Rains which bestow happiness over our mundane lives and paints the world serene. The muddy surface of the streets are still wet, glistening with the feeble daylight. The foliage of trees dance in ecstasy, flowing with the cold wind. Water drips off the leaves and sprinkle on the ground. The aroma of moist mud hit the sensory receptors and leave us with a strong temptation to stay connected to the ground. Compelling the sober minds to intoxicate in the personified ambience of nature.
Splashing water with every thumping step into the puddles which were formed on the unpaved street. The children, They were the escalated souls, sprinting through the soaking lanes. They kept squealing excitedly, growing through the fondness of their competence. Swamped shirts of transparent fabric revealed their fat-less bodies, agile and their blithe shone through the light falling across their faces. They were plunderers, masters of mischief and mature in their own senses. They were growing with boats made of paper and chirping birds echoing in the vast space.
Children, the unburdened citizens, must live in a natural habitat to nurture and grow through their childhood. They need an environment to expand and bloom into heads of greater intellect. Quality of air to compliment the functionality of lungs and the heart. Grass lawns to practise recreation and levitate their happiness to excitement. A friend circle in the natural habitat and company of unbiased non-judgemental creatures. Getting high on sweet fragrances and tastes while declining health hazards.
A place where thoughts and imaginations have no boundaries, a place where there are no bonds with convention. A place where time spent in physical recreation is the definition of leisure.
A place to feel free. A place to fly.
"The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation."
— Ray L. Wilbur, third president of Stanford University
She cries in the night, weeping and coughing into her pillow. Introspecting her existence and the melancholy she lived in. She laid on her back and faced the pale ceiling which seemed to fall over. Tears rolled down her eyes while she scanned through the memories of her early childhood.
Running through the fields which her father ploughed, clung to a stiff banyan root and swinging in rounds with her elder brother. The days she had no obligations to anyone and no conventions to follow. The days when she could breathe without bothering about the sound her throat would make while exhaling.
A sudden irritation in her lungs made her cough loudly, shaking her thoroughly this time. Her face projected signs of vulnerability as she calmed herself down using an inhaler. She sighed in relief after pumping back life into her lungs. Slowly wiping off her tears she rolls back in memories.
She misses her health, fighting her depleted lungs, struggling to survive.
She missed her childhood and the times she was able to make it to the fields and dash across. She misses the air of her village and the water from the stream. She is Avantika, 13, a resident of Delhi, an escalated child. Her parents like many others abandoned their village to try their luck in Delhi.
Now, fortunately, she is studying in a multi-disciplinary school to excel but the discipline of her life is missing. She wishes to enjoy multiple cuisines but her health condition serves her more of medicines than food. She has state of the art medical facilities but she lives on a rescue inhaler. She was for sure an aspirant of a metropolitan lifestyle with a variety and multiple options to explore, now she is aspiring to live again.
She cries with resentment, cursing the city which snatched her childhood.
Thousands like her are suffering in the hollowness of our metropolitan cities. Cities are expanding vigorously while drilling voids in the people’s lives. People are living in a delusion of a staged lifestyle while their vitals are screeching towards a dead end.
Are the children immune to steer through this rough course? Or will the rampant development trudge over?
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
— Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and statesman
To read the first story of this series, click here -
Image Credits - RITIKA DUREJA