It was one of the busiest traffic signals in the city and I stood in a corner, watching it. I was just following orders - they said it was the best way to keep my year old nephew quiet and occupied. For the next 30 mins or so, both uncle and nephew watched the same scenes, but with totally different attitudes.
I watched over the junction with disdain - my respect for human nicety dropping every minute. There wasn't a single sight to behold and cherish out there. The way motorists piled up at the zebra crossing, tripping on pedestrians, honking incessantly looked like hungry dogs on a leash. Eunuchs picked on the couples, Beggars were just happy to add to the mayhem. Hawkers made a market place shouting their wares, Traffic police always looking to make a quick buck. While I wondered how such a world could even exist, my nephew saw it all with excited curiosity. Nothing could distract him away from it. He watched it like a grand stage show was unfurling in front of him, the noise of the horns tickled his ears, he clapped everytime the signal lights changed and a new wave of vehicles rushed out, he even tried to shake hands with one of the beggar kids.
I can say my knowledge made me a better judge of the situation while the kid was just an indifferent observer. I was judging, evaluating, while he was just enjoying it. The toddler was not aware of the misery of being a beggar, of the selfish motives of the traffic police, of the rude impatience of the motorists. I had preset notions on the way of life, while the kid was just a blank slate. I was creating opinions and weighing the world around me, while the toddler was just accepting things the way they are. From the very same thing, one was getting depressed while the other was getting inspired.
A philosopher sees waste in everything, while a poet sees everything even in waste.
"Be like a Child, Look at the world with innocence, Always live in the present moment"
..the stuff they tell you at a weekend Art of Living course. They vouch for it too. Nevertheless, It does seem quite true that a childlike innocence creates a fertile ground for sowing seeds of a broad mind, which watered with curiosity and pure goodwill shall eventually bear fruit of an enthusiastic positive attitude. We all are (fortunately) born as kids and, hence, we do start our lives in the cradle of the same innocence that draws inspiration from all aspects of God's creations; but then our life shifts gears shortly thereafter. Our very own folks taint our minds, pollute our intellect and misdirect our lives. It happens right within our inner circles..
Did you get an A-grade in school today? why are other kids getting more than you?... Don't let anybody get ahead, you should always stay at the top... Its an age of competition, only the best survive
Never trust anyone in this world... All politicians are corrupt
Its a bad world out there, everyone is after your money... If you offer more money to God, he will bless you more
Our neighbor has a car, we should have one too... First think of your family, the rest of the world comes later
Stay away from the poor, they are dirty and sick
Dont ask so many questions. Just do what the priest says..
Poets, Philosophers and Artists are begging on the streets today.. Mera beta engineer banega!
... are just some sample words/advices that children heads are filled with. The same home that is supposed to teach charity, teaches the art of war (and the first casualty of war is Innocence). Home, today, is the first place where natural instincts are curbed, new and fresh thoughts are suppressed. The outside world just continues the decay process further. A child is forced to follow the train of thought whose rails lead to the world of the traffic junction that I was still sadly watching. A bud that was meant to blossom into a flower with its own uniqueness in God's garden would be hopelessly turned to a showpiece in the vase of the world.
When I turned to walk back from the traffic signal, my nephew started crying; made me wonder why all us adults were not crying - whose childhood was lost in the woods of this big bad world. A world where we ended as narrow projections of the broad dreams we saw as children. A world where we started off asking so many questions, and finally ended with a question mark stamped on our identity itself. The same world that has made our lives so hopeless, that we have even forgotten to cry for the right things..