“Dada, what do you want to be, when you grow up?”. When my three- and half-year-old son, asked me this question, my entire life came crashing down in front of me- well almost.
Before Corona (BC), we had these talks sitting at a nice cozy Tim Hortons close to our residence, but now ,we seldom went out, like most of the rest. There are some people- the ultra-immune ones who still have the guts to venture out, but not us. The ever-worsening pandemic had changed lives. With so much time around him, my son’s questions had become more profound- like the aforementioned.
Well, what do I answer?
Here was a man, thinking he is leading a good life- a grown-up life, a beautiful wife and a son, little hair to lose sleep over, pretty much comfortable in his current state. And then suddenly an innocent question shattered everything. Have I grown up?
The question haunted me for a little while until I realized I actually had not grown up. There still was a tiny bit of my son within me even now and he had rightly noticed it. I think we all have that child in us, which needs to be let out sometimes in a day ?.
“Dada, what do you want to be, when you grow up?” he asked again.
After gathering myself, I replied, “You tell me what do you want to be”.
Without blinking he replied, “I want to be a policeman”.
The minute he replied policeman, I shot back “I want to become a thief”.
“Then I can catch you,” he said excitedly, already donning his imaginary police uniform.
“Yes, of course” I said.
“Then run. I will stand here and close my eyes. You hide there behind the sofa and I will catch you”. The newest Covid-19 ground rules for the age-old hide and seek game were laid. I agreed. He took some time to find me, even though my big fat belly, peeped out through the small gap between the wall and the sofa. He first went to the bedroom shouting the police siren and then went to the kitchen, before he came behind the sofa and caught me.
“Dada … Run,” he said, trying to make the game more interesting.
I just thanked God that I wasn’t a thief. I would have been a lousy one. I had given up. Just sitting there for two minutes, cramped up had scared the daylights out of me. Lack of exercise had made all my body parts creaking and cranking- not all, almost all ?. As I struggled out from that previously unknown corner of our house, which I was sure I would never visit for the near future, the policeman helped me.
“I should go for walks from tomorrow” I mumbled.
“To make your tummy small” the little policeman replied in a flash, which brought torrents of laughter from my wife, who was busy in her work at her makeshift office table- which at BC times, used to be our dining table.
I liked this word “tomorrow”- just because tomorrow came every day! I don’t know of any other word which was this useful for a lazy bum like me. Initial lockdown days were fun, welcoming the much-needed break from our so-called hectic work life. The lockdown would provide us the ever-eluding gift of time, we thought.
However, after receiving the gift of time, I had squandered it. My day began with a brisk walk from my bed to the makeshift office space- sometime I opened my emails even before I brushed my teeth. Then there was breakfast, sometimes at lunchtime or just before that, pushing my lunch to tea time and tea to just before dinner. There was little doubt, my stomach would protest and it did, by swelling and protruding out in between the shirt buttons, which by the way had not felt my body for the past 6 months!
By this time, my son has changed his aspirations from a policeman to an airplane driver and it was good for me. I just had to lie down on the mat with my arms outstretched, while he sat on my back and drove the airplane.
And then there was an accident! The driver rolled down from his seat into the mat, as there was turbulence. The reason for such heavy turbulence was again my stomach. It made the aircraft unstable, for obvious reasons.
“Look Ian, guardian angel saved you from this nasty fall” It was the right time to inculcate some holy habits into the kid.
“Who is that?” To all people who want to venture into teaching kids, plan well before you impart your grown-up knowledge to them!
I simply showed him the small statue of guardian angel which holds a prominent place on our altar.
“How did he save me from there?”
“Well, everybody has their own guardian angel”
Before I could continue, he asked “Where?”
“On top of the head, over your hair”.
I think the brain of today’s kid works faster than Chacha Choudary’s. Without blinking he asked, “You don’t have a guardian angel, dada ?”
“What made you say so?” I asked
“You don’t have hair. Where can guardian angel stay?” A very logical thought.
“For people who don’t have hair, guardian angel stays close to the ears. ” I said without giving his brain more things to chew on.
The rest of the evening went well and it was time for his bath “Mamma, no head bussha today. Otherwise, my guardian angel will fly away”
Sitting in the living room, I could hear the conversation between mother and son and I think it will take another article to cover it.
It was fascinating though.