Little brother, big brother


My little nephew, all of six, keeps his four older cousins on their toes, whenever the whole family meets up during the holidays.

It is fun to watch these four teenagers drop all their eye-rolling and headphone wearing behaviour to play games that my nephew wants. Games that mostly involve buses, cars, airplanes and a lot of role-playing and running around.

Image courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

He demands and gets their undivided attention, from the moment he is up everyday till he decides that he’s had enough.

And woe betide the cousin, who slinks away to do teen things. He goes after them and ensures that they get back to being drivers or pilots. But the older kids indulge their little brother every single time. They call him ‘their bundle of cuteness.’

When we all met up during the December holidays last year, my son and my nephew were engaged in playing games the entire morning. By lunch time, my son wanted a break. He pleaded with my nephew, who would not let go, and the boys ended up squabbling.

In just a few minutes, my son walked out and sat down on the couch, with a loud sigh.

My nephew came to me, clutching the right side of his chest and said, “Periamma, you know he (pointing at my son) punched me on my heart.”

My son jumped up to retaliate, “I did not” and then with his eyes narrowed my son said, “By the way your heart is on the left of your body, not the right, so this proves that I did no wrong.”

My nephew looked slightly taken aback, but was not going to back down. Very quickly he shifted his palm and placed it slightly below his right chest and said, “Ok, not my heart, but he punched my right lung.”

The entire household burst out laughing.

And very soon the two brothers made up and disappeared to play.

How quickly time flies.

And, just this week, my little nephew has a baby sister in his life. A tiny, pretty doll, whom he adores.

He has transitioned smoothly from being a little brother to being a big brother. He spends all his free time looking after her, cooing to her and generally showering her with love.

Time flies, kids grow, but our love only gets deeper for little, big brothers and their even tinier sisters.

Street play at sundown


High up in the sky, the moon is a sliver of silver on a late evening sky that is still blue. The moon seems to be gliding peacefully far above, totally oblivious to the goings-on below.

Down here, there is a sense of desperation, as people try to make the most of the last few hours of the weekend before the work week starts.

The market street looks chaotic. People, street hawkers and vehicles jostle for space, as they strive to reach their goals for the week.

Splashes of colour in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, sarees on display and vibrant colour baskets dot the crowded street.

Everybody seems to be in a hurry, there is a sense of urgency to people’s actions, to the last calls of the street hawkers attempting to close sales for the week. Then again, there are those who stop at local street food stalls to partake of chaats, pizza and other Indian snacks.

There is a sensory overload – a blurring motion picture of rainbow colours, the loud hum of human chatter, the aroma of street food, the weaving and the jostling…..!

Amidst all this chaos are the balloon sellers, who walk up and down the street carrying ballons, toy ferris wheels that spin merrily in the evening breeze and other toys that entice children, whose eyes trail the balloons even as their bodies have gone on ahead with their parents, who hold them in vice-like grips, lest they get lost in the teeming crowd!

We have to pause frequently as we walk down, simply because there is no way to move.

That’s when we stop to enjoy this evening street play!

The Toy Cupboard


The days seem to whiz past, the hands of the clock seeming to move faster, when nobody watches them.  The newborn has become a toddler, a tween and a teen. 

Picture courtesy – @ Can Stock Photo

Slivers of silver in the hair; time seems to have stopped briefly, only in digital pictures and short video capsules. 
I stand before the Toy Cupboard in the children’s room. I remember  my discussions with a carpenter (fifteen years ago) to design a toy cupboard that would be both child-friendly and visually appealing. The toy cupboard was delivered, and has been used ever since.

Toys are no longer in the ‘radar’ for my kids. Maybe it is time to retire the cupboard and buy something that would be more relevant.

Easier said than done. I stand before the cupboard looking at clearing some old toys. There are dolls and vehicles, predominantly. 

Barbies, dolls that can close and open their eyes, doll accessories (tons of them) from mini-wardrobes to laundry kits to party and dinner sets.  Echoes from the past waft around, a giggle here, a smile there, a teacher’s game, a mom bakes cookies game, playdough colours stretch these memories into wonderful shapes and vibrant moments.

Afternoons spent combing and braiding dolls’ hair. Then, the move to loom bands and badge-makers, and beading and card-making. Wonderful glittery afternoons spent with coloured tape, beads, string and sequins.

Then, there are the dinosaurs and trucks and cars and Transformers and Ben10 Aliens and more trucks, and magnets and tools and diggers and mixers. Days spent chasing imaginary enemies around the home, the sounds of vehicles moving furiously, accompanying the dash through the house.

Bows and arrows and Nerf guns, a warrior here and an action hero there, peeking from under the cot or standing up bravely for a cause.

Cuddly toy comforters, bits and pieces of broken toys, so many more – each and every one of them associated with a precious memory.

Where did the years fly? I relive those moments all over again.

I may not retire the cupboard. At least, not just yet!

Superhero saves the planet


When my daughter was born, life was different shades of pink. From pretty frocks to hair bands to pretty bonnets, pink ruled our lives.

With doll houses and dainty Barbies dotting our play room, little did we realize that all this was about to change, when our son was born.

The landscape now had pink oases of Barbies interspersed with metal planes, Transformers, cars and vehicles and plenty of dinosaurs roaming the terrain.

My son was in a perpetual state of motion – flying planes, fighting imaginary warriors and as a super hero, fighting hard to save the world.

A funny incident, related to this, comes to my mind.

The kids had their summer break and kept busy with their toys and games.  One of my daughter’s Barbie dolls had fallen into some wet paint, and so, had been washed and put to dry between the grills of the balcony.

Two of my son’s friends had come over to play and the boys were busy role-playing, as they spun webs, fought with plastic swords and ran about.

My son’s eyes fell on the Barbie. I was very curious to see him staring at it. He  called out in one of his super hero voices to his friends, “Come and see what I found!”

“We have found the enemy. Let’s capture her and save our planet.”

The innocent Barbie was whisked away and thrown under the cot, relegated to the darkness there.

Atleast, till his sister came to know about the incident. And then, all hell broke loose.

Messi needs to know


My son is growing up so fast. Like every other little boy, he has moved from toy cars and planes, to building blocks and Beyblades, to Ben 10s & Transformers, to Rubik’s cubes and his own glider invention, to football.

The flavour of the season is definitely football and  it looks like this season is going to last a while.

His toys,  and his sketches for his invention are forgotten, as he runs down to play football the moment he is back from school.

He is learning the lingo of the game, learning to identify players; comes back with spiked hair dunked in sweat, and is building loyalties. It is sweet to watch his indignation after a game with his friends, when he feels the other team won only by breaking the rules.  Another phase…..

This morning, while I sipped my coffee, I felt two little arms wrapping themselves around me. It was my son. We hugged each other a good morning.

His eyes then lit up. He said, animatedly, “Mom, do you know about the ‘sliding-side-slip’ tackle in football?”

I said, “No.”

He then launched into a detailed description of the technique, demonstrating to me its finer nuances and how his opponent would be left wondering where the ball went.

I nodded and asked, “So, where did you learn this? Who taught you? Did you learn it from Messi ( my son’s idol)?”

He replied, “No, no, I invented this tackle, it is fantastic.”

I am struggling with laughter now.

He then said, “Maybe this will help Messi also. Messi needs to know this. Can you send him an email?”

Yes, Messi needs to know! ….I laugh quietly to myself.