at 40, they say. But even 40 year olds might just be a little
bit nostalgic about the fresh flavour of youth, of a tender
blush on the cheeks, of the enthusiasm over the simple budding
of flowers and living on the verge of danger.
comes but once in a lifetime as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
put it. Just once do ripples on the pond seem amusing, the
reflection of a loved one on the face of the moon seem real
and the so-called realisation, somewhere at the back of the
head, of forever living on a bed of roses.
cling on to these innocent dreams to survive, creating their
own worlds and building an urge to conquer and make the universe
a better place. The more experienced or the elderly merely
smile at these thoughts, even wishing back to the good old
days, when thinking the impossible was a habit and building
castles in the air was a favourite pastime.
however, I have been wondering what the children, held hostage
in Russia, were thinking about when they were cramped together.
I wonder what spectacles of youth they missed in those three
days, not to mention what they will be missing now.
one of those days, they were probably hoping for someone to
come and take them out of the mess. An unimaginable clutter,
in which they had never even dreamed that they would get themselves
into, maybe not even in their nightmares. With no food and
water, these children were deprived of the simple task of
imagining for more. All that they could have a taste of was
their own fear and an uncertainty of whether to accept death
or be granted with life again.
I am sure
that they could very well hear the wails of their parents,
hurdling outside the school area, screaming incomprehensible
words and noises, trying to have a peak at their child or
at least hear a simple word, and make sure that they were
days, the youth in another part of the world lost their ability
to dream and to think the unthinkable. Their desires were
merely limited to a plate of hot food, water, and a place
to sleep, free of the thoughts of slow and torturous death.
wonder as to what struck the children when they were on the
verge of their deaths. The letters which were supposed to
be written to the long lost friends, the childhood photographs
of the slumber party from the summer of 1996 to be arranged
and marked, the Friday night concert, a sorry to your best
friend for the horrible and meaningless fight you picked with
him last week, daddy's hug after coming home from work, mummy's
raspberry pies and the innumerable scolding for sitting down
to do homework.
what the world was doing, when these kids were dying of hunger
and thirst and hat to gulp down their cries for fear of being
shot. I wonder what everyone was up to when these youngsters
had to get their brains blown out in the blasts or had to
get shot at while fleeing from their captors.
what I was doing. I was probably planning my 22nd birthday
party. I am sure I was listing out the 35 people I had to
invite, arguing with Ma about the menu and making my room
as comfortable as possible for my friends. When the survivors,
dripping with blood, were being shown to the whole world,
I think I was doing my last bit of shopping for Pringles,
coke and the latest series of Friends for everyone to watch,
cry and smile over Rachel and Ross getting back again.
is that not the essence of youth? Laughing and crying over
petty situations even though unreal, giggling on the telephone
with the person you have a crush on, travelling with buddies
to far-off places during semester breaks, staying up nights
to finish the project due the next day at university, planning
a 6-a-side cricket match and throwing a surprise birthday
party for your friend. It is the little things that matter,
which have the youth so excited about living, in the real
sense of the word.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004