Monday, 7 January 2013

The Boy On The Plane


I recently came across this Parle-G advertisement reminding grownups that childhood is the most educative period of development for children and curiosity is their best teacher. I really liked the message because I believe it to be so true! I have worked and interacted with children in abundance; and as a counsellor and special educator I have found that children are, very often, discouraged for asking a lot of questions, and frowned upon when they try doing things out of the ordinary. As adults, we forget that children are still to learn the ways of the world and it is our job to allow their creativity to flow freely.

As an adult, I still feel we can learn a lot from children. The Boy On The Plane is an article I had written some time back and posted on my Facebook page. I am just re-posting it here and I hope you enjoy reading it. 

THE BOY ON THE PLANE


I am not a big fan of travelling by air. I find flight journeys to be rather tedious and boring...Had it not been the fastest means of reaching any destination, I don't think travelling by air would ever have been my first preference.
Although I always insist on sitting by the window-seat, there really isn't much of a view for the eyes to feast upon. Of course sitting on the window-seat has its advantages - one is not endlessly disturbed by the co-passengers who always seem to want to get up and go to the loo or to grab things out of their bag; and if some co-passenger is not interesting enough, one can always rest one's head against the edge of the plane and pretend to catch up on a few winks of sleep. The latter is sometimes applicable in my case for I've had my share of creepy co-passengers who've attempted to strike rather weird conversations with me!

Flying back to Mumbai from Kolkata, I wasn't in a very good mood. Not only was I leaving a day earlier than I had intended to (thanks to the proposed Bharat Bandh) but I hadn't really got the opportunity to enjoy my stay at home with my friends since all of them seemed busy preparing for exams!

Despite arriving late at the airport, I did succeed in getting hold of the last window-seat. Thank God for small mercies! I only prayed, now, that I did not get stuck with some creepy person sitting next to me. Once I boarded the aeroplane and was seated comfortably with a book to read for passing time, a flustered mother with her five-year old boy, came and occupied the two seats next to mine. The boy was sitting in the middle row while his mother occupied the seat closest to the aisle. He was extremely noisy and fidgeting a lot. "Oh no!" I groaned inside my head. I had no wish to get stuck with a young, talkative boy! Don't get me wrong - it's not that I hate children but I don't like having them around all the time!

He glanced at the book I was reading and blurted, "This book has no pictures! Why would you read something like this?" I sighed. I was reading Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. I wonder what meaning he would have made out of that young boy's statement, I mused. I did not know what to reply so I merely smiled at him. I think he mistook my smile to mean that I was willing to listen to him, unlike his mother who appeared to be rather bored and was scolding him constantly, asking him to behave himself. "Hello! My name is Deep...This is my first trip by plane! I am going to my maasi's house in Bombay. Are you going to Bombay too?"
"Deep, do not ask stupid questions! This plane is going to Bombay - so all of us on this plane are going to Bombay," his mother reprimanded him. "And do not disturb Didi...sit quietly." She, then, turned to me and apologized, "I am sorry. His name is Debashish..Deep is his daak-naam." I gave her a polite smile and assured her that her son was not disturbing me.

As the flight took off, Deep (or Debashish) started giggling. When his mother gave him dirty looks, he told her that he could feel something funny in his stomach as if things were tossing and turning inside! Despite myself, I grinned at his statement. Here I was fervently praying that the journey should end soon and this boy was savouring each and every moment!

Since I was sitting by the window, once the seat-belt sign was off, Deep unfastened his seat-belt and started staring at the clouds. He started visualizing objects out of the different shapes of the clouds and asked me to join him in 'discovering' more things! I was, at once, transported to my childhood days - I remember I used to sit on my terrace and do the same thing (I still do it sometimes!)...I joined him, and, together, we managed to identify a rabbit, an ice-cream, a triangle, a teddy bear and even Doraemon!

It was an evening flight and once the sun set, the blue canvas of the sky was strewn with beautiful splatters of pink, orange and purple hues. As Deep and I started admiring the view, he yelled at his mother, "These orange and pink shades are not there in my crayon-box...There are so many colours! You will have to get me a bigger box with all these colours!" He pestered me when I was not able to name all the different shades of colours that could be seen at that time (I now understand the plight of some of my friends who fail to understand what I mean when I say 'coral red' and 'delphinium blue') and although I was irritated with his constant questioning, I was awed by the wondrous Mother Nature and her beautiful creations.

As we were descending and the landscape was in aerial view, I pointed down to the rivers that could be seen below. "It is in the shape of a 'S'!" exclaimed Deep. "Yes, " I replied. "When you grow up, you shall learn that this S-shaped pattern of the river is called a meander," I continued. "Wow! Ma, did you know what a meander is?" Deep asked. His mother gave me a rather cross look. She did not seem happy about the fact that I was encouraging him to ask more questions! I was thoroughly enjoying myself so I ignored her expressions and I continued to show off a bit of my geographical knowledge as we saw hills and water-bodies.

