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Inviting hills

O to tune in to good times of childhood—
To re-live gone-by years, not just to brood,
To lighten dust-laden baggage’s dead tare,
To unburden mind of deadwood afloat, 
To fast-forward to dusky days of old, 
To turn over life’s leaf now withered brown,
To try see if it looks green once again,
There’s not like reliving school memories.

So, let me leap back all of six decades
On my mind’s time-travel machine
To arrive at the days of middle school,
Let not my old age misunderstand me,
The happy me, I’ve nothing to complain,
But let me just take a random re-look,
Heed to hidden hints here, a hard guess there,
To reinvest in childhood’s restive days,
The right age all life to be in—
Be it the first childhood, or the second,
For, when the ‘first’ is far beyond my reach,
Wise it is to enjoy the second itch.                                   

So, here I go unwrapping days from warts
From my fleeting past’s event-filled raw years—
The coolest time of life that warms all hearts;
And I remember three schools and three cheers,
Three times three harmless mirth, and time so cool, 
I recall here my second change of school—                                

To a sleepy town, to a far off date,
Nestled ‘tween two hills, on a dusty road
Patched up and tarred to cover up pot-holes,
A school retaining still her princely charm
In a small town of an old princely state, 
A hilly terrain of Aravalli range,
The hills posing no mean tempting challenge
To adventure seeking few boys and girls
That always looked for joys of thrills sans lulls.          

More than hills, tempting fruit trees beckoned us 
When its fruits were in season and copious,
Yet, more luring than fruits was the challenge
To complete the task in limited time
Of school recess, bare hands whatso the clime,
But there was something in it that was strange—
Perhaps, coming tops was no lesser bet,
For, the raw fruits, once plucked, must be buried
To ripen, for, ripe ones were hard to get;
It mattered least marts were flooded with fruits,
But such is the lure of venture-filled loots!
                                                                                                                   
I was one of the ace climbers of sorts—
Whatso scriptures say, we did fox for fruits,
Life does beckon with such tempting resorts
When man cannot forget fruits for the roots
While weary still of what-if of the life,
A venture it was strewn with stumbles rife.
When wisdom dwells far off to weigh you down,
Innocence when rule, be heavenly bliss,
When care and concerns of life look like clown,
That life shows all its charm so hard to miss.   
It’s when today looks like pathless wonder
To which all past and morrows surrender!                                

I’d any day love climbing verdant hills
Wooded with lush trees all so inviting,
Fruits or not, let there be rainbows, and frills
Of looking back at things left in making;
If we manage, be a child all age,
Let old age rage the worst of its rage.                                  
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The school that the poem talks about is one of the schools I studied. The town is an erstwhile princely state. The fruits referred to Timbhers (not timber), greenish hard husk when raw, getting a brownie tinge when ripe with juicy sweet pulp inside, bearing a tomato-like greenish crest as if it be the king of fruits. Yea, to us then it was. I’ve never seen this fruit again all my life except once when I visited Mt Abu.  
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    Reminiscing | 11.10.08 | 

Copyright © Aniruddha Pathak

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