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Monday, July 23, 2012

It was one of those regular days.   The chores at home, tackled .

I had been postponing a trip to Malad.    With a bit of time on hand ,  I thought  I would finish that long overdue visit today.

Malad is home turf.  Had lived there for 12 yrs.. And the impressionable yrs at that.  The markets at Malad are popular for their wholesale trades,  and for several years, the housewife in me, used to prefer making her major household purchases there.  The grocery , the utility items and then some more.

Over the past couple of years,  the trips to Malad have been limited to the ‘comfortable to shop in ‘ malls.  The wholesale markets no  longer appealed.

However, some  things still are Malad specific.   Can go on and on about these, but then this post is not about Malad.

I was there on a social visit but couldn’t resist a quick walk through the crowded bazaar.  Made a hurried  visit to the Coffee Mart.  As I waited for my pack of warm freshly ground coffee powder, I noticed a grubby lad trying to attract my attention.   He must  have been  abt 2 and a half feet tall and about 5 or 6 yrs old.   Dark skinned, the dust marks on him appeared more prominent.  His  big bright curious eyes were  typical of his age. The eyes twinkling, reflecting  no trace of the haplessness of his condition.   Nor did he flaunt a pitiable expression on his face trying to evoke any sympathy.

Once I took notice of him, I heard him say something. Could not really make much of it.  So I went closer to him.  He was doing his best to communicate. The expressions on his face, the hand gestures and the tone of his voice suggested an urgency.  He clearly wanted something.   Malad is FoodLand.  Anywhere u glance, u will only see food.  I thought he wanted some money to eat  a wada pav or a pani puri at the stalls near the Coffee Mart.

The way he conducted himself was very impressive.  He wasn't begging.    Demanding ??  Yes.... but in very much  the same way  a child would , of his mother.  As a matter of right.  He wasn't audacious, nor was he being cheeky.

Something melted within me.  I went upto him and asked him, "kuch  chahiye, kya khaaogey?"  He kept gesticulating and making some sounds agitatedly.  I realised I would not be able to make any sensible verbal conversation  with him.  I followed his hungry gaze and looked in the direction his fingers were  pointing at.    In between the 2 stalls selling wada paav and paanipuri,  a  wee bit away  from the road, was a guy with a vending machine, selling some cold drinks.   There were about 7 tiny spouts on the contraption and each had a tag identifying the drink.

Having realised that he was being understood, he smiled.  The other vendors, started shooing him away.  But he wasn't daunted.  We continued our wordless conversation.  He made the appropriate grunts yet I was unable to fathom which one he preferred.  Then I decided to take a call.  Assuming  that an orange drink would be irrestible to a child, I ordered one.  The boy's gaze was now fixed on to the juice vendor. Observing each movemnet.  He obviously knew the routine.  The man picked up a disposable glass and a stirrer .   The moment the chap placed his finger on the orange tap, the little one yelled shrillly,   "Kaala wala, Kaala waala".  I could not resist a chuckle.   The little fellow  had his preferences and didn't shy from exercising them!!

His face changed a hundred expressions as he saw the tall transparent glass being filled ,  as the man tapped the glass and filled it again,  as he added the salt, stirred it and wrapped a tissue around it.

He gleefully took the glass offered to him and took a tentative sip.  He smiled...... a smile of satisfaction., of a happy contentment.  The smile was not for me.  I waited .  He did not even look at me.  He took another sip , a big one this tme .  He held the  glass upto his eyes to see how much of the juice it still held. Now that he was sure he wouldn't spill it, he turned on his heel .  Still holding the glass close to his chest with both his hands, he carefully crossed the road.  I lost sight of him soon enough. I wondered whether he took the glass  someplace where he could peacefully relish it, or whether he intended to share it with someone else; a  sibling?? a  friend ?? 

As I  moved away frm the stall,  I was smiling .  The boy  had  attitude. I admired his spunk, his innocence ,  still  unsullied by any negative experiences of an often unkind and whimsical society.

Sent a silent prayer to THE ONE above, to keep an eye on the young man and look out for him always !

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The son is  18 now, moving on to 19.   Is  studying and living away from home, in a different city, in a different state.  He manages to come home on long weekends , which sometimes adds to about  3 days in 2 months.   I miss  him sorely.  We had just begun to bond big time, after his 12th std exams, when the pressure of examinations had waned and studies had ceased to dominate the conversation.   He is a sensitive kind of a guy and  has nearly always been able to read me well.

It's one year since he has been away and yet it still takes some getting used to not having him around.

When he was a little boy and would  want me to join him at play, a tired, me, would sometimes yell at him - Leave me alone!
now  I am packing his bags , as he gets ready to go back to college, leaving  me  alone,

When his sibling was a baby and monopolised my attention, he would clamber into my lap with a wet slobbery kiss fr me . There have been days when  I have turned  my face  away
Today  ,  as I leaned forward to  caress him, stroke  his stubbled face... the teenager gave me a quizzical look and turned away,

and  I HATE IT,  I HATE IT,  I HATE IT  !!

He is not one for any PDA.

Yeah, its now a year  since he has been away.  Yes  , now it takes just abt 3 - 4 days to get used to not having him around all day.  I  know its for his own good and he wanted it that way.    But a  3 month long vacation is just making it even more difficult to let go of him.

It's not easy seeing a child off.

He is an adult now, 18 going on to 19.  A stocky frame,  standing tall at 6 feet 2 inches.

At the door step he takes my leave.  Allows me an  awkward , half-a- hug and walks down the stairs, waving good bye. I shut the door. and make a dash for  the pillows..... to stifle the sobs.

The door bell rings almost immediately, urgently.  It's him.    "U forgot something ??", I ask  him.  "Nothing" he says .  He attempts a smile.   But his lips curve  funnily. .... his eyes  glisten with a hint of tears swimming in them.

Selfish me, I take  advantage of his momentary weakness ...  pull him into my arms and plant that kiss on his cheek.      Gotcha !

Our laughter rings loud in the corridor as he bids me goodbye , for the  second time in 10 minutes.