Musings: A Fling on the Swing
Can anything come close to our childhood experiences of carefree days spent in play and sunshine? Reliving those precious interludes may hold the key to letting go of adult stress and boredom, says SUSHEELA SRINIVAS.
When was the last time you connected with the child in you? I did two weeks ago, and the after effects are still lingering. How did I achieve the feat? By playing, of course! Structured games are one thing and free spirited play another.
Let me lead you through the events. The park where I take my evening walks has a small playpen. Often I eye the area ruefully, forgetting to walk and spending more time watching the tiny tots have a whale of a time. I have not an ounce of hesitation in admitting that I long to join their fun: how I wish I could just slide down along with them, or sit on the other end of the see-saw. If only I could take a wild Tarzan swing…
My desires are nipped in the bud by the big notice staring at me: “Only for children below 12 years.” I am well past that age.
But it is also said that if your desire is strong enough, true and heartfelt, the universe comes forth to fulfill your wish (well depicted in the movie Om Shanti Om). A rebirth would be welcome to realize my longing, I thought! Little did I know that the stars were colluding!
On a short weekend trip, after checking into a resort at a nearby hill station, we made no plans and had no agenda. “Just go along” was the decision, spontaneity being the revival mantra to crack the shell of a fast paced, mechanized lifestyle.
That lazy afternoon, I saunter into the activity area of the resort––a nice green space to play outdoor games with a nook for indoor games as well. But my attention is arrested by the children’s play area. It is a substantial one with swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, see-saw, jungle-gym, and a lone spring horse!
Something stirs within me. A strong desire to crawl through the makeshift tunnels and slide down overcomes me! The equipment looks sturdy to bear weights beyond mine. Scanning around, I see no display boards or notices with age restrictions. I am not responsible if my feet find their path. By now I am determined to not let the opportunity pass me. “Come what may, I want to play!” declared the obstinate child from within.
It is swing time! I gingerly lodge myself, only to see a staff worker pass by. Oh no! Will I be reprimanded?
My plea is ready: “Just a short while, please. I am ready to pay for the damages, if any.”
But what is this? The man just smiles indulgently and goes about his business! It is an open field? Hurray! Much encouraged, I unleash the child within me.
In no time, like an unchecked horse, I go hither and thither. I swing, I climb; I crawl up tunnels and hang across bars; I slide down the fiber slide and land on my butt, only to dust off the sand and climb the steps all over again for another soft landing! The swing sways me back and forth, and I shriek in merriment. I give ample momentum with my foot to the merry-go-round and let go for a ‘wheee’ moment. The monkey bars bring out the little, smothered ape in me. I hesitate, for a fleeting moment, before lodging myself on the horse: A few gallops and I am grinning from ear to ear.
The soft thuds on the sand pit at the end of a slide, the rhythmic creaks of the swing, the dizzy spins of the merry-go-round, the jolts of my insides on the spring horse or the exhilaration of going up-down on the see saw, are all left to experience and fail to be confined to the best of descriptions. For a moment the world around me stands obscured.
The greenery, the sweet smell in the air—all add to the magic and excitement. My escapades draw magnetic strength from a suppressed, latent desire.
I play to my heart’s content, excited at my new found agility, much to the amusement of my family. By the end of it all, I was supercharged, light, gleeful, and happy, ready to face the world again.
That evening I recall the author Robin Sharma’s words from one of his books: “…as adults, we stop playing once we assume responsibilities of life. Adults are nothing more than deteriorated children. Find the time to be a little reckless and silly. Bring back spontaneity and wild abandon in life.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Uncle Google tells me that the city of Berlin has a play park for grown-ups. But my home is nowhere near Berlin, so for now I’m assigning that visit to my bucket list.
Susheela Srinivas, a freelance writer in Bengaluru, doesn’t pass up an opportunity to have fun.
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