Monday, 27 June 2011

And the Best Eating Habits Award goes to…...

Today, at lunch time I announced the best eating habits award for Lilliputians. After announcing it I also voiced my opinion that probably Roshan would get it, since he is the only one who eats all his fruits and vegetables. This voicing of opinion sounded like some pre-determined selection to the Lilliputians present at the dinning table. I really had no idea about the commotion that ensued.

Saif, who was eating rice because he didn’t want to eats vegetables, suddenly became indignation personified. 

He pushed away the plate of rice and announced, “Now, I am not going to eat anything, not even the things that I normally do. Why Roshan?”

“Saif, because he doesn’t have a long list of not-eatable-food-items like you people,” I tried to dispel the charge of nepotism of some kind.

“I am sure, you will give the award to Roshan in any case. I am older than Roshan and I should get it. Besides, it’s not that Roshan never creates any fuss about his food.” Saif had completely entered the victim mode.

“Instead of blaming Roshan and me, why can’t you decide to improve your eating habits and try to win the award instead?” I tried to shift him to performance mode.

At this stage, a squeak of a chair was heard, and another plate was vehemently pushed aside. This was Zainab with her classic, “I am going to run away from this house; nobody loves me here except baba.”

“Where are you going to run away to?” I aksed.

She thought for a moment and, I guess, figured out that running away wasn’t such a good idea and said, “I will build another home in the lawn and will live all alone.”

“Zainab, building a home is not easy. It’s a tough job, it needs a lot of energy which you don’t have because you don’t eat properly. You won’t be able to lift a single brick.” I tried to reason it out with her. Here another classic accusation was shot at us all:

“Everybody makes fun of me, except baba.”  

I was about to say something when Omar, who till then had been nonchalantly eating rice, raised his head and asked:

“What is award?”

“A kind of gift,” I said.

“Gift?” And here a fiery Omar was facing me.

“I am older than Roshan. I am four and I will be seven in March and Roshan will still be four. You can’t give the gift to him.”

“Omar you are four and you will be five in March. And it is not the question of who is older,” I made an effort to correct his mathematics.

“But I eat apricots,” he said.

“How many?” I asked.

“Two three. I don’t eat one, it is one that is less and two three is more.”  He made a point about his proficiency in mathematics, and then said angrily, “I will eat only what I like.” And, as if to make his point, he opened the cupboard, took out wheetabix and started eating it.

I was about to comment on this act of defiance when a chair was violently pushed aside, somebody ran away to her room, and a loud bang was heard.

It was Zainab shutting us all out from her life.

I was busy in situational analysis when Omar proclaimed, “I will help Zainab build the house.”

Here goes my award…....

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Jumper Dance Party

We had been planning for a jumper dance party since the day the jumper became part of our lives. I had been postponing it for quite some time, but on Tuesday morning Saif finally put his foot down, and I had to give in. Saif, who was responsible for the menu, decided on KFC style burgers and tang.

In the evening, all the Lilliputians went shopping with chachi and came back loaded with burgers, chicken, sauces, and one video CD with dance and party music. So the burgers were prepared, ice cold mango tang was made, a table was laid out in the guestroom, the video CD was put on, and guests (parents and grandmother) were invited, and la viola….the Party began!

So far, so good. But then started some twists and turns. Saif complained that the music wasn’t fast enough; zainab winced that the tang wasn’t sweet enough (I made it); Roshan felt humiliated (Saif was rude to him), so he left the party to sit all alone in the lounge; and Mobby started spilling tang all over the room. But the worst was yet to come.

All of a sudden we all realized that somebody was in a terrible mood: Omar.

 In a fit of anger he threw all the shoes downstairs (we spent quite a time searching for them because some managed to land in the basement). The reason, it turned out, was burgers.

“Everybody is eating burgers,” Omar shouted.

“So?” We asked.

“I don’t like burgers, and I don’t like their smell. Even Zainab is eating it.”

And that was true. Zainab did take a bite or two. That probably hurt Omar because he thought he could always count on Zainab not to eat anything she hadn’t tried before. But I think Zainab caught the party spirit.

“But Omar, if you don’t want to eat it, we will not force you.” We appealed to his logical self.

“No, I don’t want anybody to eat it. Next time I am going to have a party on my own, and I won’t invite all you burger eating people,” he said and started sucking his thumb with a vengeance.

“But you do need other people to have a party,” I said.

“I am going to have a daughter, I will train her not to eat burgers and then both of us will have a party!”

This is Omar at his most ingenious: having a daughter and then training her for a burger free existence! As to why a daughter, it is because Omar likes Zainab and probably also thinks that daughters are more docile and hence easier to train.

Yesterday, Omar came and said to me, “Okay, I will invite you to my party, just you and nobody else. We will have juice, nothing else, right?” 

I think Omar has adopted me!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Zainab's Jumper

The up-in-the-air existence is the current mode of being of my Lilliputians. And we owe this suspended existence to Zainab’s Jumper.

Zainab graduated to grade 2 with more than flying colours. She landed there with straight A pluses and Baba thus decided to buy her a gift of her choice. 

Here I have to confess that I subtly fed her the idea of getting a jumper (I love jumpers), but of course like all Lilliputians she could never have gone for it without believing that it was her plan. 

So one fine day, Zainab went shopping and predictably enough came back sulking over the kinds of jumpers available. Some had legs which were too short, some were not bouncy enough, and then there were also second thoughts. She looked at us (me and other four little people) suspiciously and asked: 

“Why should I get a jumper?” We all convinced her, “Because You want it Zainab!”

