January 8, 2017
Writer Payon has been sharing many wonderful paintings of acclaimed painters on his Twitter account. I’ve been saving some of the paintings. I showed them, this week, to the children at our learning centre.
Haseen, who was upset with me till then, as I had inquired about the tussle he had with his brother and another boy on their way back from the class the previous day, was the first one to join. (“Appa, Haseen anna would become alright, if you offer to show some movie on the laptop,” my daughter had suggested.)
After going through most of the paintings, he himself chose one, (Gabriele Münter “On the Seine”, 1930) and started drawing. Sahana and Tamilselvi joined him as well and drew their own interpretations. Jumana, who had been troubling everyone with her naughtiness, lended them the crayons for colouring.
“Akka, do you have those Bangalore biscuits,” asked Jai. We had run out of them long back, and offered them other biscuits.
The learning centre took on a new hue. We started clicking some pictures. A joyous sensation gripped everyone. Unexpectedly, a celebration got staged.
September 19, 2013
As I walked my daughter to school and came out, I heard a few instructions being given to older kids during their morning assembly.
Avoid talking to strangers. Do not accept anything from them. Be alert.
AVOID going out ALONE.
All sane advices, I should think, as a modern day urban parent. But damn it. What kind of a world have we created for our kids; a world, where they can not go out alone – and chase butterflies; fly kites, and run after the cut ones; spin tops, and split those of your opponents; play cricket on the streets; surreptitiously jump into the backyards of locked houses to retrieve the ball hit there by an aspiring Srikanth, alright, Shikhar; climb trees, and pluck fruits, or gather neem leaves for Bhogi, or just sleep on a cushy intersection of branches; go to the library; cycle; explore; discover; learn. Alone.
And we dare to deride this generation as loners, couch potatoes, computer game freaks and nerds.
Of course, I can hear you – they can do some of it and a lot more…within the protected walls of your posh apartment complex, if you stay in one: under the watchful eyes of security guards and caretakers. Of course, they have their private swimming pools. Of course, they travel to one new country every year; and they have their Disney Worlds. Stuff, many of us couldn’t have dreamt of.
But I dare say, a child will trade all these for that wee bit of freedom, if she knows of its existence.