“Canwe come in, sir,” I hear the chorus from my back. I know whose it is!
So, I say, “No, you can not.”
“We have already come in,” they both announce, knowing my ‘No’ very well.
“Then, why do you ask my permission, you naughty boys? You can directly come inside, no?” I ask them sounding intrigued.
“No, no… Our Miss tells us that it is not good manners… We should ask before we enter anyone’s place, ‘Can we come in?’…” both tell me.
“May I come in,” I gently pull Tanish’s nose, “Not Can I come in.”
“Our Miss says ‘Can I come in’,” Yommie stands by his chaddi buddy.
“You like your Miss, darling?” I caress little Yommie’s head.
“Yes sir, she is sooo nice!” the chorus is sooo sweet!
“So, tell me what is up… What is special today?” I drop my work to give them all my ears.
“This is my project,” Tanish places before me his latest ‘Magnum Opus’.
“Wow, great work, my dear,” I rub the little fellow’s back.
“This is iron, this is bronze, this is copper, this is silver and this is gold,” Tanish explains to me proudly.
“So pretty they look… Your Miss must have been very happy… Wasn’t she, Tanish?” I ask.
“I got three stars and a smiling face,” Tanish is very happy.
“Sir, I got four,” Yommie jumps.
“But, she liked my project,” Tanish does not want to hear what Yommie wants to say.
“Yes beta, Miss liked what you both did… She loves you both.” I try to ease the little tension.
“By the way, Honey, where is your project?” I check with Yommie.
“Sir, I showed to Miss yesterday,” Yommie clarifies, “He was absent yesterday.”
“I had fever, okay?” Tanish is a little annoyed with his buddy, “How can I show my project, if I can not go to school?”
I have to step in, quickly!
“Sir, Tejas is giving us bad words,” Tanish suddenly remembers his bigger enemy.
“Yes sir, we have told his mummy,” Yommie joins.
“What about you rats… You don’t give bad words?” I tease.
“Only sometimes,” Tanish admitts mutely.
“Sir, what are you doing?” Yommie stretches his neck into my monitor, “Playing games?”
“What you are telling, beta?” I play my poor-me flute, “I am an old man… How can I play computer games?”
“You are not an ‘old man’,” Tanish declares, sternly.
“Achha?” I show how thrilled I am on hearing that declaration, “Come here my sweetheart, I will give you my sweet puppy.”
“Sir, can we go?” that is the obvious last chorus.
They are already out!
“Okay, you can go!” I smile, as the two best friends pull, push, kick and lick each other as they go off with their sack-loads on their backs.
On many days, before they go home, Yommie and Tanish, my little friends, come to say ‘Hi’ to me. When they do, they bring their little complaints, little triumphs, and little joys… And yes, they want to know whether I play computer games the way they do!
Last night, my niece, Rhea, all of four years, was busy on her father’s lap-top. It was literally on the top of this little-one’s lap!
“Baby, show uncle your drawing,” my brother Viva prodded his little daughter.
Madam clicked the ‘X’, and ’X’ and “X”… and there she was, smiling ear-to-ear. She turned the screen to me, her beholder!
“Beautiful!” I pulled the little one close to me, “How did you do it?”
It was Rhea’s Magnum Opus…. Some lines here and there with a royal splash of vibrant colours… with the breath of this little lady’s heart… and then, those incredibly loyal cheerleaders – her mom and dad – had made this creation what it was: A masterpiece worthy of a ‘Screen-saver’!
For the last three months or so, a mother of a seven-year-old has been asking me, repeatedly, this: “Sir, when are you going to start your next 'Personality Development’ course for the small children? I want my son to do it.”
Every time, this mother asks me this question, I wonder: “How do little children become confident in life?”
There are a trillion things, if I have to remember, going back to my own little-wonders days. No, I just can’t remember them all… But yes, there are a handful… Someone cheering me as I struggled with my first word… or drew my first sketch… I do remember, though I do not want to, some of those harsh words that sank my heart into my gloomy ocean… Yes, there are these moments – the golden and gloomy… that have made me whatever I am today.
No one clicks your pictures, today,
even if you walk around like a King.
But, they did that
when you took your maiden step.
And, you took your maiden step
not in an Olympic Stadium…
You took it in your humble kitchen
when you mom was busy
preparing your baby feed…
And, you stood there like a real King, for that glorius moment, as your mom kept clapping and cheering, “I love you, my baby… I love you!”
Pic.: Vivek D’Cunha