When our 3-year-old Grand Daughter (GD) came from abroad to spend a fortnight with my wife and me, we had no clue about its impact, such as - drastic changes in our daily routines, including, longer time for daily chores, forgoing afternoon nap, skipping badminton play to name a few. She also made us think on many things that we ignored or never questioned.
For example, one of my daily routines was hanging washed clothes at the terrace for drying. This used to take about half an hour. With GD tagging along with me, hiding the clips, demanding that the many pillars should be put into use to play hide and seek, the duration of the task doubled.
GD, like all the kids of her age, was full of questions, sometimes even offering solutions, playing unexpected roles, and in the process, offering many surprises.
One morning, I took her to a cow shed nearby. While watching it being tethered, listening to the sound of milk hitting the collection vessel, she asked, like a physicist would “ Thatha, why the sound keeps changing as the container gets filled?”.
Later, when she noticed the cow urinating bucketloads to the ground and messing up the floor, like a marketeer looking for new applications for an existing product, she suggested “Ask that uncle to fit a diaper to the cow.”
Another day, I got her a bottle of soap solution and a ring that produces bubbles. She quickly learnt how to blow them, and asked me like a scientist “How come the colorless liquid becomes colorful bubbles? “When I answered that it’s called “Raman Effect”, she exclaimed “Oh Thatha, you are awesome!”.
One evening, while playing in a garden, I pointed out a centipede and told it has about 100 legs. She, like a budding entomologist, demanded that I catch it and count the legs.
Her favorite past time was singing ‘happy birthday to you’, every day to her parents and then to us. Once, during our evening stroll, a street dog, noticing her as a stranger, snarled at her. While I got scared, GD, instinctively, sang ‘happy birthday to you, doggy’ in a soft and melodious tone. And then the unbelievable happened – the dog started to wag its tail.
During one of our walks towards the garden, I, like most Indian men, was walking ahead, while GD was holding her ’paatti’s hand, following me. Suddenly, she shouted “ Thatha, stop!”. I got scared, halted and looked back. She came to me and demanded that I hold ‘paatti’s hand and walk, as that’s the etiquette. With a lot of hesitancy and embarrassment I obeyed her. GD smiled. I felt good for two reasons.
The two weeks passed in a jiffy.
But my memories of GD will linger forever.