Let us go then you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky…
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S.Eliot
Hold my hand Tuni, let us run away to those times when life’s only woes were getting up early for school, Mom’s scolding and grades. Let’s go back to a time when we relished our bowls of Bonny Mix and building mud castles. Remember that sports tournament at the neighbourhood where we won together in a relay race. Do you happen to keep in mind Tuni our escapades that were always crazy and weird – mostly to the graveyards from where we were often shooed out?
Teenage had its share of troubles and frustrations. I was always burdened with weight issues and not getting enough attention from the cool guys. How uselessly I wasted days sighing after certain boys is laughable. Let’s go back to the age when we were meek and mild and as innocent as lambs.
Remember our family games Tuni when you took the guise of the father in a family of four. Our playmates Manu and Munu were equally blissfully stupid like us. And now both are such mature adults and am sure will scorn at the childhood eccentricities of the years long gone by.
The hide-n-seek games and the badminton matches were so crucial for us. So many others joined us for these games and when we set about to play these we were nothing short of the heroes set out to defend the pride of our very dear country.
When the sky turned almost ashen, when the cold winds started to blow faster and faster, how earnestly you called me Tuni and how we set about to run across the fields as the storm broke upon us. How we ran, ran and ran till we got completely drenched, till the wind got stormier than ever, till sand got into our eyes, till the storm took over our vision completely.
But the best time was certainly during the Durga Puja. How we waited for those elusive days. Even school exams seemed tolerable when we had the lure of the impending Durga Puja. From the bringing in of the idol, to kola bou chan, anjali, aroti and finally bhasan, everything from those years of childhood have been etched in my mind forever. And not to forget our functions – how seriously we took our dance and drama performances!
Now we might laugh at such trivialities but how pure and unadulterated were those joys of life. The happiness of seeing the first kash phul, the elation of the smell of new clothes for Pujo, the delight of eating together in the samashti bhoj, the excitement of getting onto the truck for bhasan and so many others Tuni. I think I have lost the count now.
Take me to those days Tuni where we won’t have to worry about getting old, parents’ ill health, relationship problems, all adult issues. I am done with my adult life Tuni. Do you have a way to go back to the days when we sneaked out of our compound and tried our best to hide the secret from our furious mothers?
Tuni I want to savour the smell of childhood, the beauty of innocence, the bliss of ignorance. I am tired playing the role of an adult I so longed to become when I was a child. Remember how you lied about your age and told everybody that you were actually a year older than all of us. Funnily Tuni, these days everybody cuts out a few years from their real age in the social circuit.
The social etiquette also says and you must have known it by now that these days it’s cool to be polite to everyone no matter how much we despise the person. The order of the day is to bitch behind the back. The sophisticated elite do feign their emotions so smartly. How uncouth we were Tuni back then to fight back and shout at people whom we couldn’t tolerate much.
Remember that cotton tree of our yesteryear? How at a particular time the tree blossomed and then came the entire set of the cotton balls. We burst open the fruits from the tree and out came the fluffy dough of cotton! We also played a game as to who could collect the most number of cotton balls and you always won. Not fair!
I can’t forget Tuni, how you stood for me and fought with the others for me. Remember those days when I was stupid and scared of climbing up the stairs when there was a power cut. How you tolerated my tantrums and walking with me till I reached my third floor home. I used to be too relieved to even bother how would you reach home in the darkness, but you never even once let me go alone. You were always there for me.
Do you still remember how crazily I copied you in everything that you did, right from haircut, to dresses to mannerisms. These days it’s very normal to copy. People copy all the time and are not apologetic about it. They copy ideas, copy codes, copy concepts and are very complacent about it. It’s cool to copy these days Tuni.
Let us run away Tuni and try and retrace the path of our childhood days. Let’s turn back time and run, run and run till we reach the point where there will be happiness and bliss. We will go to a time when we believed in fairy tales, Santa’s gifts, magic… when we believed in love.
We have already seen a lot of unpleasant things Tuni, when life seems so much amiss. More will follow in the days to come. The people whom we had seen as strong and powerful have fallen down and we have to pull them along. The time has come for us to take the helm. We cannot run Tuni, try as much as we want to. Childhood is elusive Tuni and it’s long gone.
Tuni, are you listening?