The Good,  The Bad, The Ugly….

I was a kid-sometimes ago. I used to think when would I grow? When would I become the king of my life?

Back then, the entire universe seemed to be composed of only two entities. Anything that I experienced was either good or bad. Anything that wasn’t good used to be bad…and anything that wasn’t bad-seemed good.

 My family, my friends, my relatives were good.

The neighbour uncle who didn’t return our cricket balls was bad. Loosing my tooth every 4 months was bad. A daily evening walk with Papa followed by tikki, pastries and cold drinks was deliciously good!! That uncle of “toffee dukaan” was good.  But my regular fights with my sister were bad. Gloriously good were those evenings that saw 15 boys assembling on a small terrace to fight out for what they called the MAHABHARAT of cricket. And how bad seemed those early evenings when Maa used to wake me up for my school! Bad were those small world wars that I had with Maa over a small cup of milk.

Yes!! Few years ago…I was still a kid. I used to assume that as I’ll grow up, the good things of life will dominate the bad ones. I thought things were bad because I was a kid. Elders were not kids. And hence they never seemed to experience any bad thing!! They never begged for a cricket ball. They never lost their teeth (except Baba-but I was wise enough to know that he was too old!!). The grown up life seemed so perfect- the bad never seemed existing. It was bad to be a kid when I saw my uncle kick-starting his scooter and racing down the lanes of Delhi so freely. It was bad telling Maa every time where I was going and what I was eating.

The good was not good enough and the bads were worse!

I only imagined being tall enough to my Papa’s height and being the ruler of my life. Being a grown up, I would never have to beg for cricket balls (as I dreamt of owning a stadium). I would never have to drink that milk and never ever will I loose my teeth so frequently. At least that was what I thought being a grown up was all about!!!

I don’t know whether I have grown up or not. But I am sure; I am not a kid anymore. I have stopped begging for cricket balls from my neighbours. I do not drink milk. I do not fight with my sister anymore. Nor do I wake up early for my college classes. Certainly, I have grown up beyond the constraints of being a kid.

And as I have grown up, I have realized that the elements of life are too large to be classified as only good and bad. Life has got another darker side- the ugly side attached to it. The ugly side can be at times so rampant that it can dominate the good and the bad. As a kid, I could never see this ugly side. I never imagined it even during those bed time stories told by Maa. And now as I can see it, I feel cheated by my own dreams that said-“world does become ‘good’ when you grow old.”

Only a grown up person can understand the brutality of mankind towards itself. On any ugly day of month men, women and children are exploded up in the name of god. As a kid I thought how can god be a reason for such cruelty? But today, I am old enough to sense how the name of god can be held ransom in turn of bloodshed-just to satisfy the political gains of some.

Today, I know how ugly death can be. Despite all our medical advancements, how meek, how helpless we are. For me as a kid, death had only one meaning-bhagvaan k paas jaana-and that was a cool thing I felt!!! I have grown up only to realize that those gone by people never return. Never ever I’ll play football with Baba. Never ever Babbu Bhaiya would turn up to say “Padh liya kar.” And never ever would my Nanaji would share his childhood pranks with me.

I didn’t know what the word “rape” means. And today when I know it, it is ugly to read ABC no. of woman being raped per second in India and abroad. And it is uglier when I DO NOT GET TO READ that a rapist got punished. Society seldom claws the rapist. Law bows, order fails-and the rapist moves freely It is ugly when the society outcasts the innocent soul-just because she is no more a choice to marry with.

While we claim to be wise, modern, progressive, indiscriminate, intellectual, judicious society, our hypocrisy refuses to fade.

It is ugly to see the failed efforts of my family to turn me into a “brilliant” student. It is ugly when I think that I have never given joy to my near ones and dear ones. It is ugly I have never made them smile. It is ugly when my soul declares me the assassin of dreams. It is ugly when my mind gets brimmed with immense confusion about my future life.

Where are all those good things that my childish mind promised my eyes??  As I walk down the memory lane, I find those good things the best; and the bad ones seem so good now. Those memories moisten my eyes, sadden my heart-but elate my soul.

The moment I come out of these nostalgic clouds, all that ugly smoke surrounds me. In dejection, I start writing as an ugly event altogether. But then-life is a funny epic. The moment I am about to declare a verdict, it comes with yet another face-a face different from all the previous ones.

Years ago, I didn’t know how beautifully my mother cooks food for me.  Today, I realize the wonderful value of the food cooked by her. Even the tastiest feast here in college misses the love and warmth that she puts in simple daal bhaat. I realize how beautiful the word mother is. I realize how beautiful relation we share though our unspoken words and unexpressed love.

Now, when I see my little siblings, I realize how beautiful children are!! I realize how pure I was, when I was a kid. I realize how beautiful it is to play together with their toys. I know how beautiful it feels when I live again my own bygone era of childhood in becoming part of their pranks.

I never knew how dynamic life can be. Now, I can at least admire the value of each relative and friend…because somewhere deep within, I know all this is so temporary. The ugliness of death seems to have made me to respect the beautiful brevity of life.

Now as a young man, I am aware how beautiful can life be, merely by a glimpse of one single person. How beautifully the winds start resonating to the tunes of romance and how all the lovely poetry of this cosmos seems to belong to that lady. How beautifully the world brightens up as she smiles in the lawns of our college and how the heart skips a beat as one confronts her in the way.  It is beautiful to think how dear a person can seem despite being never known her ever!!

It is beautiful- dreaming again about bringing smile to everyone around. It is beautiful to ponder about the gifts that I’ll buy for everyone with my first salary. It is beautiful to dream about bringing one’s own lost glory back. It is beautiful to re-crystallize those hopes and zeal that seemed hibernating till now. And believe me folks-it is beautiful that we are ALIVE!!!

I may not have gown up yet.  I may not have become “The King” of my life-but I promise, someday I will!! As per today, I am just happy, and a bit proud that I have grown wise enough to have learnt all the elements of life-

the good, the bad, the ugly, and the Beautiful….

MARCH 19 2009.

~T T Papermate~

Papermate is just another face from the maddening crowd.

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