Ed Note: Shifting a few posts from rediffblogs over the next few days before they are gobbled up and lost completely. Please to bear with me! This one was written in May 2007
I was walking home the other day, in the twilight zone between sunset and night. The time of the day that occasionally evokes a sense of haunting wistfulness and inexorably reminds one of transience of life, mortality and vulnerability.
And as I crossed one of the neighboring buildings, I saw a discarded rocking horse at the foot of a tree. Cracked paint, chipped wood, some spaces polished from repeated use, all bearing mute testimony to a much loved childhood companion.
It almost seemed like a metaphor to the life of a person of that era, of a childhood ten, fifteen, twenty years ago.
The part in contact with the social world worn to a bright, shiny superficial polish. Brought to a high gloss by constant interaction with the world – the bright, social façade with infinitesimal cracks not visible at the first glance, or indeed, many glances.
The hidden parts, duller, quieter, slowly fading away worn out unheard and unsung merging into the homogenous mass of adulthood.
Like the rocking horse, so many childhoods dreams and held close, cherished, outgrown and eventually discarded and occasionally thought about with a half-embarrassed/half indulgent stance. And so often, the world/society/peers constrain us to throw away the rocking horse as they do the ardent hopes of childhood.
Some might claim, that that is the essence of looking forward, not backward. Of being able to walk and embrace the future unencumbered by useless baggage. Of being a doer, not a dreamer.
Perhaps, that’s true. Perhaps one does need to discard the past to mold oneself to the future. Perhaps one does need to don the shiny social persona and discard the real, vulnerable one. But somewhere perhaps one also discards a little bit of one’s soul?