He gently pushes the door. It creaks. A world of darkness lay inside the room until he pushes the door open. The light from hall barges in, creating a smaller rectangle over the opposite wall. He slowly enters. Small and careful steps. His eyes look for his mother. A suppressed voice makes him look to his side. There she is – sitting in the darkest corner, sobbing. Her wits closed on herself.
You cannot keep yourself hidden for long, Mother. I am your son remember? I can always find you.
He slowly moves towards her. The sobbing stops. His seven-years-old hands wipe those tears away. She pulls him close and hugs him. “Once I grow up, Mummy, I will make sure nobody makes you cry!” He says in a muffled voice.
She let him loose until they both face each other. “You sure you want to grow up?” She sniffles.
He wants to grow up or he doesn’t. It is not important. He has to. This is important. Grown-ups are independent, powerful, resourceful, and confident. Everybody listens to them. Their thoughts count. Their behavior matters. They can do whatever they want. Go wherever they want. They have freedom. They can solve all problems and that is why he has to grow up. What more reason do you need?
Few years pass. He is fifteen now. He is frustrated. The kids in his school are mean. They laugh at him, bully him, even teachers help them. It is not his mistake if non-metals are bad conductors of heat and electricity. How the hell is he supposed to know that why oxygen forms a double bond? Forget about Tipu Sultan and his quarrel with British forces. His mind, His battle. Maybe he was as hotheaded as you are, teacher. Mean and hotheaded and crazy. That is you, teacher. I never got a chance to know Tipu sultan personally.
And the desire strikes again. Schools suck. The people here are despicable. Selfish and self-centered. Least someone could do for him is to let him go as far as possible from his schoolteachers. Adults don’t have a teacher. Don’t need them. They are wise. They don’t need people telling them what to do and what not to. Someone please build a time machine and help him skip all the torture he is about to go through in his years of growing up.
Few more years pass. Engineering college. It is another Kashmir. If there is another heaven in this world, it is right here. But happiness doesn’t last long. That is the virtue of happiness. Another thing with happiness is, when it ends, the hollowness arrives. You don’t need someone to make you sad then. You are sadness. A lot, like when you have tasted honey, something less sweater is just plain insipid and tasteless.
He is twenty-four now. The wisdom, if it has arrived, it is too soon. Maybe he is not ready to make a statement, maybe it is still an intermediate inference. But being an adult, it sucks. Every passing moment feels a commodity being wasted. There is excitement in future of something new, a new movie, a new career, a new chapter of life. However, everything comes with a price. Time. Another year, he will be twenty-five, and with every passing year, his youth is going to drain itself. The downward spiral begins now.
He wants to be a kid again. His worries weren’t his. His responsibilities weren’t his to bear. Everybody listened to him. His desires counted. His behavior didn’t matter. He could do whatever he wanted and nobody would judge him. What more reasons do you need to stay a child?