It soon, grew dark and as we approached Mumbai, the City of Dreams, greeted us with its well-lit roads and we could make out the cars that were stuck in traffic on the road and some that were moving. Deep was very happy to see this view from the top and his face was glowing as if someone had installed a 1000 watt bulb inside him. When we landed, his face had the same delight it had had at the time of take-off. "Ma, this was brilliant! We shall only travel by planes from now on...Bye Didi!" These were his last words as we got off the plane...

I had enjoyed a flight journey thoroughly after a long time...Perhaps, it is better to see things from the eyes of a young child in order to view life with rose-coloured glasses. Only the young, innocent mind truly appreciates the wonders of the natural surroundings. As we grow up, we tend to start taking most things for granted...No matter how old one grows, one should never let the child in them fade away - That would lead to all of us having a mundane existence. Although I have never succeeded in becoming a prim and proper adult and there are times when I still am mesmerized by the things around me, I needed Deep to remind me to experience each and every moment with the same degree of amazement so that I can indeed live life to the fullest! I hope that through the narration of this incident, even you are inspired to just look out of your window, stare at the sky in front of you and just bask in the glory of the great world that lies in front of us always!

22 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful story. There is a child in all of us, but how often do we let it out? We run after money, fame and what not, but the joys of childhood and innocence are the real treasure that we miss all the time !!!

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    1. So true :) The greatest tragedy is even after that realization, we do not mend our ways :P

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  2. A very timely reminder, indeed!
    May we stop imagining innocence to be naivete, child-like to be childish and wonderment to be stupidity!

    Love and blessings, honey!

    Mohini

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    1. Beautifully put, Mohini :) :)
      Earlier I used to get a wee bit irked when people called me childish - I was alright when I realized that they intended on calling me "child-like" :D

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  3. You are right Divya, we adults seem to have forgotten the child in us. Lovely story, realising that I need to be more patient with my little ones who ply me with questions:) just blogged about the same today.

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    1. I know I just read your blog :) :) Glad you enjoyed reading this and hope you got a better insight into the world of your children :D

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  4. I am glad you had an enjoying plane ride with this kid. You are lucky to have such a flight companion. My luck most of the time my next seat passenger is always a 300 pound guerrilla.

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    1. I could list out tales of all kinds regarding my co-passengers...I am not lucky always - there are times I have sat next to morons!!

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  5. :)

    Such a cute story Divya, you know I had written something on similar lines in my first salt and pepper story and I can completely relate to this story.

    It made me smile thinking about that incident!

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    1. So cute! Please share the link to your story :)

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    2. http://privytrifles.blogspot.in/2012/04/joy-contentment-this-week.html

      :D

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    3. Thanks :) I love the window-seat as well - I know what you mean when you write about gazing out and staring at the runway and the countryside - it really fills one with peace and tranquility!

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  6. What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful post! Thoroughly loved it! :)

    I believe in that too - children have boundless curiousity and imagination. It is rather sad to see some parents curtailing their kids' imagination and curiousity either because they are too tired to answer, pressed for time, or they don't know the answers themselves, or do not wish to find out.

    Needless to say, I love the Parle G ad too!:)

    I wrote something on similar lines on my blog quite some time back. Here's the link, in case you're interested: http://thegalnxtdoor.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/where-the-elephants-fly/

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    1. Hi!!

      I am so glad you liked reading this :) And I hate it when parents ask children to "shut up" or "go outside and play" when they are fed up of the questions! I understand that answering children all the time can be a little bit tiring but it would indeed be a very nice things to do....Children make you think of things you probably never thought of yourself - and in many ways they can help you come up with innovative ideas!!

      I shall head over to this link and read your post in some time :) Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Beautiful write up Divya and you are right! The world is best seen from the eyes of a child.

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  8. Well said Divya!! We should keep the child in us alive no matter whatever the age to enjoy life fully:)

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  9. Divya I remember a Dennis the Menace travelling by plane. When the plane hit an air pocket he wanted to know what it was. When his mom explained it to him. He said " Thank God! I thought we had hit a cloud"! Children are full of curiosity. We can either nurture it and create a learning environment or like Deep's mom kill it. I guess she was nervous travelling alone with two kids!

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    1. I never used to watch Dennis the Menace much as a kid :P But I agree with you on the curiosity bit - it is indeed a pity when some parents try to kill the curiosity instead of nurturing it....As grown-ups we may have our own fears and apprehensions but I wish that did not lead to us imposing restraints on the future generation!

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  10. Ah the innocence and the earnestness of a child, sadly its getting lost earlier these days... Loved your style of writing.

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