Dec 05, 2023
Dec 05, 2023
by Supratik Sen
My heart leaps up or The rainbow
“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.” — William Wordsworth
“The child is the father of the Man”? I am going to look at this expression in isolation, not what Wordsworth tried to depict in the poem The rainbow. I am going to take this into my prose and look at various actors in society to find out why the child in us never matures into an adult, especially when my heart is also pounding, although for all the wrong reasons. I am burning from inside to write about patterns and traps making the phrase the basis of my writing. Yes, I have decided to write about the child that is prevailing across the world and across situations. ‘The child is the father of the man’ can be re-phrased in a number of ways, viz. ‘the son is the father of the man’ or ‘the daughter is the mother of the woman’. However, ‘the child’ in the phrase essentially talks about ‘a child’ who is there in the father inasmuch the same way it is in ‘the man’. I am going to customize the phrase to make it wider in its application, and obviously not make it sexist prima facie and I promise to give you some examples which might seem disconnected and even preposterous but vital in understanding the reasons for disputes and dissensions.
The child is the child of the child
At this point in time, I feel guilty having distorted such a beautiful expression into this ridiculous statement...and I guess it is my peaceful and unaffected rage that's shouting to say that 'this is the most unkindest cut of all'. I would still urge my indulgent reader to read on. Please.
I sense a complete absence of 'adult' parent. The child who's a parent is actually a child in the guise of a parent. Fighting like children! In families, in society, everywhere..otherwise how do you think all daughters are good but no daughters-in-law are...all mothers are good, no mothers-in-law are...can this be based on logic? Why do countries always have bad neighbours? Does that sound logical...the world over neighbours are fighting...like children.
Essentially my genre is poetry. However, I do come back to prose off and on. Especially when I am pushed by my circumstances to the extent that I have to un-hide and say something directly to people right on their faces. And since most of what I write talk about our mind-set, our own traps, this is not going to be an exception for sure. However, I do feel guilty because I have chosen to bring a poetic expression into a prosaic plot, to look at society by converting it in a way that it cannot be recognized...but please understand that I am writing this more with a sense of wonder than anger.
Thousands and thousands of years have gone by, and we have not grown. It is so much of a wonder! Our juvenile nature has become delinquent in time, but we have not grown into adults. Where is the real adult my friends? One of my favourite pastimes is to watch children fight. They slap and punch each other so sincerely that they wish their friends to die when they fight. And if any child happened to have a dagger or a gun, they will kill them for sure without even realizing the consequences of their acts. I marvel at how children complain to a so-called adult! “No papa/mama/aunty/uncle/sir…it is not my fault, he hurt me first”. I see this happening with the so-called adults all the time! In the Mahabharata, if the Kauravas said "I will not give them even land enough to fix a needle. Let them fight and take it, if they want to," the Pandavas played chess to destruction. Children insist on remaining children insofar as unconscious cruelty is concerned. Language murders our innocence anyways, so there is no childlike ness left…it is only childishness that is on the loose…to function in society that is yearning for adults.
Parents insist that their children study, eat, play. The direction of their actions is prescribed in the sense that they have to do their duties in a certain way because they think it will be for their good. Now what is good and what is not is also known, in the sense it is not! Parents do not possess their children, and that no matter how hard parents try, children are here in this world to write their own stories, to create their own histories. And by chance…if by chance parents see their children performing well at studies, their enthusiasm become a veritable burden on the children. Teachers sometimes laugh at parents when they see them behaving like children at parent-teachers meetings! When children fight amongst themselves, their respective parents also start fighting with each other…you must have seen this, but maybe you also thought it was the right thing to do, and that’s why you didn’t actually think.
