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Sitting On The Yellow Wall: A Child’s Concept Of Death

Posted: August 3, 2012

This beautiful piece talks about the concept of death of a child. And the concept of God and friends. 

I must have been 6 or 7 years old, I kept a fish in a Horlicks bottle. It brought me, my cousins, Babu and Paplee incredible joy. All day long, I sat in the class thinking of the fish. After school, we three ran as fast as our little feet could carry. But our fish died. Maa said, we over fed it. Those were days; our veranda had a yellow half wall. I tried playing the statue game with cousin Babu. We fell from the wall as statues and whoever fell straight wins. But that evening I lost each time.

I started thinking, where do you go when you die? There must be a place surely our fish also went. It puzzled me. The only person who went far was Dad. But every evening before 6 pm, Dad returned home. Those days, everyone in my little world came home.

Many a times, I used to sit on our half yellow wall watching those few limited neighbors going in and out of our street. I knew the time and the pace of everyone’s life. It was like seeing the first person move and then count my little fingers and then the next passed.

My Granddaddy was not an educated man, but he was immensely wise. In afternoons he would tell all his grandchildren stories from the Mahabharata. He told us how, Karna , Abhimanyu, Doryodhana and others died. He would enact those parts. I noticed one thing for sure that all these men died in pride. I decided that when I grow up I should be a soldier. And I will too be a proud girl, when I die. I tried to convince my cousin too. But at six he was more interested to drive a bus when he grows up.

But as wise men say, “like seasons life changes too.” Not for too long, I could count people in my little fingers and heartbeats. Life waited like a beloved to unfurl lifelong lessons. May be I was not prepared. But life does not ask you before taking you to life classes. Attendance is a must there. Death came for Granddaddy and then for Dad. My little palms did not grow, my wisdom did.

I learnt that some people have no choice but to leave you and some people choose to leave you. In both situations, you have to abide by their choices.

When really young, I could not think of other places and lives people lived. It was impossible to think that people lived and thought beyond our street. On Sundays when relatives from different towns visited us, I made a story that when I cannot see and touch people, they became magic.

Now, I stay in a city earning and living by myself. I am heading towards my thirties and have seen life in its own hues. I still believe that everyone who has left the streets of my life has become magic. I was talking to Maa, sometimes back. She said that when she was expecting me, Granddaddy would sit and keep telling her stories from all ancient texts. Maa said he always left words of wisdom. She smilingly added, “No doubt you are the philosopher of the family. You have heard it all from the womb.” I affirmed, “Yes that’s true. The story teller in me, who tries to cling to ashes of wisdom, is the magic of Granddaddy.”

I think everyone who has ever left my life has become magic. They become good magic when I do something good, but when I think of someone and rebuke, they become black magic. So, this is how I differentiate life.

I had a Christian schooling for 12 years. The concept of going to God is still very poignant to me. I think when my time shall come and I find God, I shall hang around the gardens till Sunday. Sister Superior in school taught us that Sundays God takes rest and our school too remains closed. So, on Sundays when God takes rest, I shall take a walk with God and tell him stories I have lived and known. I think God will be a happy man. He is the kind of God, who smiles a lot and loves a lot. Slowly but certainly I shall meet all my friends up there. We shall again go for long walks with sunshine on our backs and God smiling by our side. One day God will again tell us, it’s time to go back to earth and complete a mission. All of us will be given different faces and parents and will be handed the plans how and where we shall meet again and know in our hearts we loved and met before. I only hope, God makes me meet my best friends very young.

This was and still remains my concept of death, an unending circle between life, destinies, relationships and roles we play. Yes, it’s all magic; foreplay of shadows and light, of God and desires. But we come again, meet again and rejoice again.

Cover image via Shutterstock

Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.

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  1. Pretty. Good to know about your internship.! 🙂

  2. You have way with words. It seems all true 🙂

  3. Paromita Bardoloi -

    Thank you Rinzu and Amber.

    Much love,

  4. magic you create with your words dear…:-)

  5. I think you should read “message from the Masters’ by Brian Weiss.
    Like you I too cannot imagine God to be a punishing, harsh and uncompromising person. He, according to me is kind, gentle and tolerant.

  6. Paromita Bardoloi -

    @Dinesh- Thank you.

    @Hip Grandma – I am glad we share the same thoughts. And, yes I read that book.

  7. You have truly graduated into writing young lady. Your writing gets better with the passage of time. That is what mellowing does to everybody.

  8. Paromita Bardoloi -

    @ Dhar Uncle- I am elated, when its coming from you.

  9. Bansilal kuchroo -

    yes it is a great to imagine the unknown we try to find out and weave a magic in our thoughts as a village boy it was lot of awe of unknown places more of Bombay a city of dreams. we try and find to know the known and unknown may may be some I can find out the road map more than me as I am still try to auger out who is me it is still not clear may be the ultimate journey may tell the magic of life .
    It is nice to read your thoughts

  10. I loved ur writting & thoughts ..but somehow article is mismatch with Heading

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