Thursday, January 8, 2009

On why childhood was a particularly tough time

Reasons why childhood was a relatively troubled time...

* There was the burden of options. I could be a bull-fighter or a professor of medieval Peruvian architecture, or an Olympic javelin thrower. Now it's a relief because I don't have to anxiously wait for things to unfold.

* Whenever I was in doubt as to what to do when faced with a tricky situation, the answer always was the same as what Barney the Dinosaur would do in the same situation. That usually involved a lot of reverse psychology. These days it's much simpler - I choose the option that takes lesser effort.

* In late 2006, I made the grave judgemental error of falling victim to chicken-pox. It was a reminder never to leave your early chores unfinished. Especially the childhood ones - you never know when they will come back and bite u in the backside. In my case - when I had to negotiate with a granite quarry-owners Union in North Kerala for the sale of 28 heavy duty trucks. That smoke-filled room with 15 whisky-drinking bearded men sitting stone-faced around an empty chair with a placard that said "Vimal - Gone home to Mommy" is the most embarrassing thing never to have happened to me.

* I thought Paris Hilton was a notorious hotel in France.

* I would wait all week long for a series of electronic images to appear on the TV. 10:30 AM on Sundays, when Ducktales would get over, was the most depressing time of my life. At 10:30 in the morning, Sunday was already over and the rest of the day would inexorably slide downwards and merge with Monday, when I had to go to school again...for 4 days in a row! Would I ever make it to the end of the week? It seemed like it was going to be the last Sunday ever! Was it going to be the last Sunday ever?! Was it?? Was there any justice at all in the world? Oh, why did Ducktales have to end?!

That half-hour every Sunday morning was the highlight of my life!

Years have passed. Many Sundays have come and gone. I lived. I now have all the 100 episodes of Ducktales on DVD. I can see these iconic images whenever I want. But it doesn't fill me with the same excitement and anticipation anymore. I don't wake up at 7 AM anymore to brush my teeth, bathe, eat breakfast and act nice so as not to upset the parents before switching on the TV at 10, nor rub my hands together in hysterical excitement when I see the marvellous and wonderful adventures of Uncle Scrooge, Launchpad and Gyro. There was Webby, Doofus McDuck, Fintheart Glomgold, Magica, Uncle Donald and Duckworth... There were the Beagle boys and Scrooge McDuck's great-nephews, Huey, Louie and Dewey! Duckburg was a magical world! I somehow felt that I was a part of that world! They were all so awesome, and there was nothing I could do!

The trouble with awesomeness is so much trouble.

So, as an adult I have fewer problems than I did when I was a child. In much the same way as an astronaut whose spacesuit is on fire in outer space while he is trying to fasten a loose screw on his spacecraft has fewer problem than the geeky-looking guy back in Space Command in Houston who just remembered having packed in the wrong size screwdriver.