How many of us remember the first time we actually gained conscience? I do not know whether I actually had a downtrodden childhood, but I do know that I wasn’t recorded or photographed.
The first thing I remember about myself is that 20-year-old picture folded in small pieces- a flabby, chubby little baby splashing water in a red bucket. Apparently I was bathing. I loved bathing in such a way, squeezed into that particular red bucket, with warm water. Now I know where my knack for heaters came about. All the more peculiar was my spiky hair, I can’t remember having anything but a lazy set of hair, which would fall back sloppily back on my forehead no matter how much I try to make it stand still. That’s why I gave up on gels, bylcreems and what nots. Heck, I did not even bother to comb my hair this morning when I came to work. My pair of hands always seem to do the trick, a couple of brushes, and walla, there you go. All set.
I was imaginative when I was young itself, another thing I knew. I did not have siblings. When I had active conscience, we were living in small shop house just by the side of the road. Nothing spectacular. Shop in front, and further back of the settlement was a spacious room which was our living room. My life was filled with Lego toys, constructing, dismantling, constructing again, and then losing all of them again and crying for new ones. There’s a sense of satisfaction when I manage to build the toy like I wanted to. But I never actually did it. I am bad at mechanical constructing, and I guess I was born with that defect. My mom built those things for me. I’d be spending ages fondling them, and she would sit down, take her time, and come up with it. Obviously, she would teach me how to do it, but the last thing I would be doing is concentrate. Why concentrate? There she is, my mother, to build it for me.
It sticks till today, the constructing or mechanism bug. I never know how things work mechanically. I guess my sense of creativity is too liquefied that mechanical matters never stick in my head. I can’t fix a pipe to save my life. And people will be busy telling me ‘you are a man, do it’.
Well, that’s where my blurriness started too. I hate it when they ask me to do things I have no idea of. I climb, I touch it, but I know I’m never going to do it right. Sometimes I manage to fix things, but that just happens, I always have no idea how I do it. These are things I’m bad at. Everyone has something they are bad at, but unfortunately my shortcomings were never viewed objectively. It was unbecoming of a man, that’s what I was told.
Well, back to that topic in hand, imagination. Yes, that. I had nobody to play with. I stepped outside of the shoplot, to an open space we have right outside the shop (a space between the main road and the shop entrance), and played by myself. There always was an imaginative friend. But I can’t recall who that imaginative friend was.
I used to study the way I was told to, but looking back, it is a stated fact now, I was never good at studies in the first place. Yes, there were an abundance of As in my report cards, and my mom would have a satisfied smile every time that happens, but eventually, they did not matter to me. I did not want to study. Till today, it remains; I do not want to study. I want to learn. I wanted to learn. I asked questions for which I knew I wouldn’t get a definitive answer.
The most striking image I remember from my childhood was that of a lizard roaming around without a tale. Peculiar, abstract, I know. But that’s how my mind worked. Probably how every child’s mind worked; Always looking at the world with the spectacle of wonder. Glasses that adults will never desire to wear once they take it off.
I would sit and gaze at such images for an awfully long time, no matter how short and small I was back then that my neck would hurt from having to gaze upwards to the ceiling for fifteen continous minutes with my mouth wide open. Or there will be moments when our necks would hurt from gazing below and wondering at something.
There are wonders both above and below us- to our right and left. But as we grow older, we develop a stiff neck. We refuse to look anywhere but just in front, one way, in front. Whats above us and below us doesn’t matter anymore. There is only us, and where we are heading to.
And then the biggest crime happens- in the quest for a destination, the journey is lost.
I’ve got my destination, but I’m taking my time to enjoy the journey.
As we turn into adults, just like the lizard, we cut off the tails in order to survive, we cut off the trails of our past memories, these little things that stick in your head. We are surviving, just like how the lizard does.
But I don’t cut my tails. That is what making me write this today. I’ve retained that wondrous way of looking at the world- Looking at it through a microscope or a binocular, with wonder and agape. That little boy who splashed water in the red bucket I am not anymore, but the soul which exuded that excitement is still alive.
I don’t have videos or photos who frame my childhood. Whatever came from it is embedded here, deep within. Why need photos then?
I don’t feel deprived anymore when I have to tell people I don’t have pictures from my childhood. For I carry so much of it within myself rather than trapping them in an old dusted photo album.
Afterall, lizards are lizards and humans are humans. Aren’t they?