外文标题：Wen Brought Back Childhood Memories
A boy named Wen contacted me. He was enthusiastic to tell me about Harbin, where he lives. His father has a restaurant in Harbin. I wasn’t getting his mail on google and he said, it might be due to China’s clamp down on Google for it’s spying on China. He later chatted with me on many subjects and was surprised when I told him that I hadn’t heard about a book named “ A journey to the west”. He had sprained his ankle while playing basketball and so had all the time in the world to talk to me, quiz me and to wonder over my dimwittedness while I wondered over his adroitness and ease with which he was translating my text in to Chinese,, writing his in Chinese, translating in English and sending so fast that I couldn’t cope up with it with my slow fingers punching tiny keys on phone and missing. That wasn’t all that he was doing while chatting, he was also sending to me the links for various videos and posting pictures as well.
When I complimented his skills, he modestly said that his grades in the studies weren’t good for him to believe that my praise wasn’t exaggerated. To me he appeared to be very smart for his seventeen years. Maybe, I am not in touch with the children of that age from my country either and they may be as smart or even smarter now. How much do we know our children, about our children? It has set me thinking. Did I know my sons when they were growing up? Did I know anything about their world, their apprehensions and their dreams? How much of them do I know now?
When our elder son was ten/ twelve years old, he would make minutely detailed pencil sketches of the characters in his computer games, he was fascinated with. I once came across his sketches tucked in a file, long after he had left for Australia.
I would bring to him intircate modelling kits with thousands of minature parts and detailed drawings for their assembly. He would spend hours assembling them meticulously. May be, from there he got in to a habit of caring for every detail while doing things. His impeccability is a challenge to his clumsy father who hasn’t ever got anything better than a frown from his diligent life partner whose moniker “Smart Sulekhika” says a lot about her personality.
All the treasures of our two sons, their videos, Computer games, toys and toy characters, even their pencil boxes and blazers are still sitting on the shelves of the cupboards.
They have becomes treasure troves of our memories of those days when we had little time to spend with them. Now whenever we open the panels of those cupboards, we drink the nectar of those moments we could have, should have enjoyed with them and the thoughts form as tears and spill from our eyes.
Now when you read this, I suggest, if you have your child or a grandchild near you- hug him/her, call him/her if he/she is in another room or just get up and see the kids playing out there in open and tuck the sweet moments in the your heart.
Though I am here in Sydney with our elder son and I hug him so often on one pretext or the other but it doesn’t feel the same. Thirty years down the lane a lot has changed. Save for the memories of those, cackles, curiosities, inquisitiveness and joys of chasing butterflies and watching ladybirds, I don’t find any traces of that child in him. Now I find him chasing targets set before him by his demanding job and at times when he expresses a desire to go and see some frolicking kids,we go to Darling Harbour.
Unlike in India, it’s not possible to see the playing kids around. Though there are lots of parks and open places but without the cacophony of children playing a discomforting quietness surrounds. The parents don’t have time for their children. Everyone is running a race without knowing why. How so often in this deafening silence , I long for his childhood to return to my arms in the form of his children so that I may live a little of it again before it’s all over for me