“Jaaalebiiiiiiiii”! , she screamed at the top of her voice. Accustomed to my own inner silence it came like a bolt from the blue. There she was, in the middle of the street, her fists clenched tightly in mine, the other hand tugging at my shirt but with a twinkle in her eyes and excitement that came out of her lungs at full burst. I felt like I had gone back twenty years in time where a piece of jalebi meant joyous celebrations, where we didn’t have ads on television asking ‘kuchh meetha ho jaye’ and in the process, trying to change the whole definition of ‘meetha’.
“Kaku, chalein?”, she looked at me with the loveliest of expressions that only a heartless wretch could have ignored and well, let’s say, she tugged at my own weakness for sweets and we just ran across the street like two little kids. Although, in her defence it can be said that she is a little kid and at that moment her 25 year old kaku, who otherwise wouldn’t have wasted time in lecturing about excessive sweetness and lack of hygiene etc etc ,didn’t mind being a kid himself. First bite and a sound of “yummmmy” coming from across the table made me chuckle and I realized that I wasn’t the only one with that expression on my face. Most of the people around me were watching her with identical expressions that could only be construed as pleasure even if vicarious.
“kaku, 2 aur. pleasssssse”(2 more please). Ever mindful of the female folk at the house that included our mothers who would surely accuse me of spoiling her, I wanted to say no but ended up saying “kisi ko batana mat!” (don’t tell this to anyone). Though I knew that wasn’t surely going to happen. She would go home and give everyone a description of where we went, what we did and most importantly, how many things she ate. Sounds funny but that’s how she is. Oozing with boundless energy and infecting everyone with happiness wherever she goes, she never fails to remind me how we should be.
That we have to work and work hard to chase goals, most of which, are more dear to us than our dear life itself, shouldn’t be an impediment in being happy with oneself and who we are. That it took a four year old to remind me of the pleasures of life isn’t quite surprising. It has been almost twenty days since I left college and I have had the opportunity of being with kids of my cousins. Although, I didn’t have much time in Mumbai but whatever little time I spent with them made me realize that each of them have an experience of a lifetime in them. Words have a habit of being exaggerated, especially when one happens to speak of things very close to one’s heart but happiness isn’t a utopia, something that I knew very well but just didn’t know where to look for it, all the while forgetting ever so comfortably, that it was all within me. After all, learning is a continuous process :)