Last week he saw his three-month-old cousin. He asked his mother if babies grew up as fast as puppies did. He was mildly disappointed. But his 14-year-old mind did not linger on this for too long. There were movies that had to be watched, apps and music that had to be downloaded and dessert, which needed to be consumed.
Yes, his mind is flighty like that. Just as his feet are. He can never stand still. Must keep shifting his weight from one foot to another, or dance all over the place, as I called it. He is half my age but towers over me with his build. Hands behind him, he will meekly enquire if I want water, but will make it look like a threat, obstructing all my vision until I acquiesce.
Rakhi is one of our cherished days. He will quietly sidle next to me for dinner, plate in hand. His rakhi-laden wrist will reach out to feed me a pani-puri, a rare gesture on his part. He will remember to use all the magic words, please, sorry and thank you. He will be very finicky about the kind of rakhi he wants around his wrist and the mithai he wants to be stuffed with. And he will bend down and touch my feet for ashirwad with great alacrity. So much love is a little difficult to digest.
When he was about five, he put in a “special” request, “Can you tie me two rakhis instead of only one?” “I know you’ll have to do a little more kaam, but then don’t give me a birthday gift this time, okay,” he concluded. He was willing to part with his birthday money as well. He rummaged through his school bag for a pencil to write my name on two currency notes and hand them over to his banker, our grandfather, for safe-keeping. Yes, that brat could be sweet like that!