When Dr. Raj would thrash Vajramuni…in plastic…

“I can’t carry this up” declared my mom. It was a pretty large tub full of wet clothes that needed to be carried to the terrace – 2 floors up. I picked up the tub and made my way up the stairs. At the end while I unlocked the doors my mom stood there panting away. “I can’t climb these stairs so easily these days” she said. “Well, you don’t need to, just tell me and I’ll go get whatever you need” I offered. The tugs close to the heart followed as I remembered that I’ll have to go on to Seattle in a couple of weeks leaving them to manage things on their own. Such empty promises. I managed to open the door and stepped out into the sunlight. It was a typical Bangalore morning. The warmth catching up as the Sun tries to clear up the mist and get the day going. A lovely day seemed to be in the offing.

I looked around to find the clips for the clothes line. There were many lying around. Closer inspection and they were all broken. Wind, Sun and my mom’s handling had taken their toll. My mom had working ones in a box which she now set over on a wall. All I could think of was how these clips had never ever lasted long, always lying broken, ensuring that it was almost always on the shopping list each month. She even wanted to buy some from the US hoping that they’d last! “You know, you could buy something more expensive and it might last much longer” I told her. “They are pretty expensive already these days!” she countered. I did not try answering that. You can’t always solve all the problems in the world. I helped her put the clothes on the clothes line and then we made our way back down into the house.

A while later my niece, all of 17 months sat down to play with her toys in the mat laid out for her. She picked up a couple of clips lying around and started playing with them. And the stories came back unleashed in a rush. The yellow one would be Dr. Raj or Vishnu or Ambarish depending on the latest movies released and playing on Chitramaala and the darker, duller ones invariably Vajramuni. Soon, as coloured clothing for cricket set in, the blue ones became the good ones and other colours had to be content with playing Vajramuni, being bashed and thrashed as plain white good vanquished plain black evil. And then the taller ones came in, made of wood. Difficult to characterize and differentiate due to lack of any colours, they became Amitabh Bachhan – tall, strong and angry. It was a time when clips meant a whole world of colours and had hidden stories waiting to be told – simple and epic. When you could spend hours hearing them out and not wonder what others thought about them. When breaking those clips made mom angry.

Sometimes wish life could be so simple again. But then looking at my nephews and niece as they go around their lives, sometimes trying to go down a slide face-first, sometimes moving their little fingers to the skies as they dream their dreams in sleep, sometimes cooking up little things in their little bowls and asking you to taste them, or asking their grandparents to hold them one last time before they go home and I wonder if this is how it is meant to be…

I guess that’s the beauty of life…keeps you guessing till the very end…


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