08 July 2016

When you want to run away, just fly!

DISCLAIMER:  This is for kids.  Adults be warned: you may rediscover a child within you. 

There comes a time when everything goes wrong, when everyone seems to treat you badly, when even your friends, your brothers and sisters, and even your parents are so, so, so unfair.  That’s when you wonder if you were adopted.  That’s when you start thinking of running away.  That’s when you want to go far, far, far away from everything that bothers you. 

At moments such as that you don’t think about a place you want to be.  You just want to get away.  You just want to go somewhere.  Anywhere. 

It is NOT a stupid idea.  You’ll tell yourself that it will probably be very difficult.  First of all you probably won’t have any money with you.   Well, maybe you have saved a bit of money, but it is unlikely that whatever you have saved will get you food for more than a few days.  You could always find work, you’ll tell yourself.  The next moment you will tell yourself that no one will hire you.  After all you are just a kid and a kid doesn’t really have that many skills and certainly not skills that others will pay for. 

But you have hands, you’ll tell yourself.  You can work as a laborer.  “A gardener, maybe,” you’ll tell yourself.  You’ll get excited about it.  Then you’ll realize that no one will want to hire you.  They’ll ask questions.  That’s the problem.  Questions. 

Wherever you go, there’s bound to be some stupid, responsible (oh yes, you’ll curse responsibility) adults.  And they ask annoying questions. 

What’s your name?  Where are you from? Who are your parents? What do they do?  Do they know where you are?  Annoying, utterly annoying.  Yes, you can dish out a few lies, but sooner or later they’ll figure out that you’ve run away from home.  Adults are annoying in that way.   They’ll somehow bully you until you tell the truth and then they’ll hand you back to your crazy, wicked family.  Or they’ll hand you over to the police. 

Suddenly you get an idea:  ‘I will beg on the streets, that’s it!’ 
It would be fun.  You will tell tragic stories unsuspecting people who will instantly feel sorry for you and give you all the spare change they have.  You’ll talk of a wicked stepmother or stepfather.  You’ll tell them how you were orphaned when your parents died in an accident and your uncles and aunts refused to take care of you.  You’ll tell them how you were separated from your family during a carnival.  You might tell them that you fell off a bus, hit your head on the pavement and lost your memory. 

That would be fun, right?  Well, not if you’ve actually seen beggar children. 

The problem about running away is that those who want to do so are usually highly intelligent children.  It’s only because they can think that they come to the conclusion that they cannot stay with their families any longer.  That’s the problem.  They can think.  Since they can think they’ll always think about the possibilities and they’ll invariably come to the conclusion that running away is not a good idea at all. And then they are stumped.  They can’t stay and neither can they go.   

So what would you do if you find yourself in that situation? 

Well, since you can’t stay and you can’t really run away, the logical thing is to fly, right?  And that’s exactly what you can and should do.  Fly! 

Close your eyes and think of a place you would really love to visit.  It could be a carnival, a circus, a cricket match, the top of a mountain, a garden full of flowers that carry only your favorite colors, a library with your favorite books, a place where you can play all the video games you like, a castle made of chocolate with free ice cream, or a vast field where you can sit and whisper a wish that will be instantly granted.   

Close your eyes.  Think of where you want to be and what you want to do.  Close your eyes and be very still.  You’ll be right there immediately.  Close your eyes and you won’t hear your parents complaining.  Close your eyes and you can fly.  You can fly like a bird or a jet or a rocket.  You can do somersaults in the sky.  You can be a bandit or a hero, you can ride a dragon or slay it, and you can laugh or just be quiet and still.

You can fly.  That’s it.  There’s no reason to run away when you can fly, right?  So don’t run away.  It’s silly.  Really silly.  It is really, really, really silly because it’s tiresome and tiring.  Why run when you can fly.  The best thing about it is no one will ask you any questions.  More than that, there won’t be adults unless you want some adults around.  They won’t bug the devil out of you though.  Yes, don’t run away.  Fly. 

One of the greatest delights in my brief career as a journalist was writing for the kids' section of 'The Nation'.  I wrote over fifty articles in my last year at that newspaper.  I have resumed the series, which is now published in www.nightowls.lkScroll down for other articles in this series.  

Other articles in this series
Stop and say hello to an angel 
Three-wheelers are tortoises and hedges are sentinels

A puddle is a canvas Venus-Serena tied at love-all
Some jokes are not funny
There's an ant story waiting for you
And you can be a rainbow-maker
Trees are noble teachers
On cloudless nights the moon is a hole
Gulp down those hurtful words
A question is a boat, a jet, a space-ship or a heart
Quotes can take you far but they can also stop you
No one is weak
The fisherman in a black shirt
Let's celebrate Nelli and Nelliness
Ready for time travel?
Puddles look back at you, did you know?
What's the view like from your door?
The world is rearranged by silhouettes
How would you paint the sky?
It is cool to slosh around
You can compose your own music
Pebbles are amazing things
You can fly if you want to
The happiest days of our lives
So what do you want to do with the rain?
Still looking for that secret passage?
Maybe we should respect the dust we walk on
Numbers are beautiful 
There are libraries everywhere 
Collect something crazy
Fragments speak of a thousand stories 
The games you can and cannot play with rice
The magic of the road less-traveled
Have you ever thought of forgiving?
Wallflowers are pretty, aren't they?
What kind of friend do you want to be? 
Noticed the countless butterflies around you?
It's great to chase rainbows
In praise of 'lesser' creatures 
A mango is a book did you know?
Expressions are interesting things
How many pairs of eyes do you need?
So no one likes you?
There is magic in faraway lights
The thambilil-seller of Giriulla
When people won't listen, things will
Lessons of the seven-times table