I have been visiting a friend who lives in an apartment
block close to my office.
As I walk down the driveway, in the basement to the lift,
I always smiled at the building kids playing cricket.
I remembered my house / tennis ball cricket.

No teams. Individual batsmen. Turns picked on lot.
Last to bat, first to bowl.
If the ball hits a window directly – out.
Runs only on leg side (offside for LHB).
3 overs per batsman maximum.
If the ball is lost, the batsman is liable.
Fast bowling not allowed.
One bounce-one hand catch – out (optional).

I remembered all this and smiled.
It was amazing. The carelessness. The worry free life.
The only major stress being how to extend daily playtime.

Then one fine day ‘30 & happy’ wrote on her childhood.
It was beautiful.
It made me look back long and hard at my childhood
and I was happy that remembered a lot of stuff.
Somehow I was kicked just because I could remember all of it. Clearly.

My fathers Seiko crystal alarm clock with a blue dial. Which I broke.
Putting the prayer room brocade for the Guru Granth Sahib on fire with agarbattis.
Setting a live snake bought from a charmer loose in class.

Watching my first porn movie.
Walking across our village fields in rains.
Milking a cow.
Watching the birth of a calf.
Waiting for my turn to bathe under the tubewell.
Falling off the school bus.
My mother crying because there wasn’t enough money in the house even to buy eggs.
Eating roti with daal, green chilies, salt and onions.
Getting an electric shock.
The 84 riots.
Zia – my standard one classmate from Bombay Scottish.
My horrendous yellow baby dresses with Mickey, Minnie and Donald.

I remembered all of this and a whole lot more.
I was damm kicked. Trust me.
And I silently thanked ‘30 & happy’
for making me think. There are these memories
that need to be re-lived. And thought over.
And ‘happy’, you made me do it. Thank you.

I realized I never wanted to grow up.
Because childhood is the only phase of your life,
where you cannot be judged. You do what you want,
and get loved for it.

But the kids at the building, well,
I couldn’t get the cricket out of my head.
My thinking had made me cry out for a time machine.
I wish I could jump into one and race back
to my standard 6 days in New Delhi.

Every time I watched them play, it hurt.
It hurt that I was not doing it everyday anymore.
I didn’t have the time. Couldn’t.
But I was surprised how much I wanted to.
Could I, still?

But the thinking had made me remember.
The elder kids coming in to play.
The father returning from work wanting to pelt a few shots.
The casual bond, that is ever so easy to create with a kid.
All it takes is a smile and some genuine affection.
So as I was walking out of the building, today evening
I asked them politely if I could play a few shots.
They said sure. And I took the bat.
I was out first ball. Clean bowled.
I threw a tantrum. I wanted another chance.
There were a few voices of dissent but I had my way.
If it was childhood I was visiting I would do the whole deal.
And I got my second chance.
And scored 37 runs. Glory being cut short by a brilliant catch.

I said thank you, shook hands with all of them and walked out.
I was so happy this evening. And honestly, despite all kicks
about my rock solid memory, I cannot remember when
was the last time I was so happy.
As I touched the main road I felt a tear in my eye.
I wiped it off before it could trickle down.

I was happy with the child in me. He was alive and kicking.


Anonymous said...

good post.

AB said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Noojes said...

Harjee Kapur,


This is by far the best post you have ever written...



Tony said...

I guess this once you wrote for yourself.

byker7 said...

i'll be damned.
but then you know that anyway.

nice post.

Spazsim Chasm said...

Daimn... I wiped a tear there too.. Excellent post.. very touching.. loved it..The child in me is high-fiving the child in you..

puja said...

nice one. took me back to my childhood days!!

Lily said...

A beautiful post! Reminds me of playing kick the can on summer nights... dressed all in black and hiding under cars and behind rose bushes... going home sweaty and scrathed and bleeding but oh if I could do it again!

theorangecast said...

full on dude! had a tear in my eye too by the end of it. that's thanks to the CRTs of course, but it was a great read. go harjee!

Anonymous said...

everyone of us hav a child in us,uv expressed it in a beautiful way...cheers!!

Anonymous said...

good way to kick start the day..
rock on..

Anonymous said...

You pinched the right vein. And mind you it requires just A PURE HEART to do so. The heart of a child. God Bless you!!

AnSHu Baba!!

Suma said...

Hey Harjee..
Lovely memories..

Do u realise how, as kids, we were always dying to grow up...

We would discard opinions of older p'ple, asking us to enjoy while we could...before we grew up..

Though I am throughly enjoying my days as a 'grown up', I still take a break once in a while, and try to step back in time...

Cheers to the 'good old days of innocence'!!

Shruti said...

hello there!!!
all said and done,harjee writes well.i like the way he makes the most boring things like reading cosmo sound funny.........
good work harjee.....
keep it up!!!
afterthoughts: alive is amazing.

The pirates are here said...

thank you for changing your template background from black to white.
nice post.

sapphire tower girl said...

thank you for that post; between this and noojes' memories of spilling mercury, i have been moved to post my own post on the gift of play.

thank you: reading your words this morning has truly opened up a space of 'yes' for me. i will look forward to helping that space unfold in the days ahead.

playing in the snow in denver (heck: maybe i'll build a snowman today!),

Anonymous said...

Nice post Harjee!
Lets all play a bit of cricket one of these days.

AB said...

I said " Brilliant;- Harjee,- brilliant" on this post. But its been deleted some how ... Hmmm ?!?

Harjee Kapur said...

hi azad...well, if u read again, it says deleted by the author...

AB said...

but nonetheless, brilliant Harjee, brilliant!!

Harjee Kapur said...

thanks azad... i'm touched.
just don't ask where ;-)

Borngifted sanjana said...

your post took me back in time and it still is so fresh in my mind. I remember i was the only one whowas not in a hurry to grow up. I was one of the few who took pride in wearing her uniform. the others couldnt wait to go to college and shed it. but me i took great pride in wearing my captain badge actualll showed it off like it was some great achievement even wore it to college. anyways those we some days and you have remininsced so well. You have a gift and i love your style of narration. simple and open. but the die hard Indian i am i would have loved it if you gave your latest blog an ending. Man i just cant help it. I have been served a diet of HIndi movies for way too long.....

Borngifted sanjana said...

That was anerror. wore the badge to tuition.

aakriti said...

I can't stop smiling. :) It's an adorable account of your childhood and memories.

Anonymous said...

Your best out of whatever I've read so far :)

- The one that doesn't give compliments :P