Last Friday evening, I went to a small book fair organized on my campus. Although the book fair was specifically meant for children, I still wanted to go and at least smell those books once! It is a different pleasure one experiences while holding a new book, isn’t it?
The place was mostly filled with little children. Some were interested in looking at the colourful pictures of the fables and the fairy tales. Some decided to carry on with their usual game of running around and playing. There were a few, guided by their parents across the place. The parents handing down their hard-earned knowledge to their legacies.
A particular little boy caught my attention. He held a paper and a pencil in his hands. With an enthusiastic yet concerned face, he went about picking up the books he wanted to read and calculating the money he had to pay. For all the time that I spent there, he simply could not balance his list of wishes and the money he was probably allowed by his parents.
A very old man accompanied him. This old man chose to sit in a chair in the corner of the hall. He was not concerned with the little boy’s problem at all. Did he not want to be noticed by the world? Or, was he the one who did not want to notice the world? Who knows?
Amid this episode, I silently glided through the hall, flipping the pages of some books that seemed to interest me. Coincidentally, I came across Rupi Kaur’s collection of poetry, The Sun and Her Flowers. This poem spoke a lot to me,
a child and an elder sat across from each other at a table
a cup of milk and tea before them
the elder asked the child
if she was enjoying her life
the child answered yes
life was good but
she couldn’t wait to grow up
and do grown-up things
then the child asked the elder the same question
he too said life was good
but he’d give anything to go back to an age
where moving and dreaming were still possibilities
they both took a sip from their cups
but the child’s milk had curdled
the elder’s tea had grown bitter
there were tears running from their eyes
I wondered – were these children thinking of the grown-ups and their lives, while they were running around, being amazed by Cinderella’s shoe, trying to follow what their fathers have to say about those thick books and worrying over how to get the best deal on the several books they wanted to buy?
I wondered – what was that old man thinking? Was he ruminating over his approaching death, or was he regretting of all the things he wanted to do in his life but did not, or was the twilight years of this old man were full of a void?
Now, I need to go and shut my window panes, for the wild wind is passing by. And I leave you to your thoughts. However, do share them with me. I will be very pleased to know what you are thinking.