Monday, 19 May 2008

Learning how to fall By Xunaira

Welcome to LaLa Land! This is the land of the pure. It’s pure because none of its inhabitants are older than 3-4 years of age. They’re all little babies who just spend all their day running around as if they were drunk on a gallon of whiskey! Bumping into each other; pulling each other’s hair; screaming as if a banshee were after them; trying to eat everything they get their hands on, even their own hands and feet!

Have you ever seen a toddler who’s just learned how to walk? It’s the funniest most amazing sight! I spent quite sometime once, just noticing one such little bug! They start running around in the house as if on a never ending supply of battery. As long as they’re running it’s all okay, but as soon as they slow down, all semblance of balance starts to crumble. One unstable step is followed by another equally unstable one and as soon as they hit the breaks; BAM! They fall on their cute little bums. Hardly a minute would pass by and as if the song Tubthumping were playing in their heads somewhere, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, nothing’s gonna keep me down..” they’re back up on their little feet ready to wreak havoc all over again. It’s quite an amusing and entertaining sight.

It’s unbelievable the ways kids can lift one’s mood. Something like this happened to me in one of my particularly bad moods. I was at this store with my parents and chose to stay back in the car while they shopped. I was sitting there feeling a multitude of negative emotions, looking outside the window while not actually seeing anything in particular when this little kid of 4-5 caught my eye. He was sitting on the front seat of a car playing around when suddenly he pressed the horn. Right in front of that vehicle there stood a group of around 6-7 people. As soon as the horn blared, all of them jumped and started looking around angrily searching for the culprit who had embarrassed them like that, making them jump out of their shoes. Little did they know that the culprit was a little devil noticing and laughing at their reactions in his car. Amusedly, I looked at the kid enjoying his moment of naughtiness when he looked back at me and at that instant; maybe it was the mischief in eyes that caught me, I indicated with my hands to him to press the horn once more. As if he was just waiting for my cue the cute devil pressed the horn with full force. Once more the horn tore the silence in the air and yet again the same group of people who hadn’t left their spot from in front of the car, jumped. Their reaction this time was angrier and louder than before and quite enjoyable too, but it was nothing compared to the delight me and my little friend were sharing hiding in our cars. I can never forget this incident because the effect it had on me was just superb. I came back home feeling happy and lighthearted, blessing that kid and thinking how wonderful children are.

Looking at the kids around us can teach a lot. All we need to do is be a little more observant.

As we grow older we take calculated steps, thinking before taking that jump. We suppress that instinctive urge to just leave everything and take the leap. Yes it is important to consider the risks involved, but at times thinking about the bigger cause is more important. Thinking about what we would be able to achieve if for once we let go of the inhibitions must take precedence. Just like the little kid in the car who didn’t give two hoots about the rest of the world and just enjoyed the reactions to his naughty act.

Life is all about the choices we make and it is these choices that determine our successes and failures. However, apart from the choices it’s also our perseverance that plays a part in determining our fate. It makes us the individuals we are. Sometimes victory comes easily to us and we think “Oh wow this was easy!” but the real test of our character is when we are faced with a tough situation, one where there’s more chance of losing. How we fare under pressure is what reveals the strength of our personalities to others as well as ourselves. If we choose to stay put and not get up once we fall we’re accepting defeat too easily. If we choose to get up and running again, like the little kids learning to walk, we are at the very least, ensuring a clear conscience and no regrets even if we lose despite all the effort. People give up so easily and so soon without even trying and say “let’s pray it happens.” I never was able to understand this approach. Had everything supposed to happen through prayers then no one in the world would have had to work or fight for anything. All of us would just have had to make a prayer and viola! Our needs would have been fulfilled; our wishes granted.

Kids live such a simple life. They play, they fight, they forget, they forgive and they play again. They whine and cry for one thing but then find something else to interest them. There is just so much we can learn from these angels who are but a part of us, who are doing more than just filling our lives with joy. They are reminding us of the innocence we have lost.



Farhan Hafeez said...

Could not have a better ending:

"They are reminding us of the innocence we have lost."

