Childhood

‘Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.’ – Unknown

Every being on the face of this earth, whether good or evil, educated or illiterate, gentle or rude was once a child. Each one of us, irrespective of our spaces and backgrounds, had once experienced that period in life; where all we knew was joy and peace of mind. We had been epitomes of innocence and broad-mindedness. Our minds knew no fear. It was enthusiasm alone that penetrated through our souls. Childhood was that period in life, where we unintentionally chose to allow only positivity to pervade our minds. It was that very period where we gave our imaginations wings of courage and ripped apart the domain of doubt.

The following is an anecdote which recently materialized in my life. Do have a read.

Nobody goes to McDonald’s alone. Nobody. Unless otherwise you are desolated and down, and you entrust all your faith on a cheese burger to revamp your mood. Well, that’s what happened to me a couple of days ago. It was yet again, one of the many monotonous days of my college routine. College, most of the times, is very much unlike childhood. People here are always in a hurry to do things. They are so insanely fast-paced, that most of them fail to realize that life tastes best when chewed one chunk at a time; and if you gobble the whole thing in one go, you would end up getting choked.

At 5.15 PM, to be precise, I made a relieving escape from a crowded bus I had taken from Tambaram. For over an hour, I was a victim of metropolitan molestation, with the city’s ongoing traffic impulse mercilessly complementing the ‘in-bus’ hungama of the passengers. I got down in an area called ‘Ashok Pillar’, which was making itself visible in the list of hotspot areas in Chennai.

And then, it rained.

Nature is mysterious. You can never make a guess of how it will act, react or overact. And this time, it overacted. The raindrops hit the roads with menacing rage, disabling even the passionate rain lovers from enjoying it. Everybody ran for shelter. So did I.

I hurriedly, but cautiously ascended the slippery steps of the McDonald’s outlet. Facing the rainy scene I pressed myself to the glass doors of the entrance. I turned around and whisked across the insides and at the counter. The panels exhibited appetizing imageries of carbs and fats appealingly disguised as a variety of eateries. I thought of entering in, when                             Mr. Economist in me reminded me of my financial situation. Mr. Foodie took charge, stimulating my hand to reach my wallet and my feet to barge in.

 I made myself comfortable in one corner with a McEgg burger. I unwrapped it. I took a bite and envisaged the doorway to heaven. The heterogeneous mixture of ‘whatever’ that resided within the burger took me into a world of gustatory paradise.

Egg melted, the bun floated, and mayonnaise sloshed.

I heard laughter. I spilt my hungry gaze all around. I saw this dude, who looked no more than 5 years old, trotting towards a table with his squeaking shoes. His parents followed him, smiling. The kid got onto one of the chairs, and began drumming the table, mouthing one of the most un-decodable, yet enjoyable lyrics.

aa-ee-ooo-uuu-aaaa

He removed his tiny shoes, which came to the ground with a soft thud. I did some imagining with mathematical precision. His feet were no longer than half of my palm; maybe four inches, I supposed. The dad went to make the order, while the mother sat with her son; the very guy who had just given birth to a one-man concert inside the outlet. His continuous drummings and periodical jingles proved to be too relaxing for me. The numbness in my mind disappeared like the water in an unclogged drain. Within minutes, this three and a half feet juvenile took the imaginary centre-stage. The McDonald’s Rock-star, I thought.

Heads turned, smiles surfaced and kisses flew.

His dad returned with the foodie-filled tray. The kid jumped onto his feet.

‘Bo bo!’ He squealed pointing his rhythmic fingers towards the burgers. There was a colossal amount of surprise that poured from his eyes.

The father placed the tray on the table, while the mother took one burger and placed it before the voracious young lad. I could see crystals of joy glittering in his small eyes. He lifted the upper bun of the burger and ogled at the insides. Maybe, he was set to bring the ‘open-lick-eat’ tradition into practice. He dipped his mouth into the burger. He munched his way through the burger, going straight, round and then taking a U-turn. By the time he was done, he had a beard that comprised of mayonnaise, potato, peas and pieces of lettuce.

‘Bo bo!’ He said yet again, now letting out a grin of gratitude to his parents, and a smile of satisfaction to himself.

As in an indication to his insatiable element of excitement, he dragged the tray towards him and lifted the cup of coke. He sucked the beverage through the straw with a slurping sound, rotating his head in every possible direction. His unending stimulation of enthusiasm rose to a higher degree, thereby making the coke-cup fly off from his hands and spilling some of it before him on the table. A look of minute admonishment ejected from the eyes of his parents. But, seriously, the kid did not care the least. He began to slap the ‘drink-spilt’ area on the table. The thick beverage spurted on his face and dress. This dude kept laughing out loud.

Laughter, joy and enthusiasm. They never departed from his face.

5.50 PM

I consulted my wristwatch and hurried out of McDonald’s. The rain got escalated. The entire city was wet, as if a bucket of water was overturned over it. People stuck in the rain buzzed quickly, while those in the shelter waited for it to stop.

I descended the slippery steps of McDonald’s and drenched in the rain.

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