Twas a fine wintery sunny afternoon on the Sunday, the 18th of November 2012, My infants terrible made staying at home unbearable and we wanted to go out, the usual places were cut out since the city had decided to go to sleep( Dont know for how much longer). The city going to sleep was a blessing in disguise and the best half asked me to consider other options - long drive, go to a park/garden, Indian fast food stroll (still cannot bring myself to call it junk food), go for a walk in the pleasant afternoon sun. Long drive was thrown outside the window, fast food stroll also went flying out. Was left to make a choice from two options, we decided to go to Empress garden. My son, Prataparudhra loves the place since it is not very crowded, there are numerous slides to enjoy, a couple of rides he likes; all in all he goes bonkers. Tara, my daughter likes anything outside the house since it is all new experiences. Padma, My best half likes to step out and stroll without having to worry about the kids since I am now in-charge of their well being in the public place.
A fine park, lot of sun and shade and my son playing the slides again and again and again. I picked my li'l girl and looked around and at a distance I saw a vine hanging down forming a huge "U". In my mind a desire germinated. The grey cells started working overtime to bring back memories- memories of... Aage ki kahani break ke baad.
A couple of hours passed and we were nearing the time when the park would close, I put my now sleeping Tara in the pram and went near the slide where Prataparudhra was playing and asked him - shall we go home? He as usual says Appa! One last time and he runs the slides a few times more- last time is usually relative. A few minutes later instead of the straight line towards the car park, I pushed the pram on a detour. Padma asks me "whats up!!!?" I dont answer and I move decidedly towards the vine hanging in the shape of a "U". The hanging vine brought back memories of childhood when I used to hang by low hanging branches of tamarind trees, of demolishing amma's sarees using which we used to make swings. Of running our of reach when she came at me with the broom or ladle whatever was handy -but most of all it brought back memories of swinging into the blue sky and back, every time I swung down and back, it was always with the knowledge that I will be swing back and up into the blue sky and the sun rays kissing my face. Memories of then true freedom and bravado without a care in the world.
I came out of my reminiscence when I reached the vine, I stopped the pram, applied the brakes and went to the vine, sat on it and swung. I swung higher and faster feeling the pure bliss. The BLISS of a child all over again and again. Padma did not stop me or even asked "how much longer", she just waited for me to stop and get off the vine. After a few minutes passed, I stopped and got off. As soon as I got off, Padma hopped on to it and she swung. She was radiating happiness when she got of the vine. I hopped on again and swung at a leisurely pace. By now a crowd had gathered to see the sight of a grown up swinging from a tree vine. I ignored the glances. some dis-approving, some nodding, some waiting wistfully. I could not bring myself to get of the vine and become a responsibility burdened individual again. Swing and swing free was all that was going in my mind. By now dusk was advancing and Tara was fidgeting in the pram. The security fella came over gave me some verbal advice against behaving "childishly" and sent me off towards the car park. The swinging from the vine reminded me that R L Stevenson wrote a poem on that topic. We reached home and I first browsed my books collections to see if I have the poem. This poem was part of my English syllabi during school. I searched in vain for the text when Padma asked me "why don't you search the internet instead of mopping the floor?" OK sound advice and I found the poem which for you dear reader, I have pasted below.
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
-Robert Louis Stevenson