Tuesday, 17 January 2012

In a Child's Innocence

It was a very short trip back home. Largely, because I tried to rebel against the system and made sure I had only those two weeks off. It was nice time. Love and food as usual. Some expected hassles. Some unexpected hassles. Road trips. One lovely day at grandparents place.

It was bonding time with dad. Much needed. Both of us packed and took a train to visit grandparents. We reached early in the morning and took a chilling auto ride at 5 in the morning. I miss those auto rides. Early in the morning, every summer/december it was the four of us, filling up one tiny auto to get to the family home. The packed feeling always assured me that we were there for each other. That it was always going to be this way. The four souls in one packet resting on each other.

Entering the familiar road and the brown pillared house comes to view. To see chittis(aunts) and chittappas(uncles) greeting us at the thinnai(veranda). It feels warm. And suddenly all the chill from the auto ride vanishes.

Grandparents are very old by now. Thatha(Grandfather) is 86 and Aaya(Grandmother) is 79. Aaya doesnt walk much and Thatha tries not to. The house has lost most of the vibrance these two used to hold up. Its visits like mine from their grandchildren, thats keeping them going now. It is clearly their last few years. I cant help but remember everything they have taught us. Every little attribute of theirs I possess. Every single advice thatha used to shower on us. Every meal aaya made and her unspoken lessons. I have made it a point to visit them whenever I can. Its all I can do for them. Just be around and assure them of my well-being.

Breakfast was perfect with (chitti's) world's best onion chutney. Idlis and Dosais. Sigh. (Reality of bread/fried rice flashes inside. Yuck) Lunch was (kutti) onion sambhar and selection of vegetable curries. Yummy homemade pickle. Its called family home for these reasons I guess. Its lovely, its perfect, its rare.

After lunch appa took me on a ride around town. I have not sat on a bike in a really long time. The breeze in my face is just enough to ride all my life as pillion. A little tour of the schools he studied in. The family home in town. The hospital where I was born. Amma's college. The market street. It was a gratifying 2 hours.

There is a little girl at home. Jashwanti. All of 3. She was my biggest entertainment for the rest of the evening. Attentive, smart, innocent, worry-less, loving, caring, happy and thin. She was everything I wanted to be. She was walking around with a pack of cards without knowing what they were. The bigger kids had cards so she also had one. Thats it. She dint need anymore reasoning. I decided to teach her to use them. We sat and split the cards into different shapes. She was just learning numbers. I would put out the cards and asked her to pick a specific number. She would obey and we went on for quite a while.

Another cousin joined us so we decided to teach her another game. A simple game we named Jackpot. You split the cards among the three of us. You turn the pack away from us and keep throwing the cards down into a common pile. Once you get same number as the previous card you take everything collected under. She grasped it in a jiffy. I was unlucky that day and my pile ended in less than 2 minutes. She was busy playing with the other cousin dint notice my expulsion from the game for a while. And then she did. She looked at me and said, 'Irru, ennaku innum cards vanthaune unnaku tharen' (Wait, I'll get more and cards and give you some). A person of her words. She scored a huge pile in the next round and gave me half of her pile. The innocence. The character.

I was amazed. I would have never done that. I am too self contained to do something like that. Even if its just a pack of cards. The thought would not even enter my head. And look at this kid. Thats why the world goes around. Thats why there is still some good in the world. Its innocence like this thats saving the face of the world in all its corruption.

I am humbled.

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