Look at the picture above, what do you see?
The photo was taken from the book “The Little Prince”. The picture is supposed to be of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. When I first saw it from the book, it didn’t register in my mind as a boa, not even as a hat, as some grown-ups would perceive. For me it was just a lump of an indistinguishable object that did not matter at all. It’s the kind that I wouldn’t have to look again and be curious about. I was already a grown-up when I read “The Little Prince” so maybe I had an excuse. Probably when I was a little younger – when I still didn’t think of career, money and the future – I could have guessed what it really was.
The book struck a chord. I could remember that when I was a kid, I used to draw, tend the garden, smell the roses, gaze at the stars, watch the trees as they move past, count sheep from the cloud formation, catch dragon flies, pick up shells from the beach, feel the rain, roll over the grasses and run around barefoot.
I used to see the world as the drawing above. In my mind as a kid, the sun rises from the mountains and illuminates the world with its rays. Clouds are cotton candies, which float over the world. Rice is planted over acres and acres of land. Flowers bloom everywhere. Mangoes are shaped like half-hearts and coconuts are circles of life. No complications – everything can be drawn by a series of lines and curves. Looking at the drawing now, I would say that the lines are not straight, circles are not perfect, asymmetrical, with no sense of perspective and the real objects do not appear as depicted. But when I was a kid, I thought that the picture was beautiful.
Then I was told by the adults to stop drawing because my notebooks were for the more important lessons. And I was told that I could not run around as a kid because I need to study for the exams. I needed to concentrate if I wanted a bright future. I did. Slowly I forgot how to be a kid – I stopped to wonder and be amazed at the little things around me because they are of little importance. Science, Math and English were far more important if I want to go far in my life.
Graduated from primary, secondary and university then landed a job. Moved from job to job to get a higher pay. Just like a drone guided by something else other than myself. Just like the passenger described in the book “Constantly rushing from one place to another aboard trains, never satisfied with where they were and not knowing what they were after.”
With Technology, everything is within reach. However, everything is out of reach as well. Life became easy, but because of this, we tend to take things for granted. How many could remember the real smell of roses from the garden? Not the kind you smell from a perfume bottle or flower shops. When was the last time you look up to see the Big Dipper? When was the last time you took notice of the soft rustling of the leaves or the waves crashing into the cliffs? When was the last time you enjoyed running around with no care about how ugly you look with your messy hair and sweaty face? When was the last time you sang to your heart’s content, not really knowing the exact lyrics? Most of us have become wheels – pushed forward, rolling constantly, worn out by friction – not seeing, not caring. Most of us are drawn by the trivialities in this world – latest about the Kardashians or Britney or Lindsay or Paris, marriage of the Prince, mansions of Hollywood actors, break ups/reconciliations of some celebrities, most expensive car, latest fashion – momentary distractions. Then we move on. We really do not care much at all – we, grown-ups.
We seldom see any sparkle in the eyes of the adults as we normally see in the eyes of the kids. Little kids light up when they see that their parents are home. They laugh at small things. They cry when they’re hurt. They forgive. They’re amazed at so many things. They ask a million questions about the world. They dream.
In the eyes of the kids, at least in my eyes when I was a kid, life is beautiful and the world is full of wonderful things, possibilities and magic.