Malgudi, a small colony away from the city, the colony where i grew up. Well the name of the colony is not quite Malgudi, but we friends often refer to it as Malgudi as we found lot of similarities between the Malgudi on TV and ours.
In the heart of the colony was a small ground. It had some wild bushes , some weeds and other kinds of shrubs. All of us kids got together and removed the weeds and dug up a pitch in the middle of the ground. We had a little roller that we borrowed from an other ground and leveled the whole pitch. Then we cleaned up the outfield and voila we had the “cricket ground” ready. The ground would later serve as a meeting place, as a hang out place and also depending on what game was popular in that season, the ground was converted to play that game.
So if the football world cup was on , then we play soccer, if India played hockey then we used to play hockey and then if no other game was on, we played the default game “Cricket”, so our cricket ground was more than just a ground. Football especially fun during the rainy season. Half the team would be shirtless to distinguish from the other half. We would play until it gets completely dark and by that time we will all be drenched in rain. Once we stop the game, however, we would fear to go home as we would all be afraid of what the parents would say. There were lot of memories in and around the cricket ground, which was at the heart of Malgudi.
During my recent trip to India , when i was in Malgudi, i saw the cricket ground. It was filled with weeds, thorny bushes and even worse it was being treated as a garbage dump. It was a rather painful sight. Apparently after we left, there were no other kids playing in that ground , it was sort of abandoned. Things have changed, changed for worse.
Apparently the kids these days have a lot to study, a lot to mug up and a lot to prepare for future. They were being sent to special schools, tuition’s after the schools, coaching classes , and WHATEVER. There is so much of importance given to academic success, that the childhood is taken away from the child and they become mere tools to pursue their parents dreams. Sorry , didn’t mean to be so blunt , but that’s what it appears to me. The parents have become so obsessed with ranks, doctors, engineers , that they lost the sense of being human first. Why can’t the children be just children having fun, what’s the rush for a 6th class student to go for IIT coaching ? what’s the big deal if he or she doesn’t go for IIT coaching or not become an engineer or a doctor.
The kids will grow up no matter what, but what about the parents, when will they grow up.
The education minister with the introduction of “RTE” thinks he has given a tremendous boost to the education in the country. What he doesn’t want to address is the fundamental problem with the mass hysteria around the academic results , children are being exploited in the name of education.
Let them play in the cricket ground, let them have the joy of playing the rain , let them have their childhood memories, please .