The child who kicked me in the face!
It’s funny how when people are made to sit together for a while, a certain sense of familiarity grows and engulfs each soul. I am talking about train compartments especially in long train journeys. I am a frequent traveler by train and am now almost used to 36-hour journeys as my home is in Madhya Pradesh and I have been studying in Karnataka. These journeys are tiring and there is nothing to look forward to except watching paddy fields pass by, watching cows graze and rivulets flow, watching vendors scream and eunuchs pester passengers! As the train cuts across Andhra to Maharashtra to MP, the landscape changes, peoples’ facial forms change, the snouts of the cattle-folk also show a visible change. But, nothing fascinating!
During one such journey of mine, I sat with a family of three- a mother, a son and a daughter. The daughter was an all knowing granny, merely 4-5 years old. Her name was Moksha. She went on about how she hated boys and what she thinks the problem with the world is! She was very chatty and sometimes annoying. Seeing a picture of me and my girlfriend on my mobile, she asked- “Is she your sister?” I went “uhhhh… no, we are just friends..” looking helplessly to her mother. Her mother seemed like she had her hands full with the baby brother of Moksha. His name was Daksh. I liked their names. Had a nice ring to them.
I shifted my attention to Daksh, feeling somewhat embarrassed by Moksha. Thinking that the baby would at least not ask these questions. Oh, how little did I know! “Can I hold him aunty? You may take a nap, it’s a long journey!” I asked aunty. The lady thankfully didn’t think that I was a baby-thief, I looked decent, I mean I look decent but, there are days when I look like a chambal dacoit! Precisely the days when I run out of shave gel and freshly laundered clothes. But, let’s not go there.
So, I held the baby and went “Olelele cho chweet!” until I got a kick to my teeth. It was an awfully strong kick for a baby. I heard a chuckle! Apparently the baby was amused by my expressions after getting kicked. He tried it again! And it was funny.. to him and Moksha! The sister also joined in the party, she liked pulling my hair. It was a nice relief because two “kickers” would have been too much to take. One “kicker” and one “puller” created just the right balance.
After half an hour of afternoon nap, aunty woke up to see me being annihilated by her children. She pulled them away and rescued me, the rescue operation went for another good three minutes as Moksha had a firm grip and Daksh had started having fun! It was like snatching away a toy from a baby. Only that this toy had feelings.
One hour later, Daksh was playing in my lap and Moksha was telling me the list of her best friends in school. I guess, sometimes there’s a price you need to pay to get to talk to the little brats. For me the the price was acute reversible pulpitis in my left central incisor and a few hair lost. Not a big deal!