There was a time when I used to go to the ground and play from dawn till dusk. I would play cricket, football, hide-and-seek, mint/mid (local game) Gharm Ball, on the ground. Every so often I would fight with my friends over small misunderstandings and I used to say “Mea seath chay Katee”. As a result, this “katee” became a wall that stopped us from talking, even touching each other. At that time, these small fights would last for less than an hour or for days. After that, another friend of ours would say, “Katee thavin che gunah, keriw naalmout” (It is a sin to stop communicating with each other), and it was pretty clear to us that the one who earns sins will be burnt in the hellfire. This fear of hellfire and the convincing words of our friend would compel us to hug and say “Aizke peth gov salah” (from now we will be friends again).
Sporadically, we used to steal apples from orchards and if the owner or caretaker of that orchard noticed, we would panic and run, some of the friends leaving even their shoes in the orchard and some getting their clothes torn due to running over bushes and thorns. There are so many memories of my childhood that I want to experience again, but it’s not possible! In those times we were close to each other, but now we may be close but our hearts are far, far from each other.
Greed has ruined our bonds, our relations. We don’t even bother to talk to each other frankly anymore. Indeed, we have had fights with our friends during our childhood but those fights meant nothing; now that we have grown up, we may not fight but deep inside we harbour jealousy and enmity. I remember the joy when my father would give me 5 rupees, which were beyond enough for me; I would jump and rejoice! Sometimes my father would give me 10 rupees! That day was equal to the day of Eid, the day if celebration. Nowadays even one thousand rupees is not enough. Though we purchase expensive stuff, most of us are still unsatisfied. During our early years having torn clothes or pairs of shoes that did not even match was common and we hardly cared about it. Those years were golden and satisfying.
I can still smell the memories of my childhood. Strangers who became friends earlier are now unknown, some have gone into depression, and some are super busy earning money. Some have become haughty and some are living with pride; only few of them bother to talk and spend time with each other. Sometimes I think and sometimes I hardly get to talk about all of the memories we have created with my friend. We laugh out loud, we regret then again we laugh but deep inside we cry because we can never ever live in those moments again. All we can do is talk about them and then we change the topic.
Nowadays I can hardly hear words like “Katee” etc. This might seem funny to you but I really mean it and miss it. All I hear nowadays are unpleasant words, all I can see nowadays is evil. Along with our childhood we have lost the cleanliness, the purity of the soul, love, affection and most importantly, friendship. All of this hurts me a lot but what can we do? We have to focus on our future and career now. That’s all we are caring for at the moment. We Kashmiri people often tell our kids that after matriculation exams you will have a lot of enjoyment, and that’s what I was told; unfortunately, I was too excited to become older to have that enjoyment, and now I realise that I was betrayed and I lost the real enjoyment in the misunderstanding.
Social media claims that if you register on any of the social media platforms, then it will help you get connected with friends. But this has actually deteriorated our friendship. We have now 5k friends on social media but they are not actually friends; we hardly know some of them. Alas! We have lost our golden days! We have lost friendship! Not only that, we have lost love! Furthermore, we have lost ourselves in the darkness of the so-called advancement. Instead of love, our hearts are filled with hate and jealousy. Instead of talking in real life, we hardly have conversations with each other. Technology and enmity is ruining our present, so I request you people not to do something for which you will regret sooner or later, because at the end of the day you will end up saying: Where Did Those Days Go?
Alhamdulillah, I have enjoyed my childhood, and I’m enjoying the discussion about it these days. Inshaa Allah I will enjoy my future, too. I would love to thank all those people who used to stay with me during my childhood. Thank you for making my childhood awesome. Thank you from the core of my heart. Come, let’s live, spend time together rather than spending time on social media!
The writer is a native of Ganderbal district. [email protected]