Suresh Menon

Friday - - Contents -

Lack of mis­ery dur­ing child­hood makes our colum­nist a mis­er­able adult.

What do you re­gret most? I was asked this re­cently by one of those news­pa­per jour­nal­ists whose day is in­com­plete if she does not ask at least half a dozen ir­rel­e­vant ques­tions to half a dozen ir­rel­e­vant peo­ple.

Re­sist­ing the temp­ta­tion to say, “Agree­ing to an­swer your ques­tions,” I said in­stead, “The fact that I had a happy child­hood, re­ceived love and care, went to good ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and was al­lowed to read all the books I wanted.”

It meant I had no great bone to pick with the world when I grew up since I had not been a loner and there­fore had no un­con­trol­lable de­sire to in­vent com­put­ers and soft­ware in the man­ner of some of our heroic in­ven­tors.

Un­like Ash­ton Kutcher’s char­ac­ter in Jobs, for ex­am­ple, I had no de­sire to in­vent the iPod or make bil­lions or scream at Bill Gates over the phone. It meant that I could not delve deep into my child­hood trau­mas and trans­late per­sonal hurt into great lit­er­a­ture like Dos­to­evsky or oth­ers with more un­pro­nounce­able names.

Nor was there a com­pelling rea­son to be vi­o­lent or venge­ful against my fel­low hu­mans as I had no de­sire to earn no­to­ri­ety, if not ac­tual fame. For I am one of those who is re­luc­tant to even swat at a fly, which even as I write this is try­ing its darn­d­est to at­tract my at­ten­tion. If it gets too ir­ri­tat­ing, I shall merely go back in­side and work from the com­fort of my study. Leave and let live, as I of­ten say.

It meant too (the happy child­hood, I mean, in case you too got dis­tracted by the fly) that I had no re­al­is­tic ca­reer as an artist fit to ri­val Van Gogh – there was no way I could pour out my frus­tra­tions on to can­vases that would make me a millionaire af­ter my death. Or to try to change the world as a rock star who com­plains so much about his poverty in the early days that he be­comes quite rich in mid­dle age and does not know what to do with all that money.

Mere doo­dlers and bad bath­room singers do not buy pri­vate is­lands – and I blame my happy and healthy child­hood for my lack of in­ter­est in the Elvis Pres­ley-Damien Hirst school.

Out of suf­fer­ing comes great art – or so those who have made it on that road like to claim. I did toy with giv­ing my son a rough time when he was grow­ing up so I wouldn’t make the same mis­take my par­ents did. But you know how it is – I lacked the un­happy child­hood that might pro­vide an un­happy child­hood for my son.

Suresh Menon is a writer based in In­dia. In his youth he set out to change the world but later de­cided to leave it as it is.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.