Everything is more beautiful and exciting when you are a child. You don’t need any rules or regulations. Neither do you require political or social correctness when you talk or move around or prance about. There is a lot of freedom in being unrestrained. Like the wind, like the sea, like the nature, you flow, you wave, and you grow through the warp and weft of life.
The smaller the child is, the greater the freedom is. You kiss and hug, you encourage the innocence and cherish every step. There is more creativity and imagination and the cosmos of possibilities is infinite.
What happens as you grow up?
Somewhere along the way, life happens. A stern reprimand for a passable mistake, a rounded O of the mouth and a turned up eye brow starts to count. The room for mistakes became less.
There is the story of ‘Marikolunthu’ in the book Ladies Coupe penned by Anita Nair. It weaves the poignant tale of a spirited young girl who grows up through the tragedies that happens to her. It curdles your heart as ‘Mari’ is transformed from a child with an open mind to a void adult filled with apathy.
Guileless, boundless and fearless
Every word is counted and weighed, every action is perfected and undone in equal measures. The restriction is so high, you lose your liberty to be guileless, boundless and fearless.
The child in me is always looking for approval and appreciation. As a responsible adult, you need to think twice before you speak. But I like the child in me better. I was bolder and not afraid to take risks. I could talk to anyone and find wonderful friends in them. A child is always curious, and never afraid to ask questions or live in the moment.
When I joined my first year at college, my initial allotment was at Palakkad Engineering College. I befriended an elderly couple near our hostel. The lady of the house was a gorgeous old woman who smelled of camphor and musk. Our age difference must have been about 40 years, but it never had a bearing on us. I would join her in the evenings and we had so much to talk about. It was a seamless friendship between women of different age brackets, different cultures, and different circumstances.
I was unafraid to open my heart to perfect strangers and there was no need to evaluate your words before you spoke. There was a sense of wonder, of pure joy, of a return to innocence and a simpler time.
I often take long walks with my kid on the Maryah Island bridges. We take a full wide circle around the Galleria mall and the Cleveland Clinic, which boasts of impressionable landscaping with lots of cycling-walking tracks and benches to cool down when tired.
We talk about everything under the sun and during those relaxed moments, we relish the silence as well as the conversation. Out tumbles her innermost feelings, and we take farther routes, unafraid to explore. We both become equals and the age gap between us disappears.
“Growing old is compulsory. Growing up is optional,” says Chili Davis. Kids take on problems without fear and are not afraid to plunge headfirst into things that interest them. They are willing warriors, and the burden and distress of experience do not contain them. They keep falling off their cycles learning to ride with balance. Minor scrapes and scratches do not deter them till they learn to ride with the wind blowing on their face. Suddenly you see them dare to perform stunts like drifting. Even though the long walks along the waterfront was for the child to learn resilience, it helped me decipher myself.
Pablo Picasso must have had this in mind when he said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Feby Imthias is a freelance writer based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @Feby_Imthias