Anyways, after a few days another excursion to the sports shop happened and this time Zainab came back with a mighty jumper. It was brought upstairs to the guest room and its legs were fixed (yes, they are small), and since then the jumper hasn’t had a moment’s rest..

Mobby, the junior most Lilliputian, is finding this jumping spree a bit overwhelming. 

He climbs on the jumper amid his elders, for a minute or so looks askance at the four pairs of legs hanging in the air, and then tries to rise above all of them. After a few moments we find him rolling amid so many jumping legs, crying on the top of his voice, and finally stumbling down on the carpet. But nothing in the world can stop him from trying to beat his four elders.

Omar and I are planning to put the Jumper in the front lawn one night, and jump high enough to finally catch the moon! Zainab, of course, will have to be convinced.

Last night we had a jumper party. But as the Land of Lilliputians is always unpredictable, there were some unexpected twists and turns. More about it later..

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

My Lilliputains

What exactly did Gulliver feel when he landed in the land of Lilliputians? Was he amazed, was he amused, did he feel wiser, or did he feel like a fool? Did he feel all too powerful or were their times when he realized that he was being manipulated?

 I think it must have been a mixture of all these feelings, emotions and realizations.

Living with five nephews and nieces (families of two brothers), I feel like a Gulliver in the land of little people, and can relate to what he must have felt.

And now the brief introduction of my Lilliputians:

Saif: An eight year old cricket fan, Saif is the eldest in this abode taken over by Lilliputians. His aim in life is to become a cricketer, and a permanently bald patch of land in our front lawn vouches for his devotion to cricket. For Saif this bald patch serves as the pitch for his cricket matches, and for me it is an eye sore.  And thus a recurring bone of contention between us. Every other day, I plant a few blades of grass in the hope of turning this eye sore into an emerald; and every other day, Saif smashes all my emerald dreams with a mighty hit of his brand new bat.

Saif often wonders: why do we have to study in school? Music, cricket and swimming should be enough! And Why Exams?

Zainab: There is no gender balance in this land of Lilliputians; Zainab is the only female around. About to be a seven- year-old in July, Zainab constantly wonders what purpose fruits and vegetables serve. Surely, not to satisfy hunger or to cater to our taste buds, since they are not eatables, she declares. Zainab subsists on milk, eggs and mutton curry. There was a time when she fell in love with porridge but that love somehow went awry.  

Zainab has a thing for personal freedom which for her is signified by her tresses. Try to tie her hair or have it cut and you will have it: a tantrum which can last till eternity. (I wonder why this sounds so familiar... seems to run in the family, after all I am her father’s sister!) Take her for shopping, and she will come back, without fail, sulking over the pathetic state of all the shopping malls in the city. Since none has the right dress, the perfect toy, or the right kind of shoe that she wants. After one trip, she can sulk for a day or so, and then the second trip to the same shops can yield fruitful results.

Not really into cricket, but doesn’t like it when she can’t play like Saif. Zainab loves books and can be seen tapping away at his father’s laptop, writing stories. 

Omar: A four year old mixture of wonder, delight and awful tantrums, Omar is Saif and Zainab’s younger brother. He believes that thumb sucking is the best substitute for eating or drinking anything. His greatest comfort, the biggest enjoyment and, I think, a source of nirvana is his thumb. A couple of times he has been found trying to devise a method whereby he can insert some food and drink in his mouth without having to take out his thumb. Red chilies, green chilies and some other bitter concoctions have been tried in a bid to make the thumb distasteful. But nothing has worked so far.

All other children have this running complaint that I am too indulgent towards him. He is allowed to call me by t name (because this is how he likes it), he can mess up my room anytime (which for him is changing of décor), and can get away with almost anything.

Well, I don’t really have anything to say in my defense except one thing: Omar seriously tries to figure out how he can bring down the moon for me. Two workable ideas are: making a high enough ladder for him to reach the moon and pluck it from the sky; and training two birds (actually sparrows) to fly high, reach the moon, pluck it from the sky with their beaks, hold it in their beaks from two sides  and bring it down right into my lap!

Can I help being indulgent towards someone who constantly worries about bringing down the moon for me!

Saif, Zainab and Omar live with their two cousins: Roshan and Mohib

Roshan: He is a soon- to- be- four- year old bundle of energy and hypersensitivity who can cry heart rendingly at the slightest pretext. Roshan hero-worships Saif whom he calls Taetoo. He thinks that anything that Taetoo says is bound to be right, and Taetoo is the best cricketer in the whole wide world.

Roshan and I have one standing agreement: the moon belongs to me, and he can have all the stars and the sun. But he hasn’t given up the hope of convincing me to trade off my moon for his sun.
I am not giving up, and neither is he.

Mohib:.Twenty two months old, Mohib is Roshan’s younger brother and the youngest of Lilliputians. If you ask him whose son he is, his prompt reply is: Zainab’s.

Mohib has the kind of voice which makes you look at him and wonder where the voice coming from. He can’t stand criticism of any kind. He likes to repeat whatever Roshan says, and believes he is capable of doing anything that the four elders Lilliputians can do.

Try to stop him from something and he will invoke all the evil spirits, Mr. Clown, the cat with big whiskers, and the Mickey Mouse to come and take you away. So scold him at your own risk.