When I was a kid, I used to think what it would be like being a big man. I would try acting what my father did. I would try to boss around people. I would drive my plastic bicycle all around the house, pretending that I was driving a bike. I would go outside the house when my mum was washing clothes, just to look at the protruding teeth of the monster which my mum said lived near the neighborhood tree. I remember it too well. I used to have a small jar in which I would collect all those gritty stones and magnets and rubber bands and even toothbrush bristles. “!!” I have a younger brother. One year older to me. We would play WWF and fight over who would sleep with mum and who, with dad. I had a cute girlfriend too. 😛 We four would play Poshum-pa and hide and seek and one more game in which you have to hop over boxes over the turf marked with red brick powder. Those were some moments. There was no tension. No agony. Not a tinge of guilt even in the deepest vaults of my heart. I want to re-live all those moments….
It is five pm in the evening. And I am sitting on a bench in a public park. I am thinking of owning a private park one evening. There is a pretty girl on a see-saw. There is a smart boy on its other side. I have a book in my hands. There are pre-boards tomorrow. A ball rolls up towards me. The pretty girl also comes towards me. “Bhaiya, why are you not playing?” The Pele in me gets a sudden jolt. I close my book. I keep it on the bench. “Can I play with you?” I ask, those little kids all strewn with mud and sweat. Then I lift myself up from the bench. I kick the football with all my might. “No…….” Almost the entire park shouts back. I retreat back to my place. I place myself back on the bench. The cute girl goes back to her see-saw. But the football is still there. In all its glory. May be, that is the reason, girlie….
Yes, I confess. I want to be a baby again. Not because people say babyhood consisted some of the best moments of their lives. Not because babies are the ONLY honest creatures in this world. Not, because I am actually fad up of my current: busy and monotonous life. But all the while yes. I want to be a baby all over again. I want to be a baby because I think I am still a baby in this much more self-proclaimed mature world. I am fad up of pretending too much…
It is one pm in the afternoon. And I am sitting beside Ravi in our ‘famous’ classroom. Our English teacher has given us an essay to write. And the topic is, well, “If I were a baby once again”. The first question that came to my mind was: Am I still not a kid? Have I grown up so much? But it would be stupid asking such questions. I look here and there. All the people are frantically scribbling pages in front of them. I look at my own notebook. It is still empty. I think about Ravi. Then I think about her. I think about my own reputation in the class. And I continue thinking about other various things…
I still remember that day. We were traveling by a blueline bus. Me and my father. As expected from a father, he was standing where as I was more than comfortable on a seat. Actually too spacious for my midget self. I was doing the usual thing that I prefer doing during such hours. I was observing the people around… My eyes felt on an old man. He was standing near the conductor’s seat.He was visibly poor and definitely very weak. I looked at him for rather a long time. But, then, I don’t know what happened to me, I stood up and offered him my seat. He did not take it. He just said: No, No, don’t worry son, there are people who can’t see the pain of old age. You too will become like them someday. Then why pretend unnecessarily? In fact, I too used to be like you. Once upon a time….
It is…. “what is the time?” I don’t know. “How I got here?” I don’t know. I look around. There are a lot of people around. I look at myself. “What??…I am naked?” I look at the mirror nearby.” Oh, I am a baby. It must be a dream then. Oh, yes, I am a baby. At least in my dreams. There is Ravi. Not a baby? What sort of dream is it? Oh, whatever…” I go to him. He picks me up. I slap him on his face. His face contorts for a second. But then he starts smiling. “I hate it.” I slap him once again. He smiles once again. It make me hate him some more. But then he buys me an ice-cream. “Wow!!”And there is ‘she’. “This time two times Wow.” I toddle down to her. She holds me up in her arms. “She is actually hugging me!!” I feel ecstatic. This must be some dream. It can’t be reality. But then dream it is. But I am with her. But?…What But? I raise my head and kiss her on the cheek…..
And there is Miss < >. She is truly beautiful. In fact more beautiful than her. In fact, the most beautiful person I have come across ever. In, fact, I love her. The way she talks. The way she looks. It just mesmerizes me. But I have never expressed this to anyone. Not even Ravi. People say it’s a taboo. To express your teacher that she is beautiful. I know even she won’t like it. Even if, she was the only one who taught me: “A thing of beauty is joy forever.” But now is the chance. I go to her. I tell her she is beautiful. She laughs at me and then…she pinches me(??)..
I look up. Mrs. ( ) is standing near me. I look sideways. Ravi is laughing his asses off.
“What have you written? Let me see.”
“Oh, Maam, please maam, just some more time.”
And I start some frantic scribbling….
I don’t know why but yes, I am weird. And I am weird because I think that whole world is weird…
After few minutes, Mrs. ( ) appears once again.
“So, are you done now?”
What I had written was the following:
IF I WERE A BABY, THE WORLD WOULD BE A MORE BEAUTIFUL PLACE, AGAIN...