Monday, September 21, 2009


Kids are highly interesting.

They suddenly appear at your elbow, staring at your computer while you scratching your head while squinting at a 91 page pdf about Communist hardliners in the early 80s and what they said to Gorbachev and why can't they say it in English oh it is English man I need a dictionary.

You look down at them, peering up at you, the small and warm things. They are so..comfortable with their bodies. It wasn't that long ago. How can you have forgotten? They lean on your shoulder and breathe down your forearm, totally indifferent to norms of social distance.

You need to entertain them. But somehow you don't know what normal kids like. Especially these days. You were always entertaining yourself with imaginary celebrity cartoons and horse rides in the Mexican desert as a kid. Oh, and alone.

So you look through your C and D drive. Um, no not those photos of your class trip. Or that folder with all the collections from 'Marc by Marc Jacobs'. So the older one takes over your computer (after politely asking) and plays something called Pinball which you didn't even know existed in your computer.

You attempt to educate the younger one (ah, the only thing you seem to know). So you take out that ginormous atlas you have and begin by pointing out where India is. But he seems more interested in the animal illustrations that accompany it and calls out all their names. Not bad. Even though that's not a donkey with a pouch hopping over Australia...

The atlas somehow is shut and now you two are racing small cars over its surface. He crashes into your car over the flag of Ghana. "License!" demands our young enforcer of the law. "I don't have one", I mutter sheepishly (ah that's me, always adding the twist like a good obedient student of scriptwriting that I am). "Okay, five rupees" says he. And you fork an imaginary amount over. Yikes! Five years old and he knows about corruption.

The game continues, with innumerable car crashes and somersaults and red lights and eventually you move over to pay some attention to the ten year old who has achieved impressive scores on Pinball. You show her pictures of your social awareness trip and then of your former college, rather wistfully. So many pictures. Why are you showing her this anyway? She comments about the make-up you've worn in one photo and that is why you, bespectacled, ponytailed and home clothes-clad look um, different right now. Observant children these days.

You politely excuse yourself and the dignified ten year old apologises for having interrupted the collapse of the Soviet Union. You turn to your computer screen, black and white words and things that happened long ago. But the police officer demands another car crash and you succumb.

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