A brawl peppered with resounding bawls and supported by a background chorus of barks greets Santosh Bakaya as she steps gingerly out in the foggy morning. But soon it turns into a happy song. 🙂
Today was another extremely cold day.
The weather bulletin said, it was a couple of degrees warmer, but I felt a couple of degrees colder, as I once again ventured out, rather reluctantly. Winter also seemed loth to bid adieu to a shivering and quivering world, but the scene in the park outside told a different story, warming me beyond words.
The very first sight that caught my attention was a two year old girl chasing a three year old boy, with a stick brandishing it like a sword, while her grandmother tried in vain to restrain her. The boy was playing with a bat and a ball, and the moment, he saw the girl approaching him, he bellowed loudly, hiding behind his grandfather, every now and then peeking out to see whether the danger had gone. But the danger was hovering around him, although the young and agile grandmother tried to scoop her up in her arms, the girl would slither down the restraining arms in no time, and once again brandish the stick, to the utter discomfiture of the three year old.
“Kitna darpok hai tu.” (What a coward you are!) I heard the grandfather rebuke him and I also heard him bawl louder.
“She just wants to play with you,” he assured him but the boy, petrified by this early display of women power, refused to be comforted and bawled louder.
Suddenly the bawls were drowned under an onslaught of barks – loud and angry. I turned in that direction and was appalled at the scene that met my eyes.
Outside the park, on the road, a well-clad woman was walking her three well-clad, well-fed, robust dogs, and all the strays in the vicinity were venting their wrath at the group, through myriad high-pitched barks, growls and grrrs. The lady frantically called out to the guard who shooed them away and then escorted her home safely along with her hoity-toity canine company.
Now, I turned back to see what was going on between the two toddlers, and once again was absolutely amazed at the scene that met my eyes.
The grandmother sat on a bench, with the two toddlers on each knee, while the grandfather of the boy stood a little distance away, smiling with avuncular warmth, every now and then looking in my direction with half a smile. The grandmother was singing, ah so beautifully, while the kids on her knees looked admiringly at her, the feud forgotten, the stick and bat lying on the ground.
I love to go a-wandering
Along the mountain track
And as I go, I love to sing
My knapsack on my back
I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun
So joyously it calls to me
Come join my happy song
Come join my happy song
I wave my hat to all I see
And they wave back to me.
As I headed home, I thought I heard the blackbirds calling out to me ‘so loud and sweet’, but, alas, that was in a world, now buried under the palimpsest of time, when a beautiful Irish nun had sung The Happy Wanderer song to a class of five year olds.
I too wanted to wave my hat to all I met, but I had only a cap, so dropped the idea. The brawl, the bawls and the barks will soon recede from memory, but one scene would forever remain etched in my mind and heart is of a majestic lady singing this song, with two kids sitting snugly on her knees one cold February morning.
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