Sunday, February 10, 2013

Innocence in 'The Millennium City'

I live in a place called 'The Millennium City'. Some of the many attributes that give the name to the place which actually has a 'gaon' (gaon means village in Hindi) in its name are:
- loads & loads of dirt
- hardly any smooth road
- innumerable power cuts
- extreme pollution due to the diesel emissions mainly from the generators because of power cuts
- tall, taller and tallest buildings with no idea where the water & power supply are to come from
etc. etc. etc.

In my violin class that I had joined sometime back (of course I could not prioritize continuing with the class among many other things, and I try to practise at home now), it was about my 3rd class when along with me in the class there was a small kid (about 7 years old). He came to the class and sat and after a while he opened the violin case. To my surprise the violin was quite smaller than mine. It was about half the size of my violin and it was very cute, I didn't know till then that a smaller size violin does exist. The class started and he played the violin and I watched him for a while with a pleasant smile on my face, he played at his own pace with the beats going haywire. He was just so cute and there was that innocence which I saw in him and that was the first time I saw it in this city. In another class he barged into the class as he was a bit late. He entered, sat down with his legs folded and opened his violin case and shouted, "arrey!", I bursted out of laughter when he stared at me with the astonishment to see the violin case open and the violin missing from his case :) I simply loved his expression. I felt a relief within to see that such innocence still exists!!! When I inquired about his background I learnt that his parents' origins are from a city not the millennium one, "very much possible", I thought!

We were thankful to get a rented flat in a nice colony with well maintained parks within (I have a complaint that they are for kids to play but dogs aren't allowed even to enter the play areas, I don't mind too much because I do understand changing human mentality is a task for a life time of many :)). We take Bruno for a walk everyday. In the evening, these days being pleasant during the evenings, there are many kids usually playing in the parks, one of which happens to be near our block entrance from where Bruno's walk usually finishes. The moment any of the kids in the group notices Bruno, they all come running towards us and shouting Bruno's name, usually also 2-3 other names to call them telling them that Bruno has come. Every kid is different - some pull Bruno's ears, some of them play with his tail, some are telling the others not to bother him too much, some are afraid to come near him but enjoy seeing him, some want to take him for a walk and snatch the leash from me, some are afraid he would bite and are confirming with me that he would not....etc. How much liveliness Bruno spreads around!

There is a lovely kid in the group who always has random conversations with me while her short play time with Bruno.
"Aunty, Bruno ki age kitni hai? (how old is Bruno?)", she asked me the other day.
"He is 4 and a half years old", I replied. I said '4 and a half' purposely because my education research brain prompted me to.
Then I asked her back, "Tumhaari age kitni hai? (How old are you?)".
She said, "4".
My research brain insisted me to ask, "Toh kaun bada hai, tum ya Bruno? (So, who is older? You or Bruno?)".
She said, "Main badi hoon (I am older than Bruno)."
I said, "Par Bruno toh 4 and a half years ka hai. (But Bruno is 4 and a half years old)."
She said, "Par main toh full 4 ki hoon (But I am full 4 years old)."

I wanted to explain her but didn't try to since I don't have a way to explain her because I know she has not yet come across the concept of fractions :) :) :) That was so cute I felt. She is so attached to Bruno, she calls him Bruns, and she has told everybody in her class about Bruns and how Bruns is her neighbour. I believe she had learnt 'neighbour' newly in her school. She explained me, "Aunty, you stay in 6th floor and we stay in 7th floor in the same building, so we are neighbours". She even made a story "Once upon a time, there was a dog. His name was Bruno.....etc......etc....." - there came a beast in the end of the story as well, I don't recollect how the story ended, my husband heard it better. I am more interested in watching her and the innocence within her :) There is this another kid who told me that he got 10 on 10 in an exam in school and so on. Another kid sees Bruno from his balcony of his home on the 4th floor and shouts, 'Arrey yeh toh Bruno hai...(see this is Bruno)!"

Every kid is innocent at heart. And it is such a pleasant feeling to note that is not completely lost yet in this part of the country which is moving too fast towards losing it though, I feel!