“Statue!!!” she yelled. It was like an NYPD officer saying “FREEZE” in his hoarsest of voices. As if, I was cattle about to be butchered. And then and there, I just wanted to slap that girl. No second thoughts. Just whack. Like a blind man playing cricket- he just hears the sound of a ball rolled towards him, and there, he whacks. Without a thought. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t a blind man. I was scared. I was feeble. I was just a small child then. Unaware of how to behave in the world which was very new to me; still is; will always remain. I felt scared of making a mistake. Never wanted to put a wrong foot forward. Never. Ever. Not in this life at least. Not knowing then, that this was just a myth. Like a balloon. Such that will never remain the way it was in the beginning. Like a face. Such that will soon be full of freckles and wrinkles. My entire effort of being good was like those fiction books- full of magical realism- intriguing yet impractical, into which I dug my head like an ostrich. There was no end to my pursuit of being good. But then, I was just a child; or am I still?
Today, when I go back, I feel sorry for the child that I was then. He did what everyone did. Always followed the herd. For, any defiance on his part made him less human- that’s what he was told then. He started living a commoner’s life. Played cricket, badminton, marbles, cards, hide-and-seek, hopscotch, kho-kho, langdi, statue-statue, jolly, wall-current, sakli, climbed on trees, hated studies, rang house bells and ran away, cycled indefinitely, punctured tyres, heard & told non-veg jokes, fought, cried, abused & got abused… he was just like anyone. A suitable boy; or was he?
The day he thought he was no longer a boy, he became a man. That’s where I enter. I made him dream. I made him grow rather strangely. I made him live a marooned life. Like a frog with a 5th leg. He completely repelled normality. Spoke less, observed more. Absorbed attitude, sarcasm, wit and slowly did his own bit. He knew he had come of age. He started reading- anything and everything. He started writing- which mostly started with ‘I don’t know what to write, but I feel like writing.’ Odd and ordinary things, he experienced and expressed. The more he found me, the less he remained himself. Soon, he disappeared. And I took over.