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Old HandsAre parents like the playgrounds?

 

Milestones you have passed in your journey of life. And subsequently forgotten…

Previous Story: Midas' Choice

Rosh was looking for his papers but couldn't find them anywhere.

He and Hosh had been working together yesterday, creating a checklist of gifts they wanted to take from New Zealand on their forthcoming trip to India.

He walked into his son's room and shuffled through the papers lying on his desk.

A loose leaf caught his eye. It had a simple line sketch of a playground, besides which Hosh had written a few paragraphs.

He picked up the paper, and started reading. It read ...

 

It was calling to me. I closed my eyes. There it was, proudly giving the same radiance that it once had.

I could still see the playground in my mind’s eye, as it was ten years ago. It was picture perfect. Children chasing each other and running over the wooden bridges.

Some were swinging on the swings, some sliding down the shiny yellow slides. Others were laughing, as they rose up or dropped down towards the ground on the swing-like see-saw.

Parents were helping their children on silver monkey bars, or chatting with each other in the large shaded areas.

My brother and I were among the children playing Tag. I can still remember running away from my brother this one time. I ran across the platforms to the monkey bars, and then to the other side via the flying fox.

We had agreed that walking over bark was not allowed, so the only way for him to get to me was by the flying fox. He waited on the other side of the bark covered area, waiting for me to throw the flying fox to him.

I teased him, and didn’t let go. His reluctance to try and tag someone else had made me chuckle. A pleasant grin lingered on my face, as I opened my eyes again. This playground had been so alive.

It looked so lonely and lost now. Forgotten. Barren, without children. There was no laughter. No sound. Silence gripped it in its deathly claws. Then I heard its feeble murmur again, as if calling out to me ever so slowly, yearning for me to come over to it.

I was surprised. Among all the children that must have played in its bosom over the many years, it had still remembered me. I was astounded. Without realizing it, I started walking towards it.

I dragged my hand along the metal handrails, as I had done many times as a kid. Paint was peeling off, revealing the rust underneath. The cold it felt, touched me deeply. Its wood was painted with mold now. Rotting inside.

Its chains creaked, broken by the weight they had once carried proudly. Discoloration blighted the rich yellow slides. Some of the monkey bars were missing, and the swing rungs appeared frail and small, incapable of holding my palms now.

Long Kikuyu grass and weeds had long since gobbled up all the bark on the grounds. I stooped to grab the flying fox, clenched it and lunged forward. It shrieked hoarsely, crying in pain and pleasure. How much had it longed to be touched again!

I understood.

“You will always be the lustrous, happy playground I knew. I will always remember you like that,” I asserted, as I let go of the flying fox and walked out.

An old man sat alone in the far corner of the playground, unnoticed under the shade of a tree. His eyes followed me until I had disappeared in the mist that settled on the grass from the heavens above.

Very slowly, he took out a photo of his child and tried to smooth its creases.

'Will you come to see me too?' he asked silently, 'One day!'

Next Story: Why Aging Kills Us?

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