The Lost Childhood

Childhood has always had a special place in our hearts. It is the time when there are no bindings on us on how to do what. It is the time when we just let ourselves be the way want to be. Nothing to bother about, except going to school, coming back, studying a little bit, playing games etc; on holidays, the freedom to step out wherever we wish to.

Childhood is so not like the times that we face when we are out of schools, suddenly surrounded by responsibilities that have to be met in a positive manner. Once we step out of the boundary that exists between school–life and college-life, we come to face the realities that are far from what we imagined in our earlier days. The competition to get into the best college of the lot, the zeal to survive the years of graduation, the confusion over whether to complete post graduation or settle for a professional course, one out of all this mess, the main responsibility to get into that “dream” job pops up.

How often we feel like stepping back to the good old days and not bothering about anything happening around the world. However, more often than not things do not go as planned. As we climb the stairs of age, we realize we have to match up to the competition that determines our existence. Once in school, the competition to be at the top; once out of school, the competition to enter into the best college in a course of our choice; once out of college, the competition to cross the hurdle known as “entrance exam” to enter into a Post –graduate course; once in the PG, the competition to prove your mettle; and once out of PG, the competition to survive the job market.

Yet there are children, who have a childhood, but an unrecognisable one. These are the children, whom we find, to name a few, on the streets as beggars and dancers, in hotels and dhabas working as child labours, in rich households as servants. Have we ever thought about what they feel about their childhood? Have we ever thought about giving them the best just like we ourselves have got in our childhood?

Even these unknown children have a childhood which is often unseen and unheard by those who ought to see and hear these. Strangely, how in this black and white picture by a friend of mine, the colorful flowers that the girl has on her dress and face are visible; maybe they are an expression which we are supposed to read; that even she deserves these small colors in her life wherever she be. Like us, she has a right to lead a colorful life fearless and strong. She has the right to be a part of the society, of which we are a part. She has the right to lead from the front, irrespective of the class, caste etc she comes from. The circumstances that have forced her to the life where her childhood remains unrecognizable need to be recognized and dealt with.

It is not just the responsibility of some NGO to take up the work. It is the awareness that is needed to be brought to everyone. For how long can she or people like her remain the black and white scenario? The seeds of a colorful life have to be sown in to reap a beautiful life full of vibrant colours.

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