The early years in life are different in endless ways. They were simple, innocent moments of black and white. We had adults to think for us and to take of our basic needs. Those were days without dark clouds. Every once in a while, we wish to relive the happy moments they held.
As time moved on, we learned to use words and place our wants to the adults. If that was the case, it was a blessing, for not everyone has that opportunity. Children learn the games of survival without parents or homes. As years passed, growing up became an endless puzzle, which continued to become a bigger mystery. In the adult years, the stress of balancing work and family is never easy, and the memories of childhood flood us. While we the thoughts wish to go back to the carefree days, an inner voice asks, "Would things be different if my choices were not what I made? If yes, how would the present be?" There is some pleasure in dwelling in the past and daydreams on them. We tend to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, likable and dislikeable matters. As years add to life, wisdom reflects new lights and makes us wonder if we could have done things differently. "What if I had said this? What if I had done that?" And on the thoughts go. Our life and actions involve other people who had minds of their own, and we could not determine how they would have to say.The family and society shape and reshape our life. I remember my childhood friends in the village; they were good tree climbers, almost as good as monkeys. They were creative to no ends in making their toys out of bamboo, twigs, mud other things near their hands. I learned to use my head and find my tools among resources available to me; peer pressure was developing ways to play without adults helping us. When I started, a family life depended on helping hands at home, and having family members at home was a blessing. Those were days when my children were small, and back then in Dhaka, that was how society functioned. After decades of ups and downs, life is back at full circle. The present life station in Amherst holds family and work; only the colours are different. There is gratitude in the life lessons learned along the way. We are forever living on the crossroads of time, through years, months, weeks, hours, and moments, as a great quote I once read said, "Sixty golden minutes, lost between sunrise and sunset, never to be found again." No, there is no way we can go back to the past or relive those moments for the better or the worse. And there is the question of fate that ties to invisible plans beyond how we want to carry our life.
Whether we believe in it or not, fate can come down like invisible strings can come down with drastic measures or take us to soar heights through the present, past, future, and beyond. The yesterdays of life tend to beckon us from the memory wheels. Life incidents rewind with a radio-like voice relaying, or the scenes replay like a movie we watched long ago. Happy moments are like popsicles; we relish the touches, wish to have them back, and hold on forever. Sad moments like knife wound, gnaw on the heart, bleeding in silence. We stop on our tracks and think, "I could have made different decisions and avoided the rotten part of the life-apple." But could we have done things with happy drinks all the way? Could we at all go back to a mother's lap just to be held?
Something about days we left behind, places we visited, people we met offer the comfortable familiarity that the heart seeks. On the other hand, the unknown fills us with apprehension; we wonder if the future will be as we hope it to be. As humans, we love to plan on life, places we want to visit, friends we plan to meet, and much more. Then there is the tension of knowing that there is God who has His plans for us. Between it all, we feel like crawling back to those secure childhood days of freedom. We may think that our days are more challenging than our parent's because life seems to get more complex every day. But the days of family raising for our parents came with their perplexities; they too had their days of wishing to go back to their mothers' laps. Early years of life continue to whisper that we could have done things in better ways. It takes daily reminders to dig into the truth that life in every step is a mixture of sweet and bitter things. We are often helpless in the twists and turns it gives us, and that joy and sorrow follow us with every chapter we live.
However, for all we sigh and cry over the early years, there is the unknown waiting with every sunrise, the new ventures we take to live as Rabindaranath Thakur has sung, "Ochenare chinte hobe ore…jani jani amar chena kono kale furabena.." (The unknown has to be conquered; my thirst for the unknown shall never end).
Tulip Chowdhury writesfrom Massachusetts, USA.