Very nice article :)

khany said...

thanks for sharing. i cannot resist sharing some of my own observations and experiences.
*they seemed relevent when i started writing them but only seem marginally related to the original post now. my apologies.

its sounds paradoxical but many babies learn to run before they can walk. in fact, this betrayal of expectation is very revealing about certain human behaviors. i believe i have it figured out after observing my niece grow through her toddler years. for example, take a look at this baby's first steps

you get the feeling (at least i do!) that the baby is continuously falling forward except he manages to move his leg out in front of him just in time. if this is general, then it would explain why babies tend to speed up as they go and why they inevitable fall at the end. (the ones who start out walking fall on their bums while those you skip directly to running fall on their faces).

when i stand up in front of a crowd i begin to wonder whether i ever grew out of my toddler stage. words that had been up until that moment so friendly and so familiar become altogether alien. as i articulate them it is as if i am hearing them for the first time. 'was'... what kind of a strangely sounding word that is... am i pronouncing is properly... it never sounded so rough to my ears before... and this is only the psychological challenge. now, couple to it the physiological stress... you become aware for the first time of blood pulsing through every artery, the heart beat never resonated so clearly before, and the humidity of your mouth and the temperature of your ears also become discovered in the same instant.

and i begin to wonder whether i really 'learned' to talk. or if i have simply been falling in front of myself, mouthing sounds out of instinct, the entire time and only now it has registered with me.

there are many endearing qualities of a child. they have a humble disposition. they are willing to experiment,learn from experience and to receive guidance. but i think the quality that really makes people smile and put down their guard is the childs innocence.
prophet jesus (peace be upon him) is reported to have said in the gospel of mark (10:15)
Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

and we have similar ideas expressed in islam when new reverts to the religion and people who have performed the pilgrimage with a pure intention are likened to new born babes (in their innocence).

They play, they fight, they forget, they forgive and they play again.
this reminded me of PTV public service messages that broadcasted with the punchline "bachay akhir bachay hain". it came back to my memory so vividly that i am surprised is still remember it. does anybody else recall?

Isbahz said...

Once, i remember, one of my young nieces, nimra kept crying n crying n crying. I was so irritated that i opened my cell phone to yell at a friend, n just then i heard a chuckle.... nimra was crying but when she saw the cell phone flip open and light, she started chuckling. i closed the cell and opened again, she chuckled again n in a matter of moments, she was all happy dappy.

i wonder when we lost that quality? maybe thats one of the things u have to give up to be an adult. But what if we could forget every bad thing just by looking at a wierd clown or pom poms....

When i was a kid, i remember my mother telling me that i would miss my childhood when i grow up. n i thought.. no way, i wanna be thirty flirty and thriving.. :p [stole this from 13 going on 30]. And this actually defines a moment in my life when i am forced to say that i do miss being crazy for lollypops and i miss my love for barbie dolls.... n i can hear my mum saying [yet again..].. told u so! :)

This reminds me of this extract i translated a while ago...

Syra said...

Wonderful comments and observations. JazakAllah khayr :)

Khany sir, please don't apologize :) app ke post par kar maza aya. Nopes, I don't recall that punch line...but there is this adorable show on geo t.v I have seen a couple of times called "bachay, mun kay sachay". It captures the innocence and wisdom of kids.Check it out.

Isbah, Nimra baby ko lollypop treat karo mairee taraf say. hey, did you used to watch those
1 hr of NTM kid shows? :)

I have so many kiddy stories to tell, that i can't decide on which one to narrate. :). Back in the 80's A bunch of cute kids 5-9yr were all asked the famous question "aap baray ho kar kya bano gay".This one kid came up with an original answer and proudly declared "I will grow up to be a moon\ may baray ho kar chaand banoon ga" :)

My observation is that with every next generation the level of innocence in children is deteriorating.

Farhan Hafeez said...

"My observation is that with every next generation the level of innocence in children is deteriorating."

I noticed it too and it hurts :( ... seems like the media is taking away the innocence from kids :| ....

Syra said...

It's all getting embedded in the whole system. Cartoons have so much of adult humor :| and kids watch em all the time :|