While reading the poem Picnic at Rush, 1954 by Éamon Mag Uidhir published in this issue, I was transported back to even more bitter and shocking experience that I had a few years ago. I was standing in front of a stationery shop. Meanwhile, a small kid ran across the road, shrilling like a peculiar siren. He was being chased, as if he were a mouse, in a game by his sister and friends. His mother was busy in the shop, dusting the shelves and keeping the stationery in their proper order. And not to forget, she had a baby on her back, too. And she was madly yelling at her daughter for not helping her in the shop. I turned towards her and asked, unable to keep my qualm unexpressed, ‘How careless you people are who even let your kids play hide-and-seek by this heavily trafficked road side?’ Before she could answer my question, there occurred something really terrible. The boy was hit in the legs by a howling motorbike that came rushing. The rider was only a reckless teenager who was thrown off to the narrow footpath and got seriously injured.
In Asian way of life, particularly in Nepal and India, children are generally not given proper attention which they are in need of. In most social visits, parents get so engrossed in their gossips that they often forget to make sure where their kids are and what they are doing. I have seen kids fighting over food or toys in such situations, and have heard about accidents also. Equally questionable is the fact that most parents or grandparents create illusions of hauguji (phantom figure, for example, of ghosts or of witches) in young minds. Do we need to have a kid’s ken for us to know how our kids feel or what they want?
With that question for all of us to ponder upon, I welcome you all, the readers of Misty Mountain, to this small collection of sweet and sour memoirs in poetry. I also thank all the contributors.