There are occasions when parents stop talking to their children because they are ‘angry’. In order to ensure discipline, parents sometimes take away some privileges from their children because they failed to do something they were supposed to do. Now parents have become parents merely by an intercourse of sorts. They also have some good job or business running for which their parents allowed them to have sex and have children. But deep inside, the children parents have not grown, so how will they help their children grow. Now the question is: how does one grow! Ha! Since everything starts at home, from problems to solutions, parents need to understand that children do not belong to them, that they need to give fiscal and mental support to their children and unconditional love at all times. Parents disown, disinherit their children because they are children themselves. Children fight with others because they see their parents fight. I remember a lovely child telling me how horrible he'd feel when his playmates would refer to him as 'That Madrasi' while he hailed from Kerala. For children in the north, anything from the south of India would have to be Madrasi! They lie to people because they see their parents lie. They go out in society, kill and slay people because they have seen childish acts in their own families. Most criminals that move in society are criminals because of their parents who did not grow up.
In India, I can give an example from well-known families where a set of children do not talk to each other. Take the Gandhis for example. Rahul, Varun, Priyanka, Sonia, Maneka. These five beautiful souls have had similar circumstances, similar hostilities. And yet, they can’t talk to each other. Imagine Congress and BJP to be two teams playing a street-cricket match. Since Maneka and Varun are katti with Priyanka, Rahil, and Sonia, they have joined the BJP. The same walls are mirrored everywhere! Reminds me of the Mahabharata. I guess the epic was alerting us of the mistakes we shouldn’t repeat? The Ambani brothers! Look at how Mamata Bannerjee and Buddhdeb Bhattacharya cannot bring themselves to working together! These children cannot solve their own issues in a mature way, and they are out to solve social problems! Look at how Italy has fooled us! They run to Italy and say they won’t come back. Hide and seek. Ha! Look at how those people whom we call terrorists plant bombs. Same hide and seek! Or catch me if you can! And what is more interesting is to know that these people actually celebrate when they watch people dead on TVs! For all you know, they could be giving high fives to each other because some lives had been truncated. And what do we do? We move on! The adult concern is lacking in society, and will continue to be so. If we were concerned, then the whole society would come together, synergise, and see to it that peace prevailed. Women would stop producing children, farmers would stop ploughing, and workers would stop going to work. There needs to be some real drama in life to take us out of this mayhem!
In offices across the world, we see children at work! Sometimes people flaunt with their laptops, sometimes with their designation, and at other times with their visibility. Managers always flock in a group, and those who are managed form another. There is always a Main group, or the Master group to whom everyone has to respect and abide. If anybody is found to violate and mix with one or two persons only, then God help them! I have had the privilege of working in a small organisation where employees would make comments on the type of food one of them would eat, deliberately never taste food from him and label him as a man with pathetic table manners! They would roll into laughters when he would speak, and then label him as a person who can't speak...'nothing'...they'd snigger...'nothing'! Basically it’s children playing cruel games unconsciously.
It is really interesting to note that even in spiritual institutions, ‘live and let live’ does not prevail. Sometimes we attack on those who eat, talk, dress differently; sometimes we make a list of unattainable prescriptions and proscriptions just as children do while playing games.
In all the things we do in life, there is some kind of a war happening between children, whether it’s any argument or an action. Grow for me is to ‘get rid of war’ of any kind, and growth is when you decide to ‘get rid of war to help/heal’. If you watch discussions on the TV channels, you will see the speaker only fighting, without coming to any consensus. And sometimes they fight in and out of our parliament like delinquents. Let us at least know that we will have the child unabated in us until we refuse to grow up. And refuse to grow up we will for sure for many more years to come. The child is the child of the child is here to stay. So be it! If the Pied Piper were to re-visit, he would take all the children away for sure.
Well until the time he does, let me go back into my poems. But before I do that, let me take away all my leftover of anger, transform it as wonder as I read The Rainbow.
More by : Supratik Sen
|"Children insist on remaining children insofar as unconscious cruelty is concerned" and the GROW acronym - Get Rid Of War - for me sums up the essence of this excellent write. In the so-called mature 'us', there is alwys this child lurking to settle scores one way or the other with other 'children' - siblings, parents, own children, friends, enemies, neighbours, colleagues, society and other countries...!!! Indeed, when will we GROW up?|
Thanks for sharing this thought provoker, Supratik!