Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Impressionable Young Minds


This incident has remained vivid in my memory. I was having lunch with my Yemeni host and his children at his palatial house in Sana’a. The eldest son was around 9 year old followed by his siblings of age 6 and 3. With siesta time in hand, it was an opportunity to play some truants and games. Kids could not speak English but it did not hinder our kiddish fun. I asked 6 years old cuddly”what would you like to be when you grow up? “Prompt comes the answer “I want to become pilot! “ Nothing surprising, considering most kids at his age like to be a pilot. I asked him benignly “why do you want to become pilot?“ “I want to become pilot so that I can bomb Israel; they kill all Arab children so I must also kill them.” His answer numbed me.

I was wondering if this is the impression on Yemeni child who is so far away from Palestine. What must be the situation with Palestine kids? Who could have been responsible for his impression, was it the media, school, parents, just innocuous picture, or casual remark by adults ? It was certain that someone, somewhere have left lasting impression on this child without knowing it. I hope this incident remains an aberration. Most of us have wonderful, cute impressions of childhood. We chuckle and laugh when we remember our innocence in being naïve of believing something so weird and bizarre.

http://www.iusedtobelieve.com/ is a website dedicated to such crazy child impressions and beliefs. This site takes us to the wonderful journey of our childhood saga. It is neat compilation of crazy ideas that we thought were true when we were children. Rummaging through this site brings us nostalgic aura of our beautiful, innocent days of child – equally vulnerable to fairy tale fascination and scary horrification. You can also add your own childhood impressions to the site and make this treasure grow. As you read the impressions of others, your very own early impressions that were forgotten start emerging .You quickly realize that you are not the only one who was crazy. It may be tempting to introduce this site to your kids. However, do not do this. Some of the impressions and believes are of very adult nature and may mislead children.

Child Psychologists say that all of us in our formative years learn by imitation and then by memory. Memory leads permanent impressions, so whatever we encounter in our lives, leads to ‘impressions forever’. I do hope and pray that charming innocent Yemeni kid shall have many more pleasant memories to have the feeling of hatred never to surface again.

Some of my crazy childhood beliefs were:

· That most professors have to manage one shop or another (In India, every board on the shop had word “pro” written (proprietor)
· One has no choice but to die after getting third heart attack. First and second are your warning reminders.
· What we see on movie screen is actually done behind the screen. I wondered how BEST BUS could come there!!!
· Judges in the court have to go special hair cutting saloon to make his hair wavy and curly.
· Every time you tune your radio, operator at the other gets what you want and make changes. I wondered how he could do it so fast; I kept on increasing and decreasing audible levels only to get whacked by mom.
· I was also intrigued why water level in toilet never goes up when it is flushed. I kept on flushing at breakneck speed hoping that it will overflow. Imagine how much water I must have wasted.

Have fun browsing http://www.iusedtobelieve.com/

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