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My Little Wonders - I

I grew up rolling and strolling with a handful of little wonders. The biggest of them were the fireflies, the winged beetles that used to light up the dark lanes of the city suburb where I grew up. It was more of a village far away from the city's electricity distribution network and reach of city lights. I have fresh memories of rolling and playing on the grass covered streets watching random flights of fireflies on moonlight nights. Excitement would touch heights when you wake up in the middle of the night to find one or two of them inside the house, killing the darkness with their random luminescence. For some time transparent polythene bags stuffed with caught fireflies used to be our torch lights. But we decided to give up the enjoyment of stuffing them in polythene bags after somehow we realized that we were making them to suffer a lot. It was probably after an elderly man sprinkled wired the thought in our minds, "Just imagine how your mother will feel if someone stuffs you in a polythene packet like that!"

Many years later in high school I came to know secretes of these seemingly innocent, flying glow lights. Sitting in science class one day I learnt that 'the glowing wonder' was in fact a 'conspicuous crepuscular use of bioluminescence to attract mates or prey'. However this knowledge no way diminished the sense of wonder about fireflies I have been nourishing from my childhood.

On my hometown visits I try to find any traces of those 'darkness softened by moonlight and random firefly glows'. After three decades the city now has expanded its tentacles gobbling the suburb that I grew up in. Those dark grass covered lanes have become parts of the busy city lanes. The growing concrete jungle has killed all the bushes that used to house my little wonders. The halogen bulbs that flood the streets now a day has gone the last mile to disarm them from their means of existence, 'the conspicuous crepuscular use of bioluminescence to attract mates or prey'. My imagination comes back with only two options, either they have been crushed under the iron wheels of the construction machineries or they have opted to vacate their homes looking for places that still houses that soft darkness of moonlight nights far away from the my city lights…I can feel the emptiness grow bigger and bigger with the thought of the lost wonders.

The list of wonders is not a very long one, but its growing, and the last addition to it is my little child. More than half a year back she crept into our lives and flooded us with excitement. I am sequencing my thoughts and words to depict this wonder that has killed all possible reasons for silence and emptiness…


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