old man…

Sometimes looking for an opening sentence spoils the feelings you want to save in words for other evenings, to read and enjoy. This is exactly what is happening to me. The feelings, the emotions, the happiness is so complete and wholesome that finding the right words- words, able to carry the essence of the moment- remain elusive.

I can hear them laughing. Laughing with a care-free abundance. Peal after peal of happy, contagious laughter. They were playing a game of  Wii… Chacha and his two nieces, age ten and eight. Chacha is their father’s younger brother. They love him and wait eagerly for his weekly visits. Every Monday they come home from school and after they’ve  change their uniforms, rested and had their afternoon snack and are ready for a daily cartoon watching on the TV, they come to me and ask, “Dadi is Chacha coming tonight?”. And once reassured, they return to rest and relax after a hard day’s work at school. Sometimes there’s a slight change. Instead of a Monday, he would visit on a Tuesday. And the girls would be duly informed.

After dinner the girls usually have a window of half an hour to forty-five minutes to do whatever they would like and then off to bed for the next day of school. When Chacha comes rule relax a bit and they get a bonus half an hour.  But after that, one call from their Mama and they would leave whatever they’re doing and go to their room. No complaints at all.

Tonight also, after everybody was done with their food, one of the girls came to Chacha and said in a very nice and soft silken voice “Chacha, can we play a game of Wii? ”

“Yahss” or something similar to this sound was Chacha’s yes;  the game started and with that a happy jingle of laughter indicating how much fun they were having.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, listening to these heavenly sounds and smiling. Very much aware of a heart brimming with gratitude for such blessings; and thinking about a far away time still fresh in my memory like it happened only yesterday.

I love my afternoon naps. They rejuvenate my mid morning sapping energy. I sometimes call them my “beauty sleep”. So one afternoon I was trying to have a little shut eye session when my boys – age ten and seven – started playing “…this old man” on their harmonica. They had two of their friends with them who had come over after school (mothers being friends, it was not unusual when other children were allowed to come over and spend some time at our house until the parents would come in the evening to pick them up again.)

So, these boys were having a riot of a fun time. Usually the pulling force were computer games but that particular day, they were certainly a little hyper. Singing, talking loudly, taking turns on the harmonica and making me toss and turn in my bed, in my room, upstairs and behind a closed door. Can any one imagine what was going on?

At one point, when I thought enough was enough, and someone had to put some sense in their carefree brains, I got up, went to the staircase and holding on to the banister, I was about to give them a piece of my mind when with a sudden blast of music, one of the boys finished the last line on top of his lungs  “…this old man came rolling home ” and then another blast of carefree, happy and wholesome laughter. I even heard our house-boy’s amused chuckle.

I stopped. Hands on the banister, feet rooted in the marble stairs, mouth open to tell them to behave. Slowly that scowl turned into a smile. “No, how can I spoil their fun? I will talk about it later, but not now. Time passes so quickly and I won’t plant a bad memory in their hearts. No.”

And went back to my room and opened a book instead.

So, tonight I was listening and reliving a long gone time, acutely aware of their happy laughter, laughing with carefree abundance. I was also acutely aware that the old man time neither stops to take a rest nor slows down to let others have one. A moment lost is a moment lost.

Good Night.

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