Sometimes, we are so preoccupied with petty things that we fail to notice the beauty around us. We are so stressed that we forget to stretch our facial muscles into a smile. We fail to notice the innocence that still exists despite all the repeated warnings about not talking to strangers. A smile is infectious, and a child’s smile goes straight to your heart. A child’s heart does not understand what it means to be born with a silver spoon in the mouth, or to be not born with it. He or she could not care less. They are children, and they need to enjoy the freedom they are entitled to. They are smarter than we perceive them to be, and somehow find a way to enjoy themselves. That little kid in the canteen who uses the dish-holder (or whatever it is called in the lexicon of utensils) as his skateboard is my Muse tonight. He was just so thrilled, enjoying the audience of a silent mess and an amused spectator that I could not help but flash a grin, and he waved back to me with a triumphant smile on his face. It was the end of the day, when children normally listen to fairytales narrated to them over and over again till they know them by heart. He might never have read a single story book, but there was something so carefree about his demeanour. Watching him enjoy his mastery over the temporary skateboard, I realised that happiness really is a state of mind. Money cannot buy the best things in life. They come unfettered towards you. It is upto you to embrace them and flow with that sense of freedom.

I have often wondered as to why innocence is a characteristic fundamental to the existence of a child. It is because, well, they are naive. They can be taken too easily for a ride. My Muse certainly enjoyed his. Ever seen a kid go crazy in a shop that appeals to his eyes? I like to call it ‘innocent avarice’. They are never satisfied, they are always pursuing something or the other. They are inquisitive to a fault, and sometimes, it is so refreshing to see the world through a child’s eyes, because the view is not tainted or blemished. It is as close as we could get to the truth. Or maybe the truth is something else. Two sides of the same coin. It is again a matter of perspective. Reminds me of the oft-repeated adage- beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Yes, children are God’s gift to mankind. They are beautiful creatures. Life tranforms us into adults to make us realise the importance of childhood. In ways more than one, children teach us uncountable things. Let them loose, and let them lose themselves into their imagination, so that they end up weaving some great, happy-ending fairytales. And to think we call ourselves escapists when we do the same. Irony, eh? Not fair. This is where lies the difference. They do not judge. Maybe that’s why they say that ‘a child is the father of a man’.

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