I was waiting for my turn at the ante-room. Sir was teaching Violin for a small boy in the classroom. His mother was sitting beside him and assisting him. His younger sister, a small kid, sauntered out of the room and came and sat beside me on the couch. Her eyes darted here and there, looking at nothing and at everything at the same time. Caring to the none, she jumped and frolicked on the couch's hand rest. Her skirt went all over her. She moved her hands limply as if it was some hanging thing!
"What is your name?" I asked her.
"Shwetha," she said with a smile. Then, her face clouded as if it was an incorrect answer. Rather, incomplete, for she said again, "My name is Shwetha R. S." Initials were an essential part of the name!
To continue the conversation, I asked her "Which class are you in?"
Without a moment's hesitation, she answered, "Kamala Garden School."
I realised my question was in the wrong order. I guess everyone asks name first, school and then class. She was just rolling out the answers as if she had the answers ready for a leaked question paper!
Nevertheless, I continued, "Which school do you go to?"
This time, she understood the question, and answered, "Kamala Garden School" as if it was the first time she was answering me.
Then I asked again, "Which class are you in?"
I ran out of questions. So I became silent and focussed on listening to violin class going on. Its always a pleasure to listen when a music class is going on.
With nothing to do, Shwetha ran out of the ante-room out of the door, meddled with some things and came back to the ante-room. Roamed around the length of the room, went to the corners, stared at all the photos, squinted, made faces, and came back to sit beside me.
"You are not learning Violin like your brother?" I asked.
"No." An instant reply.
"Why?" I asked.
Without a thought, she replied, "I donno."
Fair enough, but I wanted to pursue the conversation and ask about her interests. So, I asked "So, what do you like?"
The response was again instantaneous: "Lollipop."
It was such an innocent answer! Of course, what else would kids of such age like?!
"What is your age?" I asked.
"4," she replied. And for the first time, asked me a question, "What is your age?"
It was something that I wasn't asked very often. For, most people with whom I hang out already know my age. It took a moment for me to recollect my age. "27," I replied.
She made an expression of exclamation as if it was an improbable age! She gaped open at me! I merely smiled back!
After some time, she asked, "What is your name?"
"Harsha," I replied.
She again went off somewhere. She was so full of energy and vitality, bouncing about, here and there! Joyously playing, with no shred of worry! Where do they get all that energy from?! It was a pure pleasure to see!
She came back to the couch and asked me: "Where is your mommy?" It was such a simple yet profound question. At age 4, you cant go roaming about without Mommy being within eye sight!
Yet, I replied, "My Mommy is at home." She received the response with equanimity.
We both sat silent for some time, listening to the music wafting through to us. Then, a mosquito came towards her. She waved her hands, threatening to hit it. She was smiling, as if mosquito was an automatic plaything sent to her from heaven!
"What is that?" I asked her.
"That is solle," she replied, solle being the Kannada translation to mosquito. Obviously she wasnt aware of the 'mosquito' word. I laughed at her innocence and taught her the 'Mosquito' word.
The music stopped from the classroom. It was my turn next. I turned to Shwetha, said 'Bye', which she returned, and headed to the classroom.
Simple, though, our conversation was, it was so refreshing!