Small Town

Of hollow trees and secret rooms and imagination

I  have reached this ripe age without ever

*Finding and furnishing a hollow in a tree

*Making a den in a secret room upstairs
*Disappearing into a room behind the book shelves

But my favourite daydreams were all made of such stuff. As children we did once fix up the garage as a secret club, complete with crates to sit on, cushions for comfort, lemonade and a makeshift library of Enid Blytons, the inspiration behind the ‘club’. But alas! it was hot and humid in that closed space, and cold lemonade was, after all, nothing but neebu ka sharbat. So back in we all went to the comfort of fans and sofas.

We lived in a world of imagination. And the summer vacation was the  perfect breeding ground for imaginary locations, friends and adventures.

These days I find that children are more energetic, more aware, maybe more intelligent than we ever were. But imagination largely seems to be missing. A door is a door and a book is a textbook. A carton is not a secret palace, small on the outside, huge inside; a chopstick is just that, not a magic wand. I haven’t seen any young child spending time looking absorbedly at spider webs, insects , wild flowers in the recent years.

I’m sure there are children somewhere with great imagination. I hope so, very much. It’s just that most of them seem preoccupied with their computers and cell phones and gadgets.

**Representative images sourced online