Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Rocking Horse

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 fa├žade 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?


Nandini Vishwanath said...

I'm not sure how easy it is to discard one's past to mold one's future. Hmm...if that happens, yes, something is lost. Soul? Innocence? Its a good question.

Just call me 'A' said...

i had a rocking horse when i was a kid. no idea what happened to it. must have been discarded in some corner and forgotten. but the past cannot be discarded, isn't it? it might be forgotten, shelved, ignored, folded but never discarded. in every past there is a soul and discarding the past, for me, is discarding a part of me.

Arunima said...

As I said earlier, i have read this before but, it still feels new and still enjoyed it.

You are quite talented.

AmitL said...

Hi,Cyn--yep,such posts can only be termed' evergreen'.:)Some things in daily life do bring back past memories and of the nice kind...which society compels one to 'throw away' as you mentioned.Ah well,time to look at the present,now.:)
And,I noticed- you smartly avoided any 'age'clarify,by saying 'a childhood ten,fifteen,twenty years ago'..:)*grins*

Cynic in Wonderland said...

innocence and soul i think nandini - both of them.

a- discarding roots, discarding dreams - all part of discarding the past isnt it?

arunima - rediff is gobbling. i cant see ANY of my posts there. its like a black hole sun.

amitl - well childhood is also elastic no? some people live it much longer than the physical age no?