Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Best New Year Party Ever

Wishing You a Very Happy 2013

It is December 29. At 8 pm we receive a hand written note; an invitation, actually. The invitation is for a New Year Party and the party is being arranged by the four elder Lilliputians: Maheen, Saif, Zainab, Apple. 

There’s one invite for every adult and every invite bears the invitee’s name and sketch. I, for one, feel special.   

Though not really a party person, I know I want to attend this one.

The fact that my study was ransacked, my reams of paper ravaged, and my pens robbed to design the invites, is, of course, another matter.  

The invite is for 10:30 pm. And from 8pm to 10 pm a strange calm descends on the Land of Lilliputians. 

While we try to make the most of this unexpected peace, one room alone bears the brunt of loud noises and crazy thumping of the feet. It’s the room where the party will be hosted. The room is turned upside down to create the party mood. Rehearsals of dance and singing sessions are undertaken. And menu is planned.

At ten, the doors of the party room are opened wide. One Lilliputian after the other starts running wildly from one room to another, hollering ‘the party is about to start.

And there is more to these calls. The recently- turned- commercial Lilliputians have decided to make this party another commercial venture. We are told there are entrance tickets. Of 20 rupees each.

We pay the entrance fee, and are allowed to enter the party zone.

Along with the meticulous entrance fee collection mechanism, the party place is also well organized. There are happy New Year banners on the doors. There’s a music system. There are peanuts and cake rusk. 

And there are curtains billowed beyond their capacity; they have been morphed into backstage.

The party begins.

Maheen emerges forth from the billowed backstage. There’s a welcome address that actually tells us how lucky we are to be attending such a great party.

The next move is really impressive.

 After the welcome address, Maheen goes inside the backstage and a moment later the four Lilliputians materialize as a train that is chanting ‘Happy New Year.’ 

There’s amazing coordination as they jump, turn around, and stand there with their backs toward us. Each back has a word pasted on it: Happy- NEW- Year- 2013. Amazing, amazing.

We clap like mad. Amid rounds of applause, we are treated to many dance and song numbers. Well-rehearsed. Well choreographed. Well coordinated.

There’s one Lilliputian who dances without having rehearsed a single move. And she is perfect: almost-two- year old Raina.

While the party is in full swing, the three down-with-fever Lilliputians catch the party spirit. 

Now they join the others and dance with such verve, velocity and valour that can only happen under the influence of fever-lowering syrups. And that can only happen with children because for them fever is just an episode among many exciting episodes, not to be taken too seriously.

We are asked to stand up as the party ends with the singing of the national anthem. 

Mobby stands in the front row. And he is wearing a serious/solemn expression.

Perhaps the beginning of a new year does require a moment of serious introspection.

The Best New Year Party Ever.  Well worth the expensive entrance tickets. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Home of One’s Own

The Lilliputians have abandoned us. They have charted their own course in life. They have become independent.

Now they live in a grand mansion of their own. The mansion is a 6 by 4 feet wooden plank and is nestled in the hollow of a garb tree.

The dwellers of this palatial abode have actually made it quite comfortable. There are cushions. There’s a shoe rack. Behind the shoe rack, there’s also a study of sorts where one book is strategically arranged in such a way that the onlookers may see it and remark: the studious Lilliputians.  There’s a strong possibility that for all intents and purposes the study in question is merely a showpiece.

While the residents of this luxurious lodging enjoy their new found independence, the adults of the land of Lilliputians are reduced to being errand people for siphoning out food to the tree house dwellers.

The Lilliputians are happy. But not so the birds. All the birds within 100- metre radius of the land of Lilliputians have been spotted wearing ear plugs. The combined chirping, cawing, twittering, and squeaking of all the birds is no match to the intensity of sound pouring out from the mouth of just one Lilliputian. And now since they all dwell in a tree, the decibels emerging from the tree are much above the standard threshold of birds’ hearing.  Poor birds!

As the Lilliputians enjoy their new found independence, we, the errand people, look at them with frustration. They have become out of reach, but not out of earshot.

The Lilliputians seem to have satisfied two of the pressing human needs: freedom, and independence.

They have also proven one thing: the regality of a residence is relative. It is just a matter of perspective.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Eureka! A Journey of Self-Discovery on a Tricycle

Every moment in three- year-old Mobby’s life is a ‘Eureka!’ moment. He is so taken with the discovery of his own self. 

Starting with the revelation of being able to hold a full mug of milk, he is now onto some bigger self-discoveries. And for the last two weeks this journey has been happening on a tricycle.

He starts wheeling. His concentration level is optimum. As he tries to push his feet downwards to roll the obstinate pedals and discover the power of being mobile, a new world opens up for him. He declares with an evident not of pride:

“See I can ride a cycle.”

A few days later, he decides to move out of his comfort zone. In a resolve to stretch his physical boundaries, he announces that now he is going to opt for some bigger feats.

He lets go of the handles.

Now the tricycle inches forward, zigzagging.  Mobby’s arms extend wide as if he has suddenly grown wings and he shouts: 

“Look! I can ride without even touching the handles.”

Incredible. Amazing. Not just the feat, but the sense of self discovery which he now feels.

Next comes something innovative. Now he wants to try how much weight can he cart. 

He picks up something heavy. It is a bed sheet. He folds the bed sheet, and piles it up on this cycle. He starts rolling the pedals.

“See! I can carry this sheet and still ride the cycle. I am powerful.”

Mobby is falling in love with his own prowess.

And while he rides, and while the revelation of his physical strength sinks in, his mind jogs. He thinks. He flips and flings a few ideas in his mind, and comes up with an invention.

He parks his tricycle and covers it with the bed-sheet, which he had been carting for sometime, and proclaims:

“I can use this sheet to cover my cycle. It can keep it safe from dust and rain.” 

I am sure very soon he will figure out that the sheet will fail to protect his tricycle from the rain. And then he will devise something new. And much more.

Mobby is smart.

But it is not just about a three year old. I believe we are a smart species. But somewhere along the journey, we just forget it.