I had a very privileged childhood. I grew up in a very open countryside. My father was in the tea estates of Assam, so I saw the best of life back in the 70’s and early 80’s before the trouble began.
Kim Noble, 45 years, School Principal, Bangalore
Interviewed by Joseph Colin
Why did you decide to give us an interview on childhood?
I think this subject is universal, and everybody is an expert because each one has a different experience about childhood and I thought – you know – although it is a subject everyone can talk about, perhaps sharing my views on it, might be different from others.
How was your childhood?
I had a very privileged childhood. I grew up in a very open countryside. My father was in the tea estates of Assam, so I saw the best of life back in the 70’s and early 80’s before the trouble began. So, the life I saw was that of oxygen-fresh air, animals…I think it was a perfect childhood any boy growing up should have.
Great. This reminds me of Ruskin Bond…(Colin laughs) Do you have children?
I have a son and a daughter.
How different was your childhood from your children’s childhood?
Very different in many ways. In fact, there is a lot of distance in the experience I had growing up and the experience my son is having and will have. The world has changed so much and the joys, pleasures and pains that we had growing up is very different, and is a little more dangerous now than what it was back then.
Can you elaborate?
Back then you didn’t have to think twice before climbing a tree, falling off, getting bruised, running through the deep bushes alone. Today you have to look over your shoulder – at everyone and for everyone.
I grew up in a village too. My father used to leave for work in the morning, come back in the evening, and my mother used to spend her time in the kitchen. My siblings and I used to wander around the village, go to the riverside and nobody was bothered about what we were doing. We had so much freedom. While now as a father, when my daughter goes down to play, I keep a close watch on her. I am so scared of each and everything. Life has changed so much…
Yes. I think there is more pressure on parents now. There is more confusion regarding what they should do and what they should not do.
What do you think about children being exposed to so much social media, which we were not exposed to?
Well, I have mixed feelings about that. Our connect to the world was a little more real. I think we grew up with the virtue of patience. In the sense, if you had to correspond with someone or had a friend in another city, you had to wait for a few days for the letter to reach. Today, with the concept of instant messaging, electronic mail and social media, we don’t have the time or patience to wait for anything and that has influenced life, careers, expectations…Kids are growing up with instant gratification. I want something, I want it now. That’s one of the pitfalls of the instant connectivity that we have, but it has certainly opened up opportunities to be well-informed.
The last question has nothing to do with your interview topic. But we ask everyone we interview – what does love mean to you?
Oh wow! (Laughs) How does one answer that? Uh…can it really be answered? Is there a definition for love? Well (pauses), a lot of people are searching for that one moment of true love or love at first sight. People waste their lives running after either a distant dream or a fantasy with very high expectations. I believe it’s not about who falls in love with whom. It’s about how much can you love the person you are with. A true love kiss is not about you falling in love with someone, but you falling in love with the world around you. You can find love in everything and everyone.