November 2009


“Daddy…. I want bangles!!!” little Surumi yelled as she shook me up from my afternoon nap.

I felt irritated but tried to  smile so that she wont notice my irritation. She was our only kid and I wanted her to be happy. I tried to fulfill all her wishes and she grew up as a spoilt child. Even my wife was against my way of handling Surumi and she blamed me for the little one’s temperament and mood vacillations.

“Daddy….. bangles!!!!” she said softly, realizing that I was awake.

“Why do you need bangles now my dear…. I will get it for you in the evening when we go out for shopping” I said trying to pacify her.

“No….. I want it now!!!!” She shouted twitching her lips and I knew she was at the beginning of a sobbing spree.

My wife who was listening to our conversation gestured me not to cave in for her demands.

“Ok baby… I will get it for you” I said as I got up from the sofa. I looked at my wife and she pulled a face at me showing her displeasure on my contrary intentions. I ignored her stare as it was easy to endure than Surumi’s glumness.

I dressed up to go to the kids store and one my way out I asked Surumi “Are you coming with me?”

“No dad…. I will stay with mom and watch pokemon on cartoon network” she said.

I knew that she was interested in the latter part than the former. I smiled at her and went out.

The bangles section in the kids store was like a museum of colours. Bangles of all colours…… Green, blue, yellow, violet, red, white, black, magenta…. you name a colour and they have it. I selected two sets of bangles…… a set of green and another set of blue. The shop keeper smiled at me as he knew very well that my presence in his shop was coerced by Surumi’s mood swings. He neatly packed the bangles in a box and handed it to me. I paid him and left the shop feeling contended for finding the best stuff for my daughter.

As I opened the door, Surumi came running to me, screaming at the top of her voice. Screaming was her dearest way of conveying happiness. She grabbed the box from my hand and tore open the cover. The bangles fell on her lap and she picked one and looked at me with wide eyes.

“Dad… What is this?” She asked.

“Bangles.. my dear… green and blue ones” I explained.

She turned to my wife and said “Mamma….. this dad doesn’t know anything. I wanted ‘Bangles’ video game and look what he have brought…”

She threw the bangles on the floor and it broke in to a million pieces….. green and blue!!!!

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She might be around 12 years old… slim and beautiful…. with sleepy eyes, loosely tied hair, a heavy school bag on her shoulder and clad in a coffee brown pinafore with cream inner shirt…. a typical school girl. She lazily boarded the bus and with her droopy eyes she started exploring for a vacant seat. She was apprehensively eyeing the vacant seat next to me and slowly took a step forward but retraced nabbing her purpose at the last moment. She turned towards me, still fighting with her cerebrations and I gestured her to sit down. She sat down beside me but with great dubiety. The weariness due to a draggy day at school might have impelled her to make the decision.

She was not young enough to be my daughter and was not old enough to be my sister but I felt a similar bond with her. A fond regard which was unaccountable. The air around her, her slender arms with tiddly hairs, her visible cares of sitting with a man, the way she clumsily moved her head, her hand kerchief stained with blue ink, her uniform, the belt and the black shoes….. reminded me of the girls in my school days. I felt a sudden urge to go back to my school and to be with my friends.

In the short journey, I remembered all my friends in school- boys and girls, who were once an inherent part of my life.. whom I had gradually lost in the flux of time. I remembered everything… the small fights and quarrels, the pranks- on friends, teachers and all those who came by, the competitions- academic, curricular and extra curricular, the fests- house day, school day, sports day etc, the modest celebrations for Onam and Christmas, the treats for birthdays, the tensions of exams, the exultations and pain of results, the vacations, the rides in school bus, the thrill and anguish of being in love, the rules that were so tempting to be broken, the pangs of bidding adieu…. etc etc….

I sat beside the lovely girl and I felt as if I was back to the old halcyon school days. Such small instances can bring fond and warm memories of the bygone era. Though nostalgic, I felt so refreshed and happy too… inadvertently this little girl has made my day!!!!