Monday, 14 May 2012

The Day Mobby Grows Up


The day Mobby grows up dawns like any ordinary day. There are no drum rolls either to herald the great event. Here is the first hand account:

We are at the breakfast table, Mobby and I.

I am sipping tea and Mobby sits across the table from me on his high chair.  

In a while Mobby’s amma comes and lines up his breakfast in front of him. Before leaving she sternly looks at Mobby and reiterates a few commandments, “Hold your mug with both hands, don’t spill anything and finish your breakfast, down to the last morsel.” 


Mobby seems attentive enough as if he is contemplating to one day write a treatise on breakfast commandments. These commandments are amma’s chief contribution to usher in the great event. And she leaves.

I look at Mobby. Mobby looks at me.

I discern the lure of the forbidden glimmering in his eyes, and decide to ignore it. After all, at breakfast it is impossible to think of anything else accept tea. It is almost a sacrilege to do so.

And it is through the mist of rising steam from my tea mug clouding my glasses that I hear Mobby.

“Look!”  He shouts.

I look up.

Mobby is doing exactly what amma has just told him not to do. He is holding his mug, filled with milk, with one hand.

As we both look at the mug, a miracle happens. The mug remains steady. No milk spills.

Now Mobby is surprised. And as he looks at the mug in his hands, something dawns on him. He utters a rapturous, “See! I have grown up. I am big. Even bigger than Bha.”

Bha, by the way, is Mobby’s big brother, Roshan.

At this point in time, I too realize the miracle unfolding before my eyes and join in the celebration.

The refrain “I have grown up” continues into evening. While we (all adults) are gushing over Mobby’s suddenly discovered adulthood, Roshan comes. He listens to all this gushing for a minute and laughs a five-year-old big brothers’ mocking laugh. Which says in effect,“These kids!” But he decides not say anything. Out of politeness, perhaps.

Omar, another five year old, however, is not so diplomatic and blurts, “Mobby, you are so silly. Even Raina can hold a cup and she is only one year old.”

Mobby folds his arms across his chest and scowls. “Raina can hold an empty mug. I can hold a mug full of milk.” Nobody likes their adulthood challenged.

I decide to intervene on Mobby’s behalf. After all I have been the chief witness of the event.

“Mobby is a big boy. Now he will go to school.” I say.

“No, I am only two. I won’t go to school.” Mobby forgets his anger and runs off with Omar and Roshan to play.

Mobby has definitely grown up!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cousins: More Lilliputians



There is a sudden commotion. The floors silently bear the thump of hurried, jubilant footsteps; the doors try to get over the shock of sudden, ruthless slamming; and the walls resonate with shrieks and squeals. And this mayhem is caused by Lilliputians’ extreme delight.  Cousins are here. More Lilliputians. Now the gender balance is restored and the walls of the land of Lilliputians resonate with girl power. Here is the brief introduction of the cousins and this formidable girl power:


Maheen is the eldest. With the attitude and bearing of a princess, she is Saif’s best friend. Saif’s is a few months younger than Maheen, and this is his pet peeve. He used to believe that with time he would grow up and grow older than Maheen. But now he knows better and seems to have made his peace.
 Maheen writes songs, loves to play football and cricket, her hair has to be short and pushed back with no stray hair touching her skin. She likes to challenge all accepted beliefs, and prefers to spend her life in comfortable track suits and T-shirts. Her mother, when she comments on her non-conformist daughter and her dressing habits, looks at me somewhat accusingly. The kind of look only a sister can give you when she blames you for a vagrant gene that landed in her daughter’s DNA!

Apple is the apple of my eye. She has a way of suppressing her smile and asking me ‘Why do you call me apple?’ And every time I repeat, ‘Because I love you so much.’ In reply I again get that smile which lurks at the lips and oozes from the eyes. It’s a ritual. She asks me this question on every visit, and I never change my answer. Having once seen this smile, who in the world would change the answer!

Known as Aimen, Apple is Zainab’s best friend. They like to dance together, and can giggle and chat for hours on end. Apple likes to dress up in funky clothes and jewelry, and is usually seen with her wayward tresses covering her face. Maheen, obviously, highly disapproves of Apple’s dress and hairdo sense.

Raina is the baby of the family. Just 14 months old, she perceives adults as trees which she wants to climb. Hold her in your arms and she will try to wriggle up, with her tiny feet firmly navigating the adult human tree. She has a fetish for shoes and has to wear them to bed. She may be 14 months old but she likes to have her way. If denied, she can bend her body backwards (imagine a bridge) and cry with all the might her tiny lungs are capable of.

Raina also likes to sweep the house before she sleeps at night. And while sweeping, she never fails to give us this you-adults-have-no-sense-of-cleanliness look!