Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Children's Own Park

This is a work of pure fiction and the photos are taken from here

As part of a young father's mandatory routine, I usually take Rivu to a park every day. If not, I bring him back together with my wife, while returning from work. The park is just few minutes walk from home. It is quite large with waist-high fencing around. The park allows me and my wife to sit together with a whatever-rivu-does attitude that we dearly miss in the rest of the world. I see more or less the same feeling in the rest of visiting parents. You can call it young parents' park as well. We call it Children's Own Park, though. At least for the sheer joy of young kids, who understand that to be their area.

The park consists of the usual weather-proof kiddy gadgets like, a slip, few swings, few spring-fitted wooden horses, a see-saw, few trees and a large area filled with sands.

Rivu brings in his tricycle, a ball, few plastic cases to make elementary sand sculptures. Everyone brings in their favourite toys and they play with great enthusiasm.

Last Sunday was little different.

Rivu was playing and we were gazing. Suddenly Yasin entered with his father. Yasin rode a shiny red bike, a new thing for him. He was visibly proud to have it. He also carried a small-size basketball within his armpit. He was immediately noticed by few kids, including Rivu. He ran to have a closer look at the bike. He is a fan of anything that rolls.

"aychy gigg naa" - that's what he said to Yasin. Yelling. I did not understand a bit. Neither my wife, who nowadays is better deciphering our son.
Yasin did not reply. Just moved forward with pride, parked the bike along the fence and rushed to the sand with his ball. Rivu took a look at the bi-cycle and started handling it. It was little big for him, of course. He somehow pulled it from the fence but, in that process dumped the bike on the ground. Yasin's father came running and put the bike on the fence, patted gently on Rivu's back, perhaps urging him to mind his own business. Rivu was indifferent and re-tried to pull the bike. This time Yasin came and took the bike, little forcefully, from Rivu. That was expected. We thought of moving our lazy selves to guide Rivu about his rightful ownership. That turned out to be unnecessary as Rivu ran away from the bike. Only to grab the small basketball of Yasin.
Yasin was initially perplexed. But, he quickly went to rescue his possession. He grabbed the basketball, came back to the bike and stood there with his properties. Unwilling to dispossess with a single one and at the same time, not playing either.

Things were fine till this point. Yasin's father, however, came to us and we exchanged thus.

"why you stop not your kid?" - being in an European country, we are used to such abusive grammars anyway.
"he is kid, he does not understand" - I replied.
"so what, my kid is also kid"
"that's good, let them play"
"no, they play with their things"
"let them play together"
"only one bike, how can play"
"park the bike outside the park and play with the ball"
"you said outside park?" - getting little angry.
"yes, the bike outside the park, I meant not you outside."

My wife already went admonishing Rivu and possibly explaining what ownership means. The innocence of socialism being ruthlessly crushed by the practicality of capitalism, perhaps via the dictatorial parenthood.

At this time, mother of Michael joined the fray.

"let them play, they will learn it with time" - aha, a peacemaker I found.
"yes, but why the bike outside ?" - Yasin's father was not agreeable.
"ok, see you tomorrow." I abruptly ended the argument.

It was little bit tough time at home with us, the parents, thinking over myriad techniques on how the kid can learn to not touch things of others. We decided finally to take the appeasement route.

We bought a bicycle for him the next day. It was not too big, fitted with small side wheels. Rivu was growing out of the old tri-cycle anyway. Rivu was happy. We were happy, too. But, I knew not certainly if that ends the park issues. We decided not to go to another park. That would be escapist attitude, my wife declared firmly. I escaped arguing with her and agreed. We were a bit upset on the behavior demonstrated by Yasin's father but, both accepted the world being as it is.

I murmured about co-ownership, free society, joy of sharing and many more things along those lines. I murmured myself, hoping that those tiny thoughts will have their repercussions around the air and ward off the accumulated negative energy around the park.

Ok, that incident was last Sunday and we bought the bike on Monday. On that occasion, the park visit was skipped. Rivu did not mind. Now, the day rose to yesterday, Tuesday. I locked myself up in the lab to finish some assignments as fast I could. The bike thing disappeared completely from my perspective.

Only when returning from lab, I remembered the park. It comes on my way from lab to home. Well, I like to call the office a lab as I experiment there with thoughts.

I curiously overlooked the entire park to find Rivu sitting on the sand and making sculptures. His new shiny red (we got a red one, too) bike slanted across the fence. Yasin not in the visibility, neither his father.

Michael, Rebecca, Adil were there. Rivu's on and off friends. Michael's father was there today. Michael's mother waved hand at me, when I was trespassing the fence to enter the park. My wife was sitting with her back towards me. I dropped a dry leaf on her. She did not look back. Ohh, well, I am little late today. The mood needs diversion. I jumped to the topic directly.

"Was Yasin there today?"
She nodded her head.
"Did Rivu rode the bike to the park?"
"How can he ? Somehow managed to carry both him and the bike." She expressed her frustration.
"All peace then ?"
She nodded her head again and looked towards me.
"Rebecca dragged Rivu's bike to the ground. Few scratches are already made."

I was kind of expecting that. The bike looks too beautiful. And we decided already that we will allow all the kids in the park to share Rivu's possessions.

"Did you rebuke Rebecca ?" I asked though.
"No" I was relieved. But, she continued.
"Rivu beat Rebecca". That was sad. Rivu never beat anyone before yesterday.
"Did you apologize to Rebecca's parents ?" I asked.
"Yes. They inquired about the shop, where we bought the bike."

Things ended like that yesterday. Today I decided to make up for yesterday's delay and showed up directly at home. Rivu was ecstatic. My wife urged me to go ahead. She will come few minutes later.

I understood why my wife was frustrated to take both Rivu and the bike. Rivu wanted to ride the bike directly into the car-lanes even if he is giving the balance-wheels a tough time to maintain the center-of-gravity intact. I separated the bike and Rivu and carried them with great difficulty to the park.

What I saw was hardly believable. The park fence is full of no less than 3 shiny red bikes. Yasin was there with his close friend, Tim.

While entering the park, Yasin's father greeted me at the gate. I was little surprised when he told -
"got bike from Kid's House ?"
"hmm" - i was not interested in his company.
"nice bike, we get those from Ireland"
I was perplexed.
"how do you know?"
"my brother exports those here" - declared Yasin's father proudly.

Well, hmm, the kids played happily ever after.

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