I miss being excited about things. When I was a kid, I subscribed to a monthly magazine called Children’s Digest. I used to sit outside our house, beside the gate, and stare at the bend in the road hoping the postman would come carrying my copy. When he does arrive, he would smile exposing the red-betel-nut-juice smeared teeth. I take the packet from him, open it with utmost care. The essence would be lost if I tore the packaging. I sit in a comfortable spot. Start from the cover page. I would stare at the cover illustration taking in every detail. It heightened my anticipation. Gave me new expectations of the experience I am about to have. Read what the editor has to say. Then deep dive into every article and every tit-bit it has to offer. Only when I am sure I have read everything on a page I move on to the next. After few hours I would finish it and keep it neatly stacked with the old editions. Along with packet, it came in. A month long wait for the next.
The toy car had golden windshields. And the body was painted with a plethora of colours which shone in various hues when seen from different angles. It moved in a random fashion. But when it was obstructed, it did the most amazing thing ever. A small protrusion lifted the car from below, like a jack. The car pivoted around it. It then landed on its tires and resumed it’s meandering. I was 5 maybe. All my life’s happiness and peace rested on me having it. I cried and made a scene. My father bought it finally. He spent 200 rupees. That’s why it is still sitting in the showcase of our house. With a golden toy robot beside it whose story I don’t remember.
My first ever cycle was red in colour. I do not remember buying it. But my brother remembers me crying as usual and my Dad in deep thought. To buy and not to buy? It was in Mumbai. We carried it back home to Mangalore. What I do remember is the fear and anxiety of the bus staff misplacing it on the way back. The whole time we were waiting for the bus, I would go every two minutes to check on my cycle. I see it standing beside all the other goods which had to be put on the bus. I get satisfied. After few minutes I would repeat the process.
I discovered Table Tennis in school. We spent hours playing it. I did not have a bat. But I wanted to practice at home. So I ripped off the hard cardboard covers from old notebooks. Cut them in shape of the bat. Glued them together. My bat was ready. I spent hours just hitting the ball against the wall. I would sleep by its side. In the night if I wake up, I would stand on my bed and imagine myself playing. I jump with jubilation, pump my fists and kiss my bat when I win a point. Me standing on the bed holding my handmade bat in a dark room except for the faint moonlight seeping through the window- I was happy.
I wonder when did I stop caring about things. I know a little extra effort making the lesson plan would be great for my class. When did I start being so comfortable with mediocrity? I know I have to call an old friend and catch up. Has the fear of being hurt drawn me away from people and things? The long-awaited home visit feels just okay. The ice cream place which I loved as a kid is not so good anymore. A general disinterest looms over every aspect of adult life.