is similar...frequent transfers, bungalows, small towns... amd comics have become extinct.

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  24. I smiled when I read the idea of not washing the guavas...so so true. we could take so many risks and grow up so much better-be around trees, cycle down roads freely,eat that orange bar from the roadside local icecream waala, spend hours on the sunlit terrace-ideas that I might find horrifying if Seeya follows them.

    They surely are the wonder years:-)

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    1. Orange bars..40 paise wali.... jamun, raw mangoes then and.....pizza, calzones, choclates, cereal bars...now.

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  25. Sigh the teenage. I used to pick books from library and hunt for the photographs :) Still remember The Book of WHY in which I saw the naked bodies for the first time ;)

    Aah! The innocence.

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  26. Nice nostalgic post. 13-15 is a time most people treasure I think. Even I often saw I am always 13 at heart. Though parents like our ages 0-10, we ourselves seem to prefer ages 10-20.

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  27. Lovely post!! Looking back is so much fun...

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  28. this is really lovely...pure nostalgia

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  29. very true. The age of innocence is lost forever, and the blinding race towards maturity, ubiquity and omniscience has started.

    for my generations and older than mine, we are the only ones left with any tangible memories of childhood spent truly greatly

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  30. I think the fun was because of innocence and as you mentioned, 'All is wonderful with this world' glasses. I sometimes wonder why no one gives us the right picture of the real world, which we are shocked to learn about (later), but then I also think that if they had told us in plain terms, perhaps we would have had less fun. Or maybe not, we would have still thought that elders are stupid and ignorant :)

    Destination Infinity

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