I had a problem with my left eye last week and I was waiting at the reception of an eye hospital for the doctor to summon me. It was a pretty long wait and was just getting boring when I spotted this small girl, roughly aged between 2 and 3, with hands hanging onto dear mother’s neck and legs comfortably wrapped around the mater’s tummy. She was fondly resting her face on her mother’s cheek, and sometimes suddenly, as if remembering something, took her mother’s face in her wee both hands and planted a kiss and continued to rest. The mother was busy talking to the receptionist when all this happened and of course, embarrassedly happy but I wondered how this little action was so significant. I mean, 20-30 years later this kid, then adult, will think twice about kissing her mother!
Then, the kid spotted her granny, sitting behind me. She slid down the mother and started half walking, half running towards her. This spontaneity was as if she had seen the granny for the first time, although she had come along with her and mommy to the eye hospital!
On the way to Granny, the kid’s wandering face latched onto something and it deviated from the destination. It walked for a couple of steps and suddenly fell down flat on the ground, intentionally. I then saw that the kid was performing what we Hindus generally do in temples in front of the Lord – genuflect. There was a big Lord Ganesha in the reception hall that I myself had not seen even though I had come to this hospital many times! Perhaps I had not seen it before because of the commonality of presence of Lord Ganesha in every other place these days in some form or the other! At the same time, I mused on how an upbringing of a child can self-motivate it to perform something on its own which it is taught to do or it has seen in adults, even without supervision and even without knowing the intent. This shows how important it is for the child to grow in a good environment.
This done, it resumed its journey and reached the Granny, who received her in the strictest of terms – there was no smile on her face matching the kid’s. Obviously, granny’s thoughts were on the problems of her eyes! Now that the kid was near me, it started shyly looking at me. Whenever I looked at her, it smiled and tried to hide its face at the same time. I returned the smile and tried to entertain her in as much of a way as only a face can endeavor to do.
For some time, it was restlessly shifting this way and that, annoying the granny, who wanted it to be ’Obedient’ and ‘Decent’ and ‘Sit still’! The granny gripped the kid’s wrist in what seemed like a dead-lock and the kid countered its attack in the only form known to her - wailing! Unable to withstand the grandchild’s wailing on top of an already acute issue of the eye problem, the granny let go of the child’s wrist. The child readily escaped and used its freedom to walk back towards mom – the sense of wanting to enjoy the company of the granny somewhat having turned sour.
On the way back to the mom, the kid perceived Lord Ganesha again and again fell flat on the stomach! It was as if the previous encounter with Lord Ganesha never happened! It got up, raised its hand towards the idol, and touched its (kid’s) own heart and repeated this action about ten times – just like how adults do at temples!
After some more wandering – to the nurse’s station, to the TV stand, to the exit door (which made her granny almost follow), to the stairs (which made her mom lie (scare) about cockroaches on the steps), to the elevator doors - it then finally reached the mom and climbed her body to regain her old resting posture – hands wrapped mom’s neck and legs wrapped around mom’s tummy. She stayed there for some time. The receptionist started talking to the girl and the girl was shyly hiding behind whatever mom’s possession she could lay her hands on. This went on for some time.
She got tired of this too after some time and slid down and again started walking here and there. Her walk was very unique. The left leg kicked an invisible football and the right leg made a semi circle for every stride. The hands went all around like a spinner’s bowling action and the head tilted unevenly. It was very comical – so obvious that she had just learnt how to walk and was totally enjoying it! If she were doing this walking action 20 years later, she would be assumed handicapped or labeled as a disabled person!
Once more, she came across Lord Ganesha, and she fell flat on her tummy! The same action of reaching out to the lord and touching the chest n number of times. The whole thing as if it was the first time she was seeing this idol! This time, she went near the idol, touched its necklace and other paraphernalia adorning the idol, and seemed amazed by it. Then, suddenly her granny was called to the consultation room, and her mom picked her up and the trio went away.
I was amazed at how a kid can keep itself busy, by being fascinated at the little things of life and here I was getting bored! Well, to my defense, as long as I was watching the kid, I wasn’t bored, and even I was fascinated by the ‘little things’ of life!