'What animal is Sagittario and what sun sign am I?' he asked. "Well, you are Taurus and Sagittarius is usually an archer who's half-human, half-horse," I said. "But why are you asking me all this? What have you been learning in kindergarten?" I quizzed my five-year-old.
"No school on Monday till I get Metal Fusion," he announced, pulling me towards a toy shop. It wasn't my idea of a weekend outing but the Sunday Dad in me had relented out of guilt.
"Metal fusion is out of stock," announced the salesman and my wife's brow furrowed. I hadn't seen her as panicked about onion prices hitting Rs 75.
"Where else can we get it from?" she asked him. "Nowhere, supplies from China have dried up," said the pimply salesman, acquiring the tone of a Rajya Sabha veteran.
This couldn't have been the Jiabao effect. Wasn't the Dragon supposed to deluge the Elephant with Chinese imports? "What's the big deal about Beyblades ?" I finally decided to probe and asked my wife. "Hands-off dads like you wouldn't know better," was the stinging retort.
"All your son wants to see in newspapers is TV listings for Beyblade shows. He can't read but wants to know the sun sign of everybody from the security guard, to his teachers and friends. This is because the repackaged latttoo (spinning top) is a hit with children in our apartments and they come in sun signs. Hell, there's even talk of a Beyblade championship in January," she went on as my jaw dropped.
The last time I was enlightened on new-age toys was when Paddle Tops made an entry into my daughter's lexicon. And now the little Beyblader Samurai wanted one each for practice and competition and none were available. I was secretly relieved to save the precious Rs 700 (two books, six litres of petrol, 70 teabags went the Math) but sonny wasn't convinced. "Let's go to other shops. I'd have dinner only after I get one," he said and dived in the manner of a satyagrahi. In the middle of milling shoppers, I didn't have the heart to act ruthless dad.
The hunt continued till late at night till he fell asleep and went to school only after extorting a promise of two Beys. Readers who know where to get Pegasus Thunder Whip and Rock Aries please e-mail this author. Couriers, reindeers and Santa will be paid on delivery. Merry Christmas!