Wednesday, April 13, 2011


(Continued from last post 'Impish Angels'...)                        

A boy is, of all the wild beasts, most difficult to manage. I remember seeing a six-year-old boy on the ferry  from Dover to Ostend who was nothing less than 'devil incarnate'. He went about the business of mischief with gay abandon and by the time we reached Ostend, he had broken three chairs, dislodged one elderly couple from their seats, beat up a few children and was shooed out of the engine room thrice for trespassing. The parents of the 'devil' could not be blamed because they had tacitly forewarned the public by cladding the boy in a T-shirt with the quote ' HERE COMES TROUBLE '. As someone said, there are only two classes of travel: 1. First Class 2. With Children.

When children join together to play, the proceedings usually start smoothly. But as the minutes tick away, the events degenerate into a pandemonium and soon enough the game begins to look more like the rugby game between thugs and wrestlers. And that is what I saw when some of my nephews and nieces played 'the thief and the police'. One of my nephews, the six-year-old Paddy whom I called 'Paddy the Peril' played the thief and all the rest were members of the constabulary. And by the time the law caught up with the 'thief' who was taken to the 'police station', the relationships between the participants had soured to such a extent that Paddy walloped the police black and blue. It was to become the first instance of custodial atrocity perpetrated by an under-trial on the police!

A thing that can certainly said in favour of kids is that 90 per cent of the truth told in this world come from them, often with grave after-effects. As in case of a boy who was once asked by his parents not to talk anything about a guest's ears. But when the guest arrived, the first thing the boy said was, "Dad you asked me not to talk about uncle's ears, but he has no ears at all." And the parents did not know where to hide their faces.

'Child is the father of man'; so goes the old saying. The modern day children are certainly the fathers of all men. I realised this when I overheard an eight-year-old tell his friend, "You know, Timmy, yesterday I asked dad about where the children come from. Believe it or not, he told me that the storks brought them. I just wanted to test his knowledge and he turned out to be such a dud."

Surely, a bundle of innocence, these present day children are. Aren't they?

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