Different Childhoods

Different Childhoods

“Be careful! Where are you going?”
Well-dressed, sheltered kids curbed their naughtiness as they heeded the warnings let out by the elders. The polythene, trash strewn water could be deep. They wanted to have fun but not at the cost of their clothes or the anxious commands of their elders. As they climbed up and down the steps cheerfully and carefully under the watchful eyes of their parents, two other kids jumped down from the platform in the middle of the pond.

The new entrants playfully jumped through the shallow, dirty water towards the side of the pond. The sheltered kids watched spellbound with wonder and amazement at these kids gamboling through these dirty waters. Do not know what was going through their minds as they looked at the kids who freely frolicked in the waters. Different childhoods – sheltered versus unshackled!

As parents or elders, do we sometimes shelter our kids too much? Should we let them enjoy the simple things in life? Do we curb their natural, curious instinct, exploratory spirit in the process of sheltering them? I remember we used to sometimes float paper boats in the roadside puddles. Do not see that happening very often now a days. Are the kids today more mature, more worldly-wise albeit minus the playful, exploratory spirit?

Paris: Bastille Day Fireworks

July 14, 2009: a friend and I walked towards Eiffel tower to view and photograph the Bastille Day fireworks. Tripods and camera gear on the shoulders, we tried to get in the vicinity of Eiffel tower for photography but to no avail. People sat on the bridges, the gardens, along the river everywhere, with friends, picnic baskets spread next to them sharing laughter and smiles. All routes were packed with Parisians and tourists blocked in their quest to get nearer to Tour Eiffel by Gendarmes.

Having tried three different approaches to the tower, feet starting to hurt and the time for fireworks drawing near, we decided to go towards Passy bridge for the next vantage point. Once there, we found there was hardly any place to even think of setting my tripod without obstructing somebody else’s view.   For that matter, there were people six to eight lines deep and I did not want to shoot without my tripod.   My friend and I parted ways here – he stayed on the bridge not wanting to miss the fireworks and I moved further down the Seine with Passy bridge in the foreground as one looked towards the Eiffel tower.

I was able to set up my tripod farther along the river.   I tried calling him but could not get through.  Even though it was not the best vantage point but I had no choice.  We should have come much earlier to scout a better location.

After the fireworks were over, a hazy smoke loitered in the air around Eiffel tower providing an orange glow as if the structure was on fire.

Larger versions in the form of a slideshow of these pics and some more may be seen in my archive.

On the occasion of Bastille day, I remembered the time and thought of putting these pics for my friends.
To my friends in France, wish you a happy Bastille day!

Photography and Musings by Nitish Naharas