Come! Get out of the rut

Being with school kids is a good way to re-energise, rejuvenate



By P.g. Bhaskar (Life)

Published: Fri 28 Mar 2014, 10:20 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:39 PM

From time to time, it helps to move away from the staid, complacent, ‘everything in perfectly predictable order’ adult world and enter the realm of children. It can be a little bit unnerving, but that’s good. It will shake you out of your stupor and give you a much-needed jolt. It’s easy to assume — wrongly, of course — that the world of children is similar to that of adults — just viewed from a lower level and in uniform. Nothing could be further from the truth. It rattles you and teaches you that life is earnest and not merely a series of conferences where you mouth platitudes and conclude by deciding when and where to hold the next series of conferences.

Once when I was in my early 20s and visiting an aunt in Bangalore, I was requested to go to her daughter’s school to escort her back home. I had last seen my little cousin over two years back, but I foresaw no issue in identifying her — cute round face with a (then relatively new and fashionable) bob cut — and bringing her back home.

Half an hour later, I was standing, flummoxed. Hundreds of children with round faces and dressed in blue, (almost all of them sporting a bob cut) swarmed all around me. I looked around helplessly. It was as if some school kid-cloning factory had been put on auto pilot and gone out of control. Giggling, laughing kids everywhere; walking, running, jostling, shouting. The only thing differentiating them seemed to be the colour of their school bags and the water bottles they were clutching. Some 20 bewildering minutes later, I realised to my considerable alarm that all the kids, having found their respective guardians, had evaporated from the scene, leaving me feeling lonely and extremely stupid. Subsequently, it turned out that my young cousin hadn’t recognised me either and had gone off with a friend of hers to get dropped at home. When I returned an hour later steeling myself to break the bad news to my aunt and getting ready to report the matter to the police, my cousin was playing happily at home.

There have been several other instances but recently, I went to see my son’s stall at some sort of creative fair. Arriving there just 10 minutes before close, I scampered around trying to locate him. Finally, I had to call him. He was at the far end of a long line of stalls. Quickly, I started walking through the crowded aisle.

“Sir!”

I turned around. It was a strange kid in uniform.

“Welcome to our stall! It’s about global warming. You see, since many years, the earth ...”

“Er ... look ...”

“... such as pollution, deforestation and ...”

“Excuse me, I ...”

“ ... creating an ecological imbalance ...”

I smiled weakly, patted the kid and hurried towards my son’s stall. On the way, someone grabbed my arm. A younger kid.

“Uncle! Rubbish is an option.”

“W-what?”

“We make wealth from waste. Our survival depends on our creativity. The planet ...”

I shook off the kid’s surprisingly strong grip and ran, hounded by various cries and shouts, and an occasional tug by small, enthusiastic hands.

“Sir! Come to our stall!”

“Uncle, you want to buy this puppet?”

“Sir, visit our stall. This one!”

“Please vote for our stall!”

“Welcome to Art Attack. Sir, sign here, please!”

“We convert plastic into oil!”

“Uncle! Please buy this puppet. Only Dh 5!”

It took all my skill and resources to reach my destination with a whole minute to spare. It was an unnerving but refreshing experience.

P.G. Bhaskar is the author of Corporate Carnival and Jack Patel’s Dubai Dreams


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