Well, she is my granddaughter, 21-month-old little Anaysa. She was to leave for the US when we decided to spend maximum time with her. With only a day left, I planned the entire day. We went to the lake and fed her favourite duckies. We also had a rickshaw ride. It was a day stuffed with Hi-Fives, Peek-a-boos, ghoomi-ghoomi, and gooli-goolis. We also went to our backyard where she called out to the ‘white bird’ saying, “Wi-baad,wh-er-you! Kahan ho!” And the bird did turn up.
She posed for photos as if she understood we would need them during her stay away from us. She was a tad more lovey-dovey that day than usual. Early morning the next day she said a casual “Good morning” to me. I tried to pamper her as usual, but to no avail. She simply cold shouldered me — not jumping on to my lap, not responding to my gimmicks. All through the train ride she avoided me. Anaysa’s sudden change in behaviour, particularly towards me, baffled me. “Perhaps to make you feel the pangs of her separation in little less measures,” my wife tried to console me. “How can a child less than two years old be so impish, so elfish?” I wondered sadly.
On the way to the airport, Anaysa was sleeping in her Dadi’s lap with her mother next to her. I was in front with her father. We arrived at the airport. I stepped out to find out the right entry. When I rejoined them, Ana was looking through the window. She smiled at me. My wife told me that the moment I had moved out of the car, she had said, “Where has Dadu gone?”
Back home, those empty spaces till then filled with screams, bawlings and yelps, stared back at us. “Life is like that only,” my wife and our younger son tried to console me. “Grow up Dadu! Crying like kids! Chee-chee-chee!” Ana would have said if she were around.
Next day the phone rang. “Hello Dadu! How-er-you? Love you! Mich you!” And life came back to me.