I always want to live my childhood again. I want to relive those days when a person is bothered by nothing but everything. When climbing those huge guava and mango trees was easier than snapping a twig. When getting up for school was a challenge. When listening to others weren’t mainstream. When one can be with friends throughout the day and was still welcomed at home. When one never treasured the time for siesta. When one can go for swimming anytime in the pond. The list is myriad and can be written at a meteoric speed.
I was 10 years old when I experienced this incident and it got glued in my memory instantly. I had plenty of friends at that time. I was quiet a convivial child. We used to play cricket in the piazza of my house. It wasn’t that big a place to play conventional cricket but we managed with slight alterations. We broke innumerable bulbs, tube lights and window panes of my house as well as of neighbors. It had become a mundane for everyone in the colony. Neighbors and my grand parents tried to ignore my mischiefs to the apogee unless it has gone too far.
It was a regular afternoon of summer days. All of my friends had gathered to play. I used to play pretty well because of my uncle who used to coach me every now and then. I was chosen as one of the captains that day by voting. I won the toss and elected to field first. We bowled out the opponents at a meager score of thirty two runs in five overs. It was my turn to go out in the middle and bat good to clinch a victory for the team. It was the first ball of the second innings and I was on the striker’s end. I walloped and the ball hit the windshield of our car. The glass smashed and was broken into pieces. I was shocked and didn’t move an inch. After the sound of the smash the place came to a standstill. It was serene for quite a long time until the shout of my grandmother on seeing the condition of the windshield scared all of my friends and they disappeared instantly.
Deep down inside I knew this time I have crossed their heyday of patience. Though they never used to beat me but their stern looks were enough to bale me. They lectured me for quite a long time but my heart sank when they told that this matter will be looked upon by my father.
My father was a man with strong built and heavy mustache. He was a man of rules and used to work very hard. He usually returned late from office. I was tensed and frightened on thinking about his reaction to this incident as I had never seen his anger since my birth. Many things hovered my mind. I thought he will bar my freedom. I wouldn’t be allowed to play from now on. He might even close me in a dark room for hours. These things were making me uneasy and were not allowing me to settle at one place.
As soon as he returned from office my grandparents took him directly to the site of mishap. They were having an inferno inside them to tell it to my father so that he takes a severe action against me this time. I was also taken to the site, forcefully. On seeing it, there was an ambiguity in the expressions of my father. I wasn’t able to read them properly. Then he asked me get my bat from inside. I was bamboozled and scared on hearing his demand. I was expecting an elaborate beating. I slowed my steps as much as I could to delay the fate. But still I reached and he immediately snatched the bat from my hand with a straight face. Without any delay I receded and covered my face with my hands so that I don’t see when I will be hit. It is quiet an effective way and it does augment your pain bearing capability.
Suddenly, I heard a smash exactly similar to the one I heard in the afternoon. When I removed hands from my face I saw that my dad has broken the second windshield of the car. I was stunned. I was perplexed and helpless to inculcate what I saw. What he said afterwards was a life changer.
He said “In my childhood I didn’t get enough time to play. I faced a lot of deterrents. I was busy overcoming them so that my son doesn’t miss it too. Nobody will bar him from playing. Let him play whenever and wherever he wants. Let him break glasses, pots etc. Let him live his childhood.”
I was so proud of my father. I still believe that though I can be a good person like him but I can never be as good a father as he is. My father stunned me and that incident taught me the selfless sacrifice of a father for his children.