Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 6, Issue 40, Tuesday, October 11, 2011



Vintage childhood

In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in.
- Robert Brault

For adults, childhood is a time universally yearned for -- a time all of us went through with experiences unique but at the same time similar. Happy or otherwise, our childhoods were coloured with the luminous paints of innocence -- hues so bright that through the foggy windows of adulthood, only their brilliance shine. While children only want to grow up into 'maturity', it is a known truth that they too will one day long for those heady days which pass by all too quickly.

This week, Star Lifestyle looks back through the foggy windows at a time of life when things were simpler and the world much smaller. It is a time to cherish, and for those inhabiting its splendours, a time to hold on to.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

The moment the sun peeked around the blanket of ominous clouds through the curtain of drizzling rain and shone bands of seven colours on the horizon opposite, tiny feet would be seen scurrying across the lawn with umbrellas held as high as the tiny arms would allow. A knock would sound on the doors lining the street and yet more feet would come out, all one could see were some legs, in shorts while others in frocks, running towards the porch of the abandoned old house -- their meeting place.

Today's meeting, in this drizzling rain, was to decide on a feast; a magnificent feast to celebrate a wedding that was taking place somewhere in the depths of the forests at that very moment. For this was none other than the "sheyal er biye" (a fox's wedding) and this grand occasion called for celebration.

They decided that the menu would include splendid khichuri and fried eggs. Who would do the cooking you ask? That would be done by none other than the expert organisers of the feast themselves! Cooking would be done at the place of dining. Thus was the consensus.

All settled, several pairs of feet ran out to their destinations, according to the requirements of the work that had been assigned to them. Some rushed off to get bricks and twigs lying around, while some scoured for pots and pans at home. The rest were busy asking mother for rice, daal, eggs and whatever they needed to concoct enough food for a group of seven, eight or even more.

By this time the rain was biding its temporary farewell, the sky was clearing up leaving behind a cool breeze perfect for proceeding with the plans at the venue, which was an ideal setting given the present conditions; the rooftop of one of their houses. With all things gathered and taken to the venue, underneath the open sky, a brick stove was set up and the khichuri left to cook while the eggs were fried.

Generous amounts were doled out on the cutlery, also rescued from mother's kitchen, and finally they dug into their food until they could have no more. What ensued was a quarter or so of an hour of sprawling around digesting the khichuri that seemed to lack something that the taste buds were especially missing.

With enough sprawling around done the plan was to have some dessert. The entire lot ran down into the neighbouring yard to the guava tree there and up went a few with expertise no less than the monkeys often seen sitting on branches! Some sat in the branches and munched their guava while others sat in circles below enjoying theirs.

Later a game of "kana maachi bho bho", "bou chi" or "manghso chor" was played in the same yard till dusk, for this generation had little if any familiarity with the magic box that showed moving pictures and it might as well be said that the magic box was a rarity.

Maybe one house in the neighbourhood had it and sitting in front of it hour after hour was neither plausible nor as fun as climbing trees, playing games, marrying dolls, flying kites, cycling and so much more.

Little did these kids know that one day when they would be all grown up, with children of their own, they would watch their sons and daughters from behind the door, spending day and night transfixed in front of the magic box; restricted within the walls of their homes, pitying them for the open fields they never had, the trees they never got to climb, the "sheyal er biye" they never got to celebrate, the beautiful memories that they never got to create.

By Karishma Ameen
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Farzan, Nihal, Lana, Alisha, Areeb, Nael
Special thanks to Tasneem, Tanzeem and Tabita for arranging the photo shoot


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