Once upon a time in a land not so very far away there was a little child. The child had a great life; it was filled with fun games, favourite foods, loving hugs and lots and lots and lots of playtime. Life was good. Then, suddenly a dark cloud appeared on the horizon. And by noon, it was right on top of the child's head. An unexpected enemy had suddenly appeared and it was called Naptime. Yes, Naptime was all that was evil; it was constantly in conflict with Playtime. At noon, a monster would suddenly take over Mother's body and issue the order: “It is noon. Jao, take a nap.” The child would fight like a knight in shining armour to protect Playtime, but it was all in vain. In the end, the child would be forcefully subjected to lying on the bed for what seemed like an eternity, sleepless eyes wandering, trying to ease the boredom. Ah... the Dark Ages.
Fast-forward to the present. Said child is studying, toothpicks holding red, bloodshot eyes open. Child looks at the book in front of it and tries to process the squiggles dancing on the page. One squiggle... two squiggles... the squiggles blur and the child sinks into a blissful darkness where happiness reigns and “EI! Are you sleeping? You have to study, you have your exams in a few days; how can you even think about sleeping? You always sleep, you should study more.” Euphoria fades away as Mother comes into view, hands on hip, denying all things good and... The child loses its train of thought as the tired eyes return to the squiggles on the page in front of it. At one time sleep was forced on it and now... if only God would return us to the Dark Ages.
By Sifana Sohail
One of the reasons why kids scream and shout when being dragged to school during their earliest years is the scary thought of eating away from home for the first time. Moms go to extraordinary lengths to make sure kids are comfortable in such a "hostile" environment.
Nothing spells comfort and security like homemade food when you're eating away from home. Back in the day, no matter what absurd request you had for lunch, your mom would try her best to comply.
Nowadays, if anyone wants lunch, or some form of it anyway, your mom hands you a 50 or 100 taka note and asks you to have aloo bhajii and parata. As much as I like aloo bhajii and parata, I'd like my mom to sometimes cook proper stuff for me. We want biriyani at 7 am and hunter beef sandwiches in our lunch boxes and absolutely no lau or corolla, ever. Just because we grew up doesn't mean we stopped eating stuff made at home. We want awesome lunch so we can show off our respective moms' insane cooking skills.
By Shaer Duita Phish Reaz
The days of playing with G.I. Joes, Barbies and board games are things of the past today. But who could ever forget growing up with “playtime”? Now, as you stare with envious eyes at your younger brothers playing with their trucks and little sisters dressing up their dolls for tea parties, you realise how much you actually miss having a playtime. What's more, how much you actually miss your parents telling you to go play.
As children, our playtime usually started around 4 o'clock in the afternoon and ended before sunset. For some of us, we were fortunate enough to go outside, while others would stay back home and play with their toys. Moreover, the rule was that you had to play. But things have changed now; when you think of sparing some time from your busy study schedules by getting on the computer to play games or play football in the field, you get the exact opposite reaction from your parents. For instance, your computer would be taken away from you or you'd be grounded. That's when you realise that now your parents scold you for doing the same thing they used to encourage you to do back in the day. Ironic, isn't it?
Illustration: Sarwat Yunus
Growing up does mean a lot of sacrifices but none is harder than the realisation that your mother just isn't going to feed you by hand anymore. That is the worst thing that can happen for more than one reason. And anybody who has been fed by hand while growing up knows the soul-crushing pain of finally having to stuff your own food in your own mouth with your own damn hands. It's the pits.
There are reasons why being hand fed by your mother is so special. First, because it saves you the time you would have spent washing your hands. Washing hands is difficult and there is no denying that. The second and most important reason is that when your mother feeds you, the food tastes so much better. This is a true fact. Maybe it's the way they mix it or there is some sort of magic which has embedded itself on their hands due to years of putting together tasty treats. Whatever it is, the fact is, the food tastes a hundred times better. And when your mother is feeding you, there is more love present than anything and hence you never get full. It is mother's magic, really. Hence, I am glad my mother still finds it in her heart to feed me by hand, otherwise I surely would have never grown beyond four feet.
Going to School
Once upon a time, not so long ago, we were woken up by our mothers gently caressing our angelic faces and telling us it was time for school. The school bag would be magically packed, nothing forgotten. It would even have a tiffin box in it with good food. When numbers and story-telling were over, with playtime in between, Mummy would be waiting at the gates with a smile. She would ask us what we did today, how many friends we had made, and what nursery rhymes we had learnt. Choking out those half-broken sentences were all it took for her to beam in delight. We felt like princes and princesses, and they were Queen of our worlds.
These days, the battered alarm clocks jar us into consciousness. Like half-slain zombies we stumble around, looking for our uniforms in the fridge and our breakfast in the closet. They are no longer put in their proper places by warm loving hands. But food is a luxury when time is scarce. So we sacrifice sustenance for the sake of education, and just get on with the day. But the day is cruel as it gives us trigonometric ratios to differentiate. And the worst is yet to come - those dreaded brown envelopes are going to be handed out today.
Lunch is pangaash maach. Throwing a tantrum won't get us chicken fry anymore, only a lecture, and an empty stomach. And, as expected, the inquisition begins… “Did you get your Report Cards yet?” “When is the Parent-Teacher Meeting again?” Sigh. It takes a lot more than nursery rhymes to win mothers' hearts these days.
“So how was school?”
“I also almost failed English.”
*Five years later*
“So how was school?”
“He looks at me funny.”
“Anyway, I almost failed English.”
By The Frog Formerly Known As… Frog
Illustration: Sarwat Yunus
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