No! Kido, do not run. It’s a steep slope, you might fall. Ah! I warned you. I hope you did not hurt yourself too much. I can see that you want to cry but are afraid that I’ll reprimand you for not listening. Its’ OK to cry kid. That makes us human and soothes the pain. I will not scold you as I am now certain that this memory is etched in your psyche; know the ground before you run. This is how you fall and learn.
You’re my only child and I know you ought to be pampered but you need to learn the virtues that makes a human good or bad. You turn 4 today and have just started breathing air infected with microbes of deceit, selfishness, cruelty, compassion, empathy and other traits that are exhibited only in men. You look perplexed and do not understand single word that I say. Your reactions are normal for a child your age, but I’m sure you’ll understand soon what I intend to say my child.
You’ll grow soon in blink of an eye and will join the wilderness of ambitious, money-hungry, materialistic human civilization leaving me behind. I’ll not judge you for that. I do not say you’ll do so on volition in fact, you’ll have to. You’ll have your own dreams, ambitions and if not that at least you’ll want freedom; freedom of living your life on your terms; freedom from relations that may drag you down, freedom from chains of societal norms; freedom from what I would want you to do with your life. You’ll fly soon, of which I’m absolutely certain, but you’ll fall prey to these microbes as well. What are microbes, you ask? Hahahah…! Oh my sweet kid, you cannot even pronounce microbes! Here, let me share one memory worth not sharing to explain better.
Can you look around the wide expanse of green in front of us lined at horizon by the snow-capped mountains? This is not our real home. We lived in a place more beautiful than this. A river with ice-cold water used to run through our small hamlet. A small stream, born of the river ran along our backyard, where your mother used to do her daily chores. Our little abode seemed like it was cut out from a fairy tale. From the rooftop you could see the Himalayas only if you manage to find a patch among the deodars lining the horizon. Serpentine smoke used to ooze out of the chimney suggesting its’ going to be Rogan Josh for supper. I believed that was our blessing to be born in such a beautiful place but it wasn’t.
One day some of these microbe infested humans plundered all our wealth, inhumanely murdered men and raped women of our village. I do not know why it happened but all I know is that people I loved were gone. We ran for our lives and arrived in this place what we now call home. I later learnt that the marauders came in lust of acquiring the piece of land which we used to call a blessing. I look sad, you say? Of course not. It’s just that I am remorseful of the acts which I could have done but didn’t. I saved only those whom I wanted to save. I left your mother and selectively valued lives. I ran with you tied at my back. I kept looking back with tears rolling on my cheeks and heart pounding almost at the verge of thrusting itself out of my chest. I ran in my mind the horrific images of horsemen clad in black with their faces covered. The last image I have of your mother was her running from the backdoor to get you. Poor soul didn’t know you were already with me. I regret for not saving your mother.
I know that to you anything that I say makes no sense. Of course, why it would. You were just a toddler then when we faced the worst breed of men. Today is your birthday and that is why I want to share this with you. The women you call mum today is my wife and you are the daughter of my brother. You don’t seem to be amazed? Well! maybe someday you will. Soon you’ll be an adult and be like one of the million candles burning in exact same way but believing that you are different. You will strive for being best at your work. You will make monumental efforts to outshine your fellows. You will, if you decide to, have a family and makes sacrifices to keep them happy. But all that I wish you remember always despite you being at zenith of success or nadir of failure, life is simple and beautiful, its’ just the weight of ambition, responsibilities, relations that makes it difficult. Strive instead to keep these microbes at bay. Fight them. Remember to remain human with goodness despite of infested humans around you. Be happy and spread happiness. And always remember to take a break and come here; to us; to remind yourself that life is what you make of it.
P:S: I’ll be always there for you. Always!