The anna at times becomes the thambi, and thambi acts like the anna! Like the other day when Vyas was at his homework, I called out to him to fetch something. Vyas left his notebook and pencil on the floor and went to the adjacent room. The little one tagged behind calling ‘anna, anna, baa, baa’. He caught hold of his anna’s wrist and continued, ‘anna, baa, baa, pacchi’, pointing at his notebook. He wanted his anna to study! The anna for his part, very sweetly reminded his thambi that only ‘amma’ is supposed to order him about, “Varun, amma dhaan solluva da, okay?”. To which, the little one responded with ‘oookeeee’, with a piggy pout! Am happy my boys understand ‘acceptance’:)
Varun manages to climb on to the cane swing all by himself and insists that only anna set the swing in motion! That is just not enough. When he comes swinging towards his anna, he has to turn around and show his butt for the little fellow to put out his tiny legs and plant a neat kick in the butt! On being kicked, the anna has to go rolling on the floor and feign hurt while the thambi squeals in excitement and laughs till his sides ache and the grapes which he has for his eyes are reduced to a thin crease!
Dinner has now become a ‘corridor affair’ with the moon, an occasional fire cracker, stray dogs, two grey kittens, and construction workers on the other side of the road for company. A senseless blabber from him and me together for 10 minutes takes care of his dinner. Before he realizes, thachi mammam is shoved down his throat. When I stop talking, he peeps into the empty bowl, waves both his tiny palms saying , ‘aacheee’! We bid goodbye to the lizards first and then to the stray dogs before retreating, closing the doors on the nice folks that faithfully kept company for that 10 loooooooooong minutes.
By 10.00 PM, five of us in the V family are dead. The kollu patti and 1.7 year old kollu paerun appear as if it has just dawned. After a forced, rehearsed ‘dhundight’ (which is good night) to the grand folks, the older Vs (which includes the 8 yr old) crash without a sound. It is just about time when the tiny priest commences his custom Suprabhatham! He prostrates several times in front of a calender with Lord Ganesha’s picture and settles into a 15 mins mumbo-jumbo. I wonder what he is praying for so fervently!:) Hopefully for lokha-kshemam! When I breathe a sign of relief after his ‘prayers’, he pulls out his ‘choch’ (fox) story book. The story-telling is interrupted at least 10 times because the Chennai-mosquitoes do their bit. He alternates his hands and legs, stretching them towards me for scratching. Bliss! After several repeats of the blue fox, crow and the snake and such tales the lights fade and mommy is fast asleep. I guess he is on his own for a while before his brain calls it a day!
He appears more clear and firm in the morning. Sleep does make people sane. The strawberry toothpaste makes its way into his tummy the first thing in the morning. A mock ‘burrrrrrr’ happens in the name of gargling with not even an atom of foam, water, anything coming out of the mouth! Despite the squirrels, crows, cuckoo’s calling and butterflies, he has his mouth shut tight to not let in the boring cup of Horlicks! He’s game for tea anytime! “Naannna”, he says, while his head does a 180 degree sweep several times. A little more persistence from me leads to his burying his face in my shoulders with a stealthy glance every 5 secs to see if the mommy’s resolve is still strong or if there are any signs of relenting. Once I put the cup down, he resumes butterflying and cries ‘bhathaachee, bhathaachee’, which till a few days back I mistook to mean pattasu (fire crackers)!
Breakfast is always with the dear anna. He insists on a separate plate and continues to mess around with the contents in the anna’s plate. Anna is only too happy because, with the focus deflected on containing the brat, he doesn’t get nagged for ‘slow-motion’ at 7.50 AM. He follows his anna with his plate to put it for wash and waits till he changes into his uniform. Its time and he makes a dash to the wardrobe, beckons his dad to change his dress too. Ask him where he wants to go, and he will tell you in clear terms- choool. “Appa, thookki, thookii, appa, thooki” he goes on turning a deaf ear to the assurance appa gives! The dad has to make him wear his ‘pappals’ (chappals), and carry him along. At the school gate, he insists on giving his anna a ‘nuttha’ (muttha for kiss) and bids good bye! Vyas is proud of the attention his thambi bestows on him. His proud gait into the school vaguely reminds me of ‘Swami’ from Malgudi Days!