The picture showed my friend basking under a luminous arc of colour that was born of chaotic drops from angry grey clouds and a flood of light rays — a rainbow, stretched across the dreary sky, her arms reaching out to the band of colours on either side and her face lit with childlike glee.
Like a ray of light piercing into the thicket of a dark forest, this picture stirred a childhood memory.
It was mid-November. The cool wet air was upon our skin as we brightened the puddle-drenched pathways and school corridors dressed in our colourful best, our school bags as light as our buoyant spirits as we looked forward to fun-filled day.
The day commenced with an assembly when our teachers eased their lessons in obedience and flexed their fun muscles indulging in role play that stirred awake the child in them as they effortlessly mimicked us, their students, holding a mirror to the silliness that we often engaged in, leaving us teary eyed with laughter.
This followed a treat of ice candy that left deep stains on our tongues in its sweet, cold aftermath. Our worry on that day was that our free play that stretched for the rest of the day was drenched by a drizzle and an overcast grey sky.
We stood at the fringes of the open field, our hands outstretched as little droplets gently slid onto our sticky fingers. When the winter sun peeked through the puffs of grey as if to join in our celebration, nature threw in an arc of colours across the overcast sky as many of us witnessed our first rainbow.
As we stared, rapped in the sensorial joy of the resplendent show in the sky, someone exclaimed that there was a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
To discover your pot of gold at the end of the colourful rainbow, not for self-improvement, enhancement or possession, but for the joy of it. What’s more, your children will love you for it
To our carefree innocent spirit free from the shackles of possession, a pot of gold had little significance, its glitter shone better in the hands of pirates, explorers and great kings in the stories we read but did not hold the sparks of joy that insignificant pieces of twigs, mud pies and silly games in the company of friends brought about.
Our pot of gold on that day was heaps of ice candy, mountains of ice cream and lots of fun under the sun for our joy was in the significance of that moment and the enviable ability to be wholly present in it, simply for the fun of it.
When I asked Little Princess, what treasure she expected to find at the end of the rainbow, she said, “an iPhone”. Her answer was a reminder that children have evolved with the times, but I have witnessed the undiluted joy of her free spirit that is neither shackled by the constraints of time nor responsibility immersed in the simple joys of life like the child in Rabindranath Tagore’s Playthings.
Young and full of life
Do you speak your heart out to a cuddly teddy bear, make silly faces standing before the mirror, look up hopefully into the night sky for a shooting star, dance around your living room singing at the top of your voice, jump into water puddles when no one is watching or laugh your heart out watching Mr Bean or reading Dr Seuss and feel carefree, young and full of life.
The moments that require self-control in adulthood often get us to forget that there is the childlike essence in there, too. It feels liberating to occasionally loosen from the shackles that bind us to the monotony of adult life and have a little fun, just for the fun of it.
To discover your pot of gold at the end of the colourful rainbow, not for self-improvement, enhancement or possession, but for the joy of it. What’s more, your children will love you for it.
Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha.