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Perspective Share This Page
Quiet Laughter from within The Child's Soul
by Dhiraj Raniga Bookmark and Share


From the early days of infancy, through the trembling years of youth, many of us have had a childhood in the fairy world of toys. These toys have brought 'quiet laughter' from within the child's soul. The vicarious life of a child beginning in his infancy could put him on the successful path of his dreams of being a doctor or a soldier, for the demand for Kings and Goblins has considerably decreased in recent years.

I remember that only once I felt the 'quiet laughter' within me: when my parents decided to visit my eldest sister Shanta in Suva for few days, and I at the age of five sacrificed my trip for a dull red and blue colored plastic helicopter that could barely fly. It crushed itself into colorful pieces before the day was done. Without deviating from the semantic flow of thoughts, I should mention, of course, there are those most unfortunates who never had the privilege to show 'light of laughter' from within their souls, not that they were failures. These poor sods were exempt from toys, dreams and nursery rhymes, probably they were told to get off the bus because they have not heard of 'sing a song of sixpence' or 'Eensy Weensy Spider' or those wonderful riddles or nursery-rhymes. Maybe the world of toys is the miniature world of our own, after all.

I yet have to have that moment to sit and ponder, of the dawn of that fine morning when my father and I had had entered a toyshop in Morris Tar while I held his pinky finger. To tell the truth, I have never had such an opportunity during my lingering years of youth to witness such abundance of toys. The white transient settlers from abroad had Burns Phillips and Morris Hedstrom to accommodate their children's fancy dreams and desires and those among us who lived with more than a sixpence in their pocket have lit their children's eyes like the sunset kindling the skies.

Yes indeed, I ought to mention my ineradicable lust for war and adventures. I molded the arsenals with wood and rubber bands. I had drawn my gun and shot Jesse James, I had drawn the sword from the paper stone and proclaimed myself as the King of England and had swung from the ropes on trees in Saru village with the dagger held between my teeth. I had sat in the old beaten English bakery van, behind Lee Hoy's bakery to try and start the van that had no engine or tires or keys for that matter. I had paddled the red sports car on the main street of Lautoka without license or seat belts and once fell off the wooden horse that had no rein. Remember these stunts were not from nursery rhyme books or Christmas presents which I never had the prerogative to as a child, these stunts were the signals from the cinemascope screen of Sharan brothers Crown Theatre telling me that it was time to grow.

Medieval or the middle ages, we think of knights in shining armor, lavish banquets, wandering minstrels, kings, queens, bishops, monks, pilgrims, and glorious pageantry. A heroic, romantic period, nevertheless, Michelangelo had put a toy in a child's bare hands with mortar pressed color pigments on the ceilings and walls of chapels and churches and the thousands of year's old dolls had been found in the graves of little Roman children at the archeological site. They have not even shaded a tear over the years of confinement; they sat quietly beside their masters.

Each Christmas one could still hear the echoes of clash of arms, the century's old European battles being fought on dining tables and Bismarck left to sink many a time in bathtubs. Let us not forget Napoleon 'the little corporal' and his brave soldiers, they are still defeated at Waterloo and he hence gets exiled for life time after time to the Island of St. Helena, poor old sod has not aged a day. Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver are still looking for buried gold and the faithful parrot has hardly spoken a word since. What sort of mischief Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer are up to nowadays remains to be discovered?

Sometimes I wonder what value Parker Brothers would give the squares if Moti Bhai and Punjas (two tycoons) were added to the game of Monopoly, the Fijian Edition. Narsey Hall and Bhika Bhai's hair salon should definitely stay on board. We could always have the toddlers play the game of coup after they have exhausted themselves moving from under the tables and chairs; we can always carve the players from our green and pleasant woodlands. The question is who will name the characters...

Maybe we have reached the age where we can have Batman as President and have Robin save the day. Tom Thumb is still taking care of himself and Merlin seems to have forfeited his magical powers and now works as court jester in King Arthur's court the last I heard from a friend. Robinson Crusoe is still feeling more and more lonely; he seems to be missing his friend Friday in the isolated tropical Island.

Today there seems to be less laughter in nurseries. They seem to have changed from the Kings and Goblins to Batman and Robin and from those things to Physics and Chemistry and to miniature computer sets; we are indeed at the age of scientific inquiry. Well today children dream differently; they have shifted to another phase of the world of thoughts other than we use to think of.     

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25-Dec-2005
More by :  Dhiraj Raniga
 
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