When I was young I used to listen to the radio and thought the blue skies reflected the oceans. The old transistor used to sit on the ledge of the tractor-like weaving loom. The rhythmic sound of my mother’s weaving sounds used to provide the canvas from which echoed those old Bollywood classics, still audible in black and white.
When I was young the world looked so huge and intriguing- that it was both round and flat was confusing. The Tata and Ashok Leyland trucks plying the Phuentsholing-Thimphu road used to mesmerize me. I’d sit in the compound of the Phuentsholing Department of Wireless colony and watch those fascinating machines trudging up the twists and turns in what was known as the “Saat Gumti” (Seven Turns). The helicopters were to die for. And the fighter jet planes just left us dumbfounded and (I’m not gonna mention the trains in Hashimara; they were “The Ultimate Treat!”).
When I was young I was happy and the world seemed a happy place. All the kids in my neighborhood were happy as were the kids in my school. We were happy because we were young and money did not carry a price tag on it and neither was it laden with morality or class.
When I was young it seemed everyone had the same things; nothing less, nothing more and the world outdoors was our playground and everything in it became toys we played with.
When I was young my king was my hero and I wanted to be like him and walk like him and talk like him and play basketball and archery like him.
When I was young Bruce Lee was kicking ass and everyone wanted to do the chop-chops along with the “Nunchuku” and the “Meow”. Then we heard of Pele and Muhammad Ali and Maradona and Superman, together with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Mithun Chakraborty’s “Disco Dancer” and of course, Amitabh Bachchan’s “I’m the perpetual angry young man” movies. It was a phased of epic confusions. I had a tough time figuring out who I really wanted to be: and everything about them was real. Superman could really fly. Pele and Maradona could score goals without kicking a ball. Michael Jackson was a Moon-Walker and Mithun Chakraborty was the one and only Disco Dancer. And Amitabh Bachchan started fighting all kinds of injustice single handedly and could do no wrong. Every time he died I cried. Then came Iron Mike Tyson and I wanted to box.
\Those were tough days. Discovering the magic of the movies made me envious of “Gate Keepers”- with that powerful “Torch Light” and the license to walk in and out of cinema halls at will!
But then I also wanted to become the “Truck Driver” who lived in a house on wheels that was mobile.
Then one day I saw the spinning “Globe” in my father’s office and I wanted to travel the world. Then the old radio played again and I heard a woman tell a story in a beautiful voice. It made me wanna become a “Radio Story Teller”.
When boarding school came, I wrote letters to kill the boredom and decided that that was what I wanted to do- become a “Letter Writer”.
When college came, everything changed. I became a “Dharma Bum” with a passion for Bob Dylan and the Folk-Rock-Blues. With that I discovered “Drugs” and I wanted to become “Jim Morrison”.
I guess I became a bit of everything.
Now that I’m older, I realize I was so much younger and happier then. I’m older and sadder then that now. In the end, when I was young, we didn’t have much of anything but neither did we feel the lack of it for there existed nothing to make comparisons.
Everyone seemed younger and happier when I was young and that has not changed. Many have passed on and crossed over, but the memories linger and they linger with a sweetness that comes from knowing what I now know. That life is ephemeral; it’s really a rainbow and really, who does not smile at a rainbow or for that matter, an Atsara in a Tsechu?
When I was young, the world was fresh. Now that time and gravitas keeps sagging the chin, I guess the challenge is to keep refreshing that look of wonder and bewilderment. In conclusion, if there be such a thing, when I was young I had a wonderful father. Now that I’m a father, I’d like my son to be just like that- be young and enjoy that youthfulness as my father let me; the discovery and the curiosity. For though it killed the cat, don’t forget that satisfaction brought him back!
Now if you see, let them be, for the prodigal child always returns.
Five Things I Learnt In Life:
1) There’s Always More To Learn
2) Quote But Live Upon Them
3) Whatever You Do; Do It With All Your Heart and All Your Gut
4) The Present Is Now- That’s Why It’s Called a Gift
5) Growing Old Is Natural; Growing Up Is Optional