—impact of growing up on our innocence and basic kindness
That evening, bored and having nothing to do, I switched the television on and let the music cry in the background. Rain pounded on the roofs, howling wind played along. It was a gloomy evening. After watching the downpour clearing the street off, for another ten minutes, I curled in my sofa and focussed on TV.
Surfing the channels, I realized there was nothing worth watching in the news channel — same murder and mayhem, same wars and cries. Not willing to spoil a perfect evening with the gory details of the world around me, in heartbreak, I passed it on for something lighter. If it make me a little selfish, a little unwise, a little narrow-minded, so be it, I thought.
I just went through the news papers and the painful burdens they carry along. No need for a second inning of blood and war, of cruelty and death, of hatred and explosions, I said to myself. It only make me feel gloomier.
Skipping them all, I stopped on Fox Life.
Fox Life had my favorite programme running, so finally I settled on it and spent my time on Sugar Stars, dreaming about chocolates and cakes. A short relief after a long, miserable day. Feeling languid and sumptuously relaxed, I almost fell asleep. And that’s when the knocking started.
I opened the door to see the smiling face of the kid next door. I let her in and we continued to indulge on Sugar Stars. When it was over, we talked about cakes before I started to surf again.
A news channel came up, BBC or CNN, I think, and there were videos of raging infernos, of the thunderous boom of the exploding bombs and missiles, of heartbreaking wails. A moment and our eyes met in silence.
The next channel, to my horror, showed a murder victim — a husband killing a wife.
So much violence, and our eyes met again.
I was fast to change the channel, knowing she was too young to be haunted by those images.
She was silent for a moment, her eyes had a thoughtful, alert look. She suddenly looked wary of the world.
“Auntie…” She said after a minute. “Why do they do that?” She pointed the TV. It was now on Cartoon Network, but I knew what she was asking. “Those people, are they bad… Like the baddies from Master Raindrop, from Ben 10?” She asked. “That’s why they’re killed?”
For a moment I had nothing to say.
The people who had been killed during the wars, all around the world, do they deserve it? Are they baddies? Those children with haunted eyes, those old women with starved face, those young women with sorrow and soot painted on their face, those young men with scars and blood, do they deserve death?
The wife who is killed in a blind rage, the daughter-in-law who is been burned alive because her dowry was not as asked, the girl next door, sexually harassed, tortured and killed? Do they deserve death? Do they deserve this kind of cruelty?
My heart bled with pain.
“No sweetie. Sometimes when there’s war, when one person fight with others, they kill… I– I don’t know how to say it, but not all of them are baddies.” It seemed too illogical to say, too inappropriate and too redundant. But really, I didn’t know how to explain the stupidity of human minds, the impact growing up had on our innocence, on our kindness. I had had no words to describe the callousness.
“There’s this lil boy, auntie, his hands are stumped… I saw, when dad reads papers.” Her eyes were pained. “And that other auntie with blood in her stomach.”
“Oh, sweetie!” I pulled her close and rocked her, wordless.
“Mom says I can’t fight. Not hit Theja and Keerthi and Varun when we fight. I will be bad girl, if I hit. Mom says good girls don’t hit others.”
“Of course, your mom is right.”
“So why grownups hit? Are they bad girls and boys?”
“Some are bad girls and boys.” I said.
“When Theja and I fight, we don’t talk for a day. Then she gave me her chocolate. I gave her my crayons. We will color horses and cows and carrots and buses and we will say sorry and be friends again.” Her big eyes looked up.
They seemed to be asking: why don’t these people do the same? Why do they have to kill and destroy?
She rendered me speechless once again.
There was such a grand logic in her innocent statement. Such a simple, but wonderful wisdom. A wisdom that is so farfetched for us — grownups.
There’s not only war, but also domestic violence, day-to-day murders… It seems like the world is rolling down towards hatred and violence and murders! It seems like these cruelty give them a kind of power, a kind of psychotic satisfaction, a kind of salvation to their crazed mind.
Damn it… Why can’t we simply say sorry? Why can’t we stop being egoistic, and look at the brighter picture? Why can’t we share crayons and chocolates and smiles? Why can’t we solve the problems by having a reasonable conversation?
Why can’t we? WHY?
I nodded, “Oh dear, they grow up… We grow up!”