No matter how angry or powerless (i.e. when adults took hold of the TV remote and unfairly switched channels to watch some boring program where boring people put on boring dresses and sat and spoke of boring things) we sometimes felt when we were children, those days would perhaps be one of the happiest days of our lives.
The last day when I visited my grandmother where I used to spend my summers, I was once again reminded of this fact. All the adults around me had grown up (more?) now, and some had children they didn’t have back then while others (well, all) had sprouted grey hairs.
And to add to that, I was an adult myself.
I watched some of my younger cousins running around chasing each other, read the list of books they had to read for the summer, even skimmed through their old books – much like those that I had to study when I was of their age.
Children hadn’t changed – not much – but I was no longer one of them, or so it seemed.
At grandma’s, despite being a girl who loved the outdoors, I had never gotten to play much. I didn’t have any cousins or neighbouring kids there who were about my age then ( I was the only child of that age on dad’s side ) so my summers there were limited to reading, drawing, playing with dolls or building little houses, and mostly watching TV shows.
When I watched TV, the couch was my kingdom. I wasn’t used to sitting in one place for long, so during the breaks I’d stand up on it and walk about from one hand-rest to the other, pretending it was a bridge I had to cross. I’d pluck holes in the cushions, draw pictures on the walls nearby and collect whatever things that caught my fancy to bring them there.
But not when the show was back on.
When it was, I was drawn into colourful worlds and fantasies, where everyone was good and anyone who did bad things was punished suitably, but always came back because they deserved a chance. The world wasn’t this brutal, and always full of colours, magic and happiness.
Watching the Powerpuff girls fly around and topple the evil monkey (while I tried to correctly pronounce his name and always added more Jo’s to tail along in the end) I knew I didn’t need a handsome prince on a horse to do my fighting for me. I’d never get bored of the introduction of sugar, spice and everything nice because despite not being overtly interesting in cooking as an adult, I loved watching the Professor do his cooking.
And of course, there was always the mystery woman in red (The Red Woman!) whose face I never got to see anyway.
Our protagonists always loved doing things for others, like Noddy driving his toy car all around town (that adorable ‘bap bap’ and the jingling bell on his hat) or Oswald, who was never too busy for any of his friends. I loved watching Noddy on his car plying people from one place to the other, getting paid for it with pretty gold coins (WHY weren’t we using more coins in the real world?). I loved trading coins because I was in love with the way Noddy dropped a coin into someone else’s hand. I’d hungrily grab any opportunity to pay someone with coins. When they were to be given with notes, I’d give the notes first and then gently drop the coins – just like Noddy did. Thankfully the adults I did this to were patient enough.
I even pondered what it would be like to be a taxi driver. Of course, I outgrew that.
But I still retain a love for taking things from one place to another and getting them there on time. Thank you, Noddy.
And that’s something I never outgrew – saying thanks, please and sorry when needed, even with friends. Despite being relentlessly teased about being so formal, it made me feel incomplete if I didn’t say it. The way Oswald treats his friends and respects their ways always amazed me. Henry was often curt and Daisy was so flamboyant, and the mild-mannered blue octopus was never tired of them. He was always accommodating them with all their quirks, and somehow they managed to remain best friends.
Yes, my favourite episode was the one where Oswald drives the ice-cream truck all around town.
Oh, and I started to absolutely adore dogs. All dogs were just so nice!
Then, of course, there was Baby Looney Tunes. That big house with the beautiful playground and garden, the smiling granny and her horde of grandchildren – that was any child’s dream! I especially loved the episode in which the children mistake the sound of the flush for some scary monster because as a child I was scared of that noise too.
But what made it all the more interesting was how all the children got along so well (yes, again!). Even Sylvester and Tweety had put aside their many differences and decided to grow young together. How fantastic! Maybe that was all that these adults in their suits needed, who were always fighting. Make them grow young, and maybe they’ll see sense.
But then Pingu came along, who said much saying little, and who had the most wonderful way of showing people how annoyed he was – his beak was amazing when he really needed it. Could penguins ACTUALLY do that? Make a horn out of their beaks? Wow, what magnificent creatures they were, and they had ice houses that looked really cool and comfortable. And so clean, too!
But younger siblings were kind of annoying. Thank God I don’t have one of them.
And it really was okay to be a little naughty and play some pranks from time to time. Being good all the time is just so much pressure, so it’s best to relax just being… yourself!
Miffy convinced me of that. It was just so much fun being the only child. When you got the flu your mother always took care of you. Your father would take you with him to paint your room (no painting around the things- you have to take everything out before you paint). And if you ever were bored all you had to do was take a walk and all your friends – the bears and the pigs and what not, would come and play with you.
Oh, and she had a dog too! No doubt they’re the nicest creatures to ever walk the planet – every nice person seemed to have one.
And a nice lunch would always have carrots and tomatoes.
In fact, don’t think of throwing away the vegetables on your plate. Especially not the spinach. Nope, just nope.
The variety in the friends’ list was always appealing, and in time I grew up to learn that people were just as unique. Of course among humans, the physical differences are much less pronounced (as in a blue octopus and a flower) but weren’t they just as interesting, unique, fascinating? Of course, they were.
I had to grow up though, and get used to the fact that the world wasn’t as sweet or gentle as those on my favourite shows. Not always – I’d heard of the most jarring incident myself only last day and I couldn’t forget. But then the goodness in people’s hearts would always show through, it seemed. Else, why would complete strangers be nice to an orphan girl and decide to adopt her, or feed a stray dog, or even give up the money they’ve been saving up just so another person gets what they badly need?
We’d probably never get the chance to be the child we were once again (alternate universes, please do exist) but there will always be that beam of goodness and love that grew like wildflowers somewhere inside us when we looked upon the world with wonder and awe. And sometimes, the universe does act like it’s made of magic and miracles.
That said though, there are times when I cannot help reciting to myself –
I wish I wish with all my heart,
To fly with dragons in a land apart.