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Childhood, Eid & My Toy-Gun
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Childhood, Eid & My Toy-Gun

Post by on Monday, May 2, 2022

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 I don't know if kings are really insouciant, nonchalant and untroubled, but children are undoubtedly the most carefree creatures on the planet who don't mind having nothing in their pockets, to be called riches. They guage richness in terms of joys, not in terms of bank balances, size of house and brand of car. A ten rupee coin in pocket is worth millions of dollars for a child. Though it cannot buy him anything more than a biscuit pack or a couple of candies but it can buy him abundant joys which wealthy will fail to purchase, at the cost of their riches and precious assets. Childhood is the kingdom which crowns us as kings, but, without a throne. I wish I could again become that crown-less king, but alas ! It is impracticable and illogical to think so. We lose the kingdom of childhood to our adulthood. Greed, avarice, jealousy, pride, ego and bragging like vices enslave us, once we become adults. Had it been possible to live with childhood throughout our lives, there would have been children and only children around us, and no adults.

Children hardly care about anything except their ordinary toys and other things of amusement. Empty cauldrons on the chulhas in their homes would hardly make any difference to them. They need food to satiate their hunger, not the savoury cuisines to please their taste buds. A meal of rajma and rice or a veg curry would suffice their needs. But, they will never compromise playing with their friends and toys. Children are the ambassadors of enjoyment, amusement and recreation. And beauty of this stage of life is that money has a meagre role in pleasure derivation and merry making. I distinctly remember making toys of mud during my childhood days, as my father was not in a position to buy all those toys for me and my siblings from market. Striking soft balls of mud against hard surfaces to let it burst with a bang, and opponent was supposed to fill that void from his own share of mud. Playing marbles with friends would give unimaginable blithe to us, and an indigenously made pouch, containing colourful marbles, was something worth gold and silver.

During this period of selflessness and innocence, we leave behind a treasure trove of memories.  We create wonderful memories during our childhood, and cherish them for rest of our lives.  After growing up, at certain occasions, the canvas of this treasure-house gets scratched, and a scintillating firework of pearls of reminiscences is sparkled all around. Certain incidents land us deep into lanes and by-lanes of our childhood. Eid is one such occasion when we become extremely nostalgic. Looking at gleeful, jolly and jocund children, wearing kaleidoscopic outfits, playing with different toys, rides us deep down into our memory lanes. I too, like other children, have prized memories of my childhood. Though there weren't precious toys in my collection, but it was my mini empire, which I loved a lot.

Rattles, whistles, dolls, cars and balloons were common things of attraction for children on Eid. But, all these things would hardly make any appeal to me. If any toy had been enticing me, it was a black-coloured toy gun, hanging from the wooden ceiling of only shop of our mohalla. The toy-gun is still swaying before my eyes, though some thirty years have passed since then. I vividly remember purchasing that toy gun used to be my solitary ambition on Eid. I hardly remember if I have ever been obstinate about new clothes on Eid, but that toy-gun was my chief desire, its presence would fascinate me, and would entice me anytime.  Having that dummy pistol under my belt, would probably give me a great feeling of royal class. I don't know if my lineage meets some monarch or not. Well, number of dishes and cuisines cooked in my home would hardly make any difference to me. But, that dud gun was my dearest possession, and I could have gone to any extent to safeguard it. Keeping that gun would often invite my father's wrath and rage, because he hated firearms. So, it was quite a daring task for me to be ambitious about the toy-gun.

One Eid, my toy-gun went missing. Mountains of grief and sorrow befell me. I began to cry violently. I wanted my gun back at any cost. I could have hired Interpol to investigate the theft of my gun, and the best sniffer dogs of the world to trace it. But, it was beyond my reach. I created ruckus and rumpus in my home. My parents, my late Nani and my siblings launched a massive manhunt to trace my toy-gun. For it was not less than the famous Kohinoor diamond for me. Unfortunately, to my utter dismay, the mystery of the theft is yet to resolved, and I am still awaiting justice. The toy-gun disappeared as if it had been taken away by aliens to a strange planet. The incident is as fresh as daisy on the canvas of my reminiscences, though three decades have passed since then. I still suspect my younger brother to have stolen it. Though I didn't accuse him openly, but I still held him responsible for that misadventure. May someone ask him if he has hidden it like inspector Amar (from the famous Bollywood movie - Amar Akbar Anthony) had hidden his toy-gun in the backyard of his house.


(The Author is a Teacher and Rising Kashmir Columnist. He can be reached at mushtaqhurra143@gmail.com) 



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