popotamus and boman

Thanks to the wonder of Skype I get to see and talk to my grandson every day. Never mind that the 12 hour time difference muddles our good mornings and good nights! Anyway we get to live a few moments together and that is nothing short of wonderful. Agastya treats me to his version of daily trivia. The latest was his visit to the zoo where he saw a popotamus! He then went on all fours to show me what the popotamus was all about. Then it was showtime for the new toys he had be bribed with: the transformer, the car, the truck. Yes the kid has to be bribed because he does not like the new school he goes to. Understandable as till now he was attending the project why creche where he was king of the castle and the centre of all attention. This despite my repeated pleas to treat him as any other kid. But all pleas well on deaf ears: he was Anou Ma’am grandson.

I keep or at least try to keep a straight face when his little face crumples, his radiant smile vanishes at the mention of school. I try to convince him that his school is nice, his new ma’ams kind but my heart is not there. I guess both of us will have to get used to the new reality. I need to accept that he is growing up. But I know that from now on in our home a hippopotamus will always be called a popotamus just as an AC is a thanda machine (cold machine) and cars are vroom vrooms.

My thoughts go back to another little boy, now all grown up, who added the word Boman to my vocabulary. It was ‘bhagavan‘ or God and was to this little fellow anything that was big, made of inert material and had to be shown respect. Never mind the creed! The little boy has grown up and now does not use the word anymore. His God has now assumed an identity and a creed. I only wish all Gods remained Bomans. The world would be a much kinder place. I still find myself praying to Boman when things get tough. Maybe he is the real God of Lesser Beings I so often quote. Children make the world a better place and give us the best lessons in life. Why then do we not listen.

Far from that. We commit the terrible sin to letting them down and even abusing them. Every day stories of such abuse hit us in the face but we chose to look away and shut our ears. I urge you to try and listen, just once if you can. And if you do miracles will enfold and light your life. And if each of one did then the world would be a safer place for children at least. I wonder what would have happened to Utpal, Babli, Meher, Manisha and so many others if I had not listened.

Today little Falak is fighting a lonely battle. Every breath she takes is a loud scream that she wants us to listen to, if not for her, at least for all of India’s suffering children. Will we hear her?