There were many things of immense import which begged to be written. Religion in politics, the art of creating a narrative- how slyly media creates a narrative. I was reading Sol Stein on Writing on the way to office on Friday, and it occurred to me, the total apathy with which a student, a leftist leader from JNU charged with rape is being treated by mainstream media. A regular in TV debates, a known figure from a University much in news for all wrong reasons of late, and media acts as if nothing has happened. The silence is to kill the story, so perfectly dead truth being presented. Nothing beyond facts, no flesh, not blood, not personality caricatures. It is discomforting. But then I will write about it next week. This week, I write about simple pleasures of life. My monthly visits to children library with my eight year old. Here it is, I share my Saturday with you.
While on my way from the Car workshop where I had dropped the car for repair, I get a call from Nonu (my eight year old), reconfirming the sojourn and reiterating that lunch will be at the Udipi next door to the BC Roy Children Library, in ITO. I pick her from home, just picking the four books to be exchanged, the magical part of my mundane existence begins. We take the auto from home, her friend, landlord’s grand-daughter, two years older than Nonu, accompanies us. We mostly take public conveyance on this day. She mustn't think Public conveyance an impossible inconvenience when she grows up. Furthermore, it is a great equalizer. Her hairs lose, her face iridescent in the afternoon Monsoon Sun, her demeanor buoyant, more than usual with her friend for company. We get on the metro, I park myself resting my back on the glass partition at the door, and they get the seat. They are talking at the moment like two grown-ups, on their way to do attend to things of business, work- things grown-ups do. I look at her with the fond affection of a father. She is playing with her locks and the bright yellow hair-band stands out, splendidly as if a sunbeam has stuck in her hairs. I try to figure out what is painted on her Tee. It occurs to me, how much we see, how little we observe. I thought it to be a Donald duck, only today I realize it was Dory and Nemo. It brings smile to me. I wonder, how quickly time passes, and for how long she will be wearing such dresses. A tinge of sadness, and an urge to hold the clock back. My thoughts float to the Nursery in Max hospital, where I had met her first, and her palms had first curled around my finger. The first night I slept, almost sitting, holding her on my shoulder. Life was never to be same again. We get down at Central Secretariat for the change of train. Trains towards ITO seem to be running late. She is unperturbed. Delays do not worry kids. More time to play. She plays, as I watch her. A deep blue canopy of night sky stretches itself under the hot, Monsoon Sun, with her sudden laughter shining like stars spread over the deep blue sky of my imagination which covers us. She breaks into a dance. Yes, at the platform. She isn’t perturbed about who might be looking. She is happy. She is always, I silently pray, she always be as happy, as unrestrained. She takes off her Disney slippers and jumps. Her friend also jumps. They hold hands and jump. At the platform. People watch. Whenever you feel like flying, my child, you jump. Never look around who is watching. Just jump. Always believe your father is watching over you. Even when you are seventy and I am long gone. Stay aloft, levitate- I remember the dialogue from the Movie, Meet Joe Black, where Businessman, William Parrish (played by ever elegant, Anthony Hopkins) tells her daughter- “I want you to get swept away out there. I want you to levitate. I want you to sing with rapture and dance like a dervish. I mutter something similar.
The train to Mandi House comes first. The crowd thins at the platform. She sings, loudly, in her yet untrained voice of unadulterated innocence. Her friend is couple of years older. She looks little embarrassed, a little held back. She is also happy, but she thinks. Her thoughts seem to hold her back. Nonu’s exuberance is not yet adulterated with thoughts, thoughts of who might be watching. Her friend tells her that people around might think them mad. She doesn’t care. She sings. Some rhyming sounds, not even words. Happiness doesn’t need words, it needs soul. We get on the train. She keeps repeating the announcements- “Please stand clear of the door. Please mind the gap.” We reach ITO. We have lunch first. Then we reach the library. And the magic is now augmented with fantasies and fairies. She runs among the books, she touches the books. She and her friend find a book of schoolkid’s jokes. They read them and giggle. She looks for Roald Dahl. She loves Roald Dahl, his life. She almost wants to become a writer like him. Him and Ruskin Bond. She is an only child, but with this friendship, she will have company which will never abandon her, which will never judge her. These books, they will carry her through to the day when she’ll be swept off her feet; the day when she will sing with rapture and dance like a dervish. And even beyond. These moments are the brightest part of my weekends, they will take me through the worst days of my life. This ability to sing, dance and whistle while walking through the loneliest and darkest patches of her life, is the biggest inheritance I leave her. I wrote once- When kids grow up, they judge their parents. Sometimes, they forgive them. I hope she will judge me kindly, when her time comes. This is from this Saturday, this is my one Saturday of each month. This lights up my days, hope it does light up yours as well.