[ Krishnan M ]
It was just another casual weekend and I was lazing around my sofa in my home in Dubai trying to feel the definition of a couch potato. My eyes supported my feeling and fell upon the TV remote. As the channels flipped across, an old Hindi song on a music channel caught my attention.
‘Bachche man ke sachche’ from the movie ‘Do Kaliyaan’ – a 1968 release.
My mind travelled back into the 1970’s when the innocent kid in me was busy exploring the pages of friendship. And I was carried across to Arunachal Pradesh, a remote place called Tezu, from where my childhood blossomed. One of those childhood incidents unfurled before my mind.
During those days, the population of Tezu was small and almost all faces were familiar. Private cars were hardly seen. The roads serviced cycles, cycle rickshaw and scooters apart from pedestrians.
Our neighbour’s son, Mintu was my classmate. We were in class six. Our walks to and fro between home and school were together.
It was a rainy day and we were walking back home through the green grass of the jubilee ground, which was nestled over an undulating plain, among the greenery of the town. The road snaked beside the ground which led to our house further down near the post office.
I can still feel the splash of water droplets on my face along with the smell of the green grass when we kicked the water lying on the grass. We continued with our play on the grass as the rain drizzled on. Our ears picked up the sound of an ambassador car passing through the road, but our minds ignored it and we carried on. The sound of the car abruptly stopped instead of fading gradually, which forced us to turn around. It was the deputy commissioner – a lady.
She looked at us and at our umbrellas lying metres away from us, upside down with water collected inside. We got tensed and looked at each other before walking slowly towards our umbrella. We raised it over our head only to be drenched with the rainwater. The DC smiled and moved ahead.
Now several questions started storming our tiny minds. Mintu looked at me puzzled and raised one of those questions. “Krish, what happens if the DC complains to our parents?”
Mintu’s question made my blood run cold. I sat on the ground with a fist on my chin and elbow on my knee. I replied that we should have directly gone home without getting wet. I looked at him and blamed him for taking the decision of playing in the rain.
He looked at me angrily, pointed his fingers at me and said, “You started playing first, not me.”
The blame game snowballed into an argument and after some time, both of us were on the ground fighting ‘kushti’. After a couple of rollovers Mintu suddenly looked at me and said, “The DC was smiling!”
I stood up immediately and raising both of my hands said, “Madam won’t complain.”
We were completely in smiles again, hugged each other and started walking towards home with hands on each other’s shoulder. Looking at us, no one could tell that we were fighting a moment ago!
I really miss those innocent moments.
During our walk back home I said to Mintu, “It is very nice to be a DC, we can travel in the car.”
“Don’t worry”, he replied casually, “Your father is an engineer now, my father an operator. After several promotions your father will become DC”.
I interrupted and said, “After that, your father will become DC.”
“After more promotions”, Mintu continued, “Your father will become chief minister and my father minister.” I took over and said, “Then my father will become prime minister and your father chief minister”.
Mintu looked at me and exclaimed, “Your father will be the president and my father prime minister…” and our laughter continued until we reached our respective homes, where we neither saw any prime minister nor a chief minister.
Luckily, our clothes had dried out and there was no sign of the DC either. We sighed in relief.
I came back from my reveries to Dubai… I realized children are true to heart and at times we adults need to go back to learn again. Their innocence and purity are never spoilt by any mundane affairs or activity.
(The author, a business development manager based in Dubai, spent his childhood in Tezu and was a student of Tezu Government Higher Secondary School from 1976 to 1981. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)