As children, we never spent time
On net browsing day and night.
We only had fisherman’s net
And we caught fish
While our mothers washed clothes
In the large widening rivers.
Our weekends always dawned
With dazling sunshine
With no bulldozers, earth movers
And steam rollers.
We gamboled in the pastures,
Thrilled by kites
Swooping down suddenly.
We ran, laughed, clapped hands, danced
Rolled on the grass green
And relaxed braiding each other’s hair.
We shared the same delights
And the same terrors.
We held marriages of our dolls,
And their babies were not born
By in vitro fertilization.
We just put a smaller doll
Under the frilled frock of the bigger doll.
Our family expanded.
We had the experience and the expertise
To look for food.
We knew the road map to the woods.
Uniting ourselves behind a historic mission,
We headed forwards,
So independent, so inter-related,
Under the guarded looks of the elder ones.
We plucked guavas, mangoes, berries
Of all kinds and tastes,
Always exploring, always finding.
It was a roller coaster ride
And the adrenaline kick was unbelievable.
Our doors were never locked
Nor did our yards have walls.
We never wore halter tops
Flip flops and jeans.
Barefoot, we walked on roads
Brown with crushes red banyan fruits
And our clothes were either
Too big or too small
Always out of fashion.
We were respectful towards parents,
Teachers and elders,
Compassionate towards animals,
Kind to the poor and differently able,
The sick and the babies.
Like nature we always had something
To give to the hungry and the thirsty.
Sometimes, when I look
At the colony of ants nibbling the bread
Or the white swans paddling in the lake,
I think of those children
Deprived of mother and father
Like old clothing left to
Disintegrate quietly in an attic
Leading a life of missed opportunities.