There is a long time yet to teach her the moves. The ‘moves’, you know. Given that clumsiness is my other name when it comes to making the ‘moves’ that matter, I can bet my left brain that she will quickly understand that I am the last person in the galaxy to pick up lessons. On making those kinds of ‘moves’!
There are some slimy gents you know. Gents who deviously use harmless homonyms as a tool to get by. Count me amongst them. My quest over the past several days has been to teach her other ‘moves’.
Lest someone fault me for not teaching her any ‘moves’! Except that my kinds of moves are about running, climbing, jumping and the like. It is an awesome bonus to notice the daughter’s hyper exhilaration as she tries several new things. For instance, walking on a tree branch.
For the last week or so, our quest, that is me and the daughter’s, has been to get her to walk on a low branch of a strong tree in the neighbourhood. She wraps her slender palms as tightly as she can around my arms and takes fledgling unsteady steps on a branch that is, say four or five feet from the ground.
Each step accompanied by a shout of “Har Har Mahadev”. I mean, some loud cackle that could as well be meant to mean “oh my God” or whatever equivalent that appeals to you. Perhaps, “Billions of blue blistering barnacles”. “Ten Thousand Thundering Typhoons”. . Whatever. Just make sure it is pronounced and with a piercing emphasis like Captain Haddock would.
Every step, she walks on the thick branch I walk on the ground. Holding both her hands. Or rather, she holds my hands. Tightly. We are having fun. I am extra watchful. My brain pounds away at the risk that a silly game like this brings along with it, while the heart leaps about in joy just hearing her shrill yet squeaky announcement of her thrill.
Passersby give me the loathsome look. One mother tells another in a rather soft tone that the Prime Minister in far away New Zealand could have heard, “such over-achieving parents wreck their childhoods”. I want to roll on the floor with laughter. We have been at it for 10 minutes now and there have been as many comments as there are awards in shady awards night for Bollywood celebrities.
You see, please allow me to digress and explain one aspect of my life. The measures and standards I have for myself in my life.
For example, there is a certain standard for figuring out the severity of the gross indiscretion that I indulge in. Kind of a measure. A gauge. It is simple. I measure my indiscretions by the speed at which the missus gets to know what I am up to. The greater the indiscretion, the quicker she gets to know!
Right now, it is the eleventh minute. The phone rings. It is the missus on the line. The news has reached. And the rest is history. We are soon home. What follows is a dark part of history that shall stay under wraps. For the purposes of continuity of this story, let’s say ‘the family had an early dinner and went to bed’. Ok?
The next evening I hurry home from work. A tad late for the tryst with the tree and the daughter. In the middle of the room stands a cycle. A tricycle, if you will. Yeah. Three wheels. A bright red pedal. Looking super cool with a canopy and all that.
“Whoah”. I say.
The missus has thought of saner ways of making moves. “Come on, I howl. Let’s go”. I pull both of them. Off we go to the play area.
As the lift makes its way down the many floors, I imagine setting up the cycle and getting the daughter to sit on the seat. It does resemble a chariot of sorts. Would she wave at curious onlookers, I wonder. Or maybe start pedaling right away, perhaps. I even think that this is a super topic for Parentous. I am rubbing my palms. All in excitement. Confident she would take to the cycle like a charm.
We get to the play area. I confidently get the daughter seated. Like a king anointing his son as the new finance minister. For six and half seconds there is complete silence. The seventh second sees some strange sound. At the 8th second, there is full-blown howling! Howling which loosely translates to “Get me out of this contraption and cast it to the moon”.
I look at the missus. The missus looks at me. ‘This is what happens when she learns things like climbing trees”. She says and looks away. The howling continues.
I cajole. I plead. I play elephant. I do my clumsy somersaults. I pull my cheeks. Puff them up. Usual stuff that gets her happy. Today she is having nothing of it. Nothing moves her. Not even the crowds of onlookers, who have flocked the car parking lot, like a swarm of bees to an open honey bottle! I am a tad embarrassed looking around. Maybe I should pass a bowl around, I think.
I give up. Lift her off the cycle. She continues howling. Nonstop. A few passersby give me the looks. New looks. One more second there, they would ask me if she was indeed my daughter or I was the new child snatcher in the neighbourhood.
Something strange suggests that I run to the tree. We run. All three of us. I drag the missus along. Who drags the cycle along. We must have been spectacularly hilarious to watch.
In a few minutes, the daughter plants her tiny shoe on the now familiar bark of the tree. The howling stops. She smiles. Walking on the branch gets the small feet come alive not to speak of the shrill thrill in the voice!
From the corner of my eye, I spot the missus having her hands over her eyes in fear. I have a sinking feeling that it’s going to be an early quiet dinner tonight as well.
Anyone watching us must have thought it to be a live rendition of a free comedy show. Only much better. Picture this: A happy daughter walking on a tree with thrill beholden shrieks, holding her brave dad’s hands, who is sweating by the bucket. Scared stiff that he not only has to contend with the lack of approval from the mother, but has to battle her (and the neighbours’) express disapproval! A mother who herself is holding a colourful tricycle and shaking with fright, like an aircraft in turbulence.
Of course that night, well shall we say, the family had a quick dinner and went to sleep.
The pedals have thus languished in the living room for three full weeks awaiting those tender legs to work on them. Legs that have found a tree to be far more worthwhile. Legs that get a sprightly dart the moment they see the cycle. Meanwhile, we have been working on the tree. Me and the daughter. With even more gusto. Am happy to report that she can walk with a slightly less tight a clasp of my hands.
The missus has given up on us. I would like to think the neighbours have as well. The dinners at home are better. We talk these days. Topics like cycles or for that matter, trees, don’t figure in our discussions. For some strange reason.
Kavi dabbles in writing, reading, traveling, photography, long distance running amongst other things. He and Shanti have their hands full with their adorable toddler, Kayal. In-between all of this, he gives an arm, leg and everything else to earn a living. Usually accomplished by punching keys, attending meetings and trying to sound profound. He blogs at http://kavismusings.blogspot.com & tweets @kavismusings. Just in case you are intrigued enough to know more about him please head to http://about.me/kaviarasu.