I first met Sanjay, my grandson, only when he was seven months old. At the very first sight, after he landed on Tenkasi railway station in January, 2010, he jumped to me and never complained about my company. He was a diaper baby, wanting to be held by people all the time. Whenever it was time for diaper-change, his father, who was a master storyteller, told him stories spun out of thin air and dodged him. And he listened intently and laughed. Sanjay wondered at everything; a small used tooth brush or water jetting out of the pipes is all the same to him. He loved playing in the water. He made a few attempts to sit on his own, couldn’t maintain his balance and fell on his back all the time. Soon, he went back to U.S.A and I met him again, only a couple of months later, when I too joined them in their place.
Sanjay, by then, had become quite active, crawling everywhere and moving around. He became mischievous too. He received admonishments from everyone for a host of things, but he always disarmed people by his laugh.
He preferred the kitchen utensils, plastic boxes, spoons, and a host of household things to the fanciful toys people bought for him. He liked tasting the mud and dirt when he knew we weren’t noticing. He loved listening to music while trying to sleep, watched the birds perching on the tree tops calling forth their comrades ‘cuckoo, cuckoo…’, deftly managed to dodge us when we brought food to his mouth, howled when we were not around or when we placed him in his crib so he couldn’t escape, screamed when he couldn’t explain what troubled him otherwise, and thus he was growing. His only mode of communication with us was either screaming or sign-language.
That was the first time, I closely observed a child growing; I am sorry that when my own children were growing up, I was more obsessed with my career and work and thanks to my wife, I remained virtually ignorant of how the children grew up.
Soon, Sanjay learnt to stand up on his own. We were excited. For several days, we had expectantly waited with our video camera on, hoping he would walk, but he didn’t. Just after a few days of his first birthday and just a few days before we headed back to India, as though he wanted to oblige us, he took a few steps and walked when we least expected. He was more ecstatic than us on his accomplishment, clapped his hands in a mood of self-adulation and frenzy. He clamored a lot and looked around with pride. We rushed to fetch our video cameras and he didn’t fail us. He walked again, this time a little longer. He felt even more excited. And then, he walked more and more.
His curiosity grew gradually in more and more areas. He learnt how to be adamant and insistent to get his things done from us. We invariably obliged. He always wanted to have everything we had. He wasn’t afraid of trying things we usually forbid small kids to do, pumping up our blood pressure. But he loved doing them, no matter what we thought about them.
In the course of three months I spent with him, I observed him closely and I realized he was teaching me something profound! He appeared to be my Little Guru in the making.
To be continued …………………..