Friday, June 16, 2006

"Grow" up in fear

As Ramu gave a sulky look to his father and went back to his room, he had a hundred and one emotions flooding his head. He wished that his father was on one of those long tours that he undertook so often. He also felt miserable since his mother was not supporting him, and could not understand what he was going through. It was the 1996 World Cup cricket league match between India and Australia. India was batting and his favourite player Sachin Tendulkar was going hammer and tongs belting the Aussie bowling attack in sheer disdain. But, Ramu had to go get locked up in the room and work out the exercise problems from the Maths text book for the next day's test.

Ramu sat for long hours before the Maths text book and not a word went to his head. He knew he was not made to read these things. His family wanted him to become an engineer or a doctor when he grew up. But, Ramu was never inclined to the conventional mode of living enforced upon the present day kids by their parents. He always had a clear idea of what he wanted to become and that was to be a bus driver. This job fascinated him a lot, and he was always filled with awe and wonder to see the driver taking turns on deep winding curves. He felt that was more challenging than sitting in front of the computer and writing unwanted lines of code. He also wondered about the status of his friend Senthil, who was also a cricket buff like him. He knew about his father too, and how he unnecessarily put pressure on his friend in his studies. He was beginning to get an aversion towards such people who were interfering with the lives of growing children. In the meanwhile, he was concerned with the Indian batting and he hoped them to do well.

Again his mind wandered and this time he was touching the biological aspect of life. These days, everyone in his locality were complimenting him on his growing height. He was happy to get the compliment but at the same time he was filled with anxiety. What would happen to him if he keeps on growing tall at such a rate. He might touch the ceiling of his house one day and he might be driven out of the house. But, what would happen if he outgrows the trees and tall buildings in the city to reach the skies. That was something unimaginable and scary. He likened it to Atlas supporting the skies on his shoulders. Now, he was beginning to feel the heat. He was sure that he would be thrown out of the house in a few days. He felt that the first thing he had to do was to ask his father and explain to him about his growing anxiety. He almost made up his mind to go to the hall and ask his father, when he realised that his father might feel that he was coming here on a pretext just to see the match. He felt it was all his ill luck that was creating havoc. It was maybe because he did not return the "rubber" he had borrowed from Senthil, or maybe because he was not being fair in the game of cricket with his friends. He kept pacing up and down in his room when he heard the door open and his father peep in. He was about to ask him the question to his father, when his father seeing his plight told him to come and watch the cricket match. That was all that he needed to get himself to spring back to action. He leapt in joy and ran towards the hall. He no longer cared about his growing stature. His father had told him to think while solving the problems and his thoughts really made the day for him.

He entered the hall, and was relieved to hear the commentators applauding yet another four from Tendulkar's blade. He also saw the neighbour mami talking to his mother, and as soon as she saw Ramu came up with a comment These days you are certainly growing tall Ramu!

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