Sunday, March 2, 2008


Ages ago, when I was a kid, my father used to take me to the playground ( there are three very famous playgrounds here, at Chinsurah) in the afternoon. There was a group of my father's childhood friends, who gathered there everyday, and relaxed. They talked among themselves, and I played with the children of my uncles. With the sunset, the play ended. My playmates went home, but I stayed with my father. Now it was our personal time. Hours after hours he talked with me. The crowd in the field dissolved, the darkness took over the regime of the light, and we talked. We talked about stars, about the sun and the moon, about the big old banyan tree beside the field, about football players,about cricket. My father never studied science, and knew nothing about the reactions taking place inside the sun. Neither he heard of Kepler, nor the fact that the shape of earth's orbit round the sun is elliptic. But from him, I learned the names of the stars , planets, and trees. He told me stories about Maradona winning the World Cup, about thirty four test centuries made by some Sunny Gavasker. I memorized them all. He said," And now this is one football player.. Pla.. Pla.. ", and I would shout out "Platini". That was the favorite game of mine.

This might not be a very systematic way of acquiring knowledge, but it was effective. When I went to school for the first time, I knew more things than any other kid of my age. These knowledge were of not much use in the examinations, but when a teacher asked something like" Have you heard of Pele?", I used to be the first one to answer. It was a very great pleasure at that age, and I owe this pleasure to my father.

When I started in class 1, my mother took a greater hand in my education. Being a teacher, she knew how to trigger the curiosity of a child. I became a bookworm very soon. But I never liked my textbooks. I always preferred knowing what Pagla Dashu did to learn some boring mathematics tricks. And I was never forced to do what I did not want to do. I stayed in my Mamar Bari during the first five years of my school, coming to home only at night because I had a morning session at school then , and Baba and Ma both had to go to work. I traveled a lot on my Baromama's bicycle.

Now when I look back to those days of my childhood, I feel sad! Now I have priorities, reservations, and duties. Then I had none of these. Now I have to finish my day's course of study to cope up with the next day's classes even if I am not feeling like it. Now I have to think twice before I say something to somebody. Now I have to answer to none other than myself if I fail to do something that would have been done successfully.

Now I can't spend hours talking with my father in the field under the starry sky every afternoon, even if I want to. My schedule does not permit that. I wish I could do that. That was the most wonderful way of learning I have ever experienced. Even now I cherish those moments while remembering them.

George Bernard Shaw was right. " Reminiscences make one so deliciously aged, and sad."[The Irrational Knot(1905)]