Thursday, July 14, 2011

Of susuwatari and those silly childhood dreams

How often is it that we realize that in this rat race that we call life, we sometimes lose sight of the things that matter the most? I remember a time when, as a wee sapling, I'd play in my own world filled with imaginary friends. I had one particular friend who had kept me company throughout my childhood and adolescence. She was an awesome, witty and kind person who was like me in appearance. She guided me through moral tangles and had a word of rebuke whenever I did something I ought not to. She and I had fights... we danced together, she was always my sidekick when I was a super hero. And her name... I called her Muse. Why that? I never knew.... somehow, that name personified her.

The other day, I watched Tonari no Totoro and Spirited away for the hundredth time and somehow, this time, I was really attracted to the teeny tiny little soot sprites... the susuwatari... or as the little sisters named them, the Makkuro Kurosuke. After watching the movies, it got me thinking... Isn't it saddening to know that the innocent worlds of our childhood is so abruptly demolished by the "accepted world" of the teens and adults? Back when I was fifteen, it was okay not to have a boyfriend. It was okay to still play with the boys, it was perfectly fine to be a child. But these days, children as young as ten claim to have boyfriends, claim to apply makeup and get dressed the way adults do. And parents, amidst their busy schedule, forget that their children are still... children. They want them to grow up as soon as possible. They want them to be ready for a world that's unforgiving and brutal. And yet, they fail to realize that when they're out there in that cruel world as adults tomorrow, it's only those memories of a carefree childhood that keeps them going.

I should say that I was blessed to be born when I was. I didn't know the internet before I finished school. School reports were meticulously researched and hand written. Wikipedia was unheard of and the only source of information was the old "Tell Me Why" books and the jolly old library. Cell phones were unheard of and reality TV meant the live news. It was a glorious time to be a child. Too bad the kids these days lose that sense of innocence and child-likeness the moment they're seven or so.

What I wouldn't give to go back to those days... those days of wanton bliss when I didn't have to worry about outward pretenses and mortgages... I didn't need to care about dinner and running a family... when I could be me... with my muse and the tiny susuwatari for company.
Indeed they are...

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