Tag Archive | childhood

Childhood: A World Of Wonder And Magic

Charles from Mostly Bright Ideas, recently did this post here. He brought so many memories of my childhood back that instead of writing a comment on his post I decided to do an entire post here.

As everyone from my generation would say, almost gloatingly, we spent more time outdoors, playing. The television reached here late (in the 80’s) so we had very little to distract us from our playing.

My most vivid memories are of my summer vacations that I spent at my grandparents’ place where all of us cousins would be together for whole two months of free vacation time on our hands. In my age group, we girls were out-numbered by the boys at 2:4, which got further skewed when their friends joined in, and we(girls)  had no option but to join them in their boys’ games. So we spent our vacations, playing marbles, gilli-danda, sitoliya, hide’n seek, flying kites and going for long bicycle rides.




















Apart from this there were many other activities that we indulged in as that particular year’s ‘flavor of the year’. We spent one vacation mastering our cycling talents, with a lot of funny mishaps thrown in, in good measure. The next was spent in gardening when we surprised ourselves by actually growing some vegetables. It was a proud moment for us.

Another one we spent trying to learn the fine art of cricket bowling. Our oldest cousin brother was struck with the cricket virus and he insisted on taking up the role of our coach. He bought a book on bowling, drew a cricket pitch on the terrace and we spent the entire vacation taking lessons on how to grip the ball for off-spin, leg-spin, googly and bouncer varieties of bowling. Had we persisted the Indian cricket team would have greatly benefited from our skills.

And the year we got toy bows and arrows and maces for gifts, we spent enacting stage plays, mostly the Ramayana or excerpts from the Mahabharata. The elders of the house would suddenly find some of their clothes(mostly sarees) missing as they were pilfered away to dress ourselves up and also to do up a makeshift stage, as a result we would be unceremoniously shooed out of the house.

I was a regular tomboy, till I went to an all girls boarding school, where in the company of other girls, I developed a few girl-like traits.  My dad and mom never stopped me from doing a particular thing just because I was a girl. I was the first girl in my group of friends to learn how to ride a bike. I still remember very clearly, every Sunday morning, my dad would hoist me up the seat of the bike that we borrowed from our neighbours. We didn’t have those cute kid bikes available back then so we used a full sized bike, as a result, my feet couldn’t reach the ground. My dad would then spend the next half hour running behind me (with short breaks) till the day I finally learnt to ride it confidently. Getting off the bike safely was a totally another thing though, that took much longer to learn.

And now when I think about it, we, as kids, played so many games. There was Hop-scotch, Statue, Four-corners, Eggs in the Basket, Kho-kho, Rope skipping, One legged catch, Dodge ball, Chain, Cut-the-cake, Help… . whew!! apart from sports like Badminton or Table-tennis. And I haven’t yet listed the indoor games we played.

Sometimes I wonder if today’s generation is really missing out on some real fun? They do play outdoors, that is, they go for the practices of  various sports and their after school hours are packed into a tight schedule of  one class after another. Does that leave room for some imaginative play? Of  creating new games out of mundane things around them. A bed-sheet, for us, would turn into a tent and we would be soldiers at the front, or a group on a picnic, or hunters in the jungle. Cardboard boxes would send our imaginations in a tizzy. There was nothing we couldn’t play with.

And I’m sure today’s kids would find our games outdated, or even boring. They would be more interested in getting that next high score on their gaming consoles. As I look around me, a kid of average 2 years can manage the basics of a tablet and play games on them. And sometimes I think that too is important because the world is getting more and more digitized even as we speak so they need to be skilled in the use of modern technology.

So I don’t know if I should be claiming, gloatingly, that we had more fun or their’s is also the good way to have a great time. Maybe all the generations have had it good in some way or the other. What do you say???


“Parenting “is the new buzz word in today’s times. Everyone, the young parents, the would be parents and even newly weds , are talking about it. There are discussions, seminars, workshops, books and tv shows dedicated to Parenting.

Has rearing children become such a big job that it garners so much attention from all quarters? Is there a right way to bring up your children? A text-book method to go step by step? Or is it like a perfect recipe – take a child, add a teaspoon of discipline, a pinch of scoldings, 2 cups of your time and simmer lightly in the flame of love. For extra zing add the rigorous schedule of various extra-curricular activities. If you follow these steps you can’t go wrong. Why then are the child and family counselors getting busier by the day?

Is that what parenting is all about? Does shouting to the world about your child’s good score in exams make you a good parent? Does sending the child to all possible activities whether enjoyed by him or not make you a good parent?  Does attending lectures and workshops make you a good parent? And did our parents not do a good job despite the fact that they never attended a single class on parenting?

This when, sometimes, they themselves were barely beyond the boundaries of adolescence and did not fully comprehend the meaning of parenthood and the responsibilities that came with it. And yet they managed to raise a generation that did fairly well for it self.

Today parenting has become ‘a game’ ,’a race’. “uska baccha mere bacche se aage kaise” and everyone joins the melee following the herd mentality, and trying to outdo every next kid in the vicinity. In the process, ironically, the victim is the child and its childhood. They are made to grow up before time and act as adults before they are out of their cribs.

So the question again… what is the right way to bring up your children? Is there a “one size fits all” mantra or a customized package to fit  each individual type. Should we impose our thoughts, beliefs, dreams and ambitions on the child or we let them learn through their own experiences, gently guiding, so that they gain insight to the world as it is now. Let them explore the world both outside and inside themselves and grow into whole human beings and not machines for whom success is only equivalent to money fame and glitz.

As Khalil Gibran says in ‘The prophet’—

“your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The Archer bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far”