A date with childhood

I fondly remember a time when I would visit the Napier museum park in the heart of Trivandrum; a dome like edifice housed speakers which played chemeen almost incessantly. But I was too young to mind or enjoy it and I would gather a few more my age and make the dome our playground and the slides, see-saws and swings our abode. I would play until I bruised my elbows and knees red or until dusk gave way to dark.

Last Saturday, we had driven to Connecticut only to revisit life of twenty years ago. Tired of eating to distraction and switching channels that played mushy romance movies (it was contentious V day after all), we had decided to take a stroll in the park nearby. The golden winter sun and green air were all that we sought and it had ended up being much more.

What awaited us were swings and play sets that included battle grounds, climbers, slides and ladders; and to top it, they were all unoccupied. It was with enough reluctance that I with S and S occupied the rubber seats of the swings, which had to be squeezed into owing to our bigger bottoms than that of a five year old. Though the initial squeaking of the chains made us wonder if we could be playmates again, we had finally picked up pace and soared higher and higher in enough merry against the cold air.

The guys were quick to mock our childish happiness, only to find the climbers and tubes all the more fun. Gymnastics were tried on the horizontal bars, ropes and ladders climbed in clumsy steps and firefighter poles glided down with adventure like hold. We almost believed that all was done, when N attempted a crawl in the yellow tube only to find himself too stuck to pull out. If it were a cartoon, I am sure he would have wriggled out like a jelly, but in all due regard he finally made it through with peals of laughter all around.

If that wasn’t sufficient, the sliding monkey bar was the toughest of them all. Sz was a champ at it and managed to make the other two six feet-ers cringe for having jested him as small built. While he would make the Tarzan passes with ease, Sd had to be pushed and N simply remained hanging and refusing to let go however hard he tried to move. In all good humor, we had taken over a kids’ world even before we knew it and like all playtimes this one too wound up against a setting sun with relentless laughter and fun.

For we hadn’t had enough I believe, since that explains our excitement at the restaurant table later that evening to find crayons and play booklets left by the previous occupants. Our dinner was marked by drawing classes remembered over napkins brought to life with hills, sunrise, birds, trees, mangoes and houses. With a couple of ‘bad draw-er’ jokes and hot fudge and ice cream, our V day had come to a contented end.

Of all the things that I so dearly miss in this world, I am glad that childhood is unlike them all; for I can never be too old to relive it.