Agastya my darling grandson finally left yesterday after 3 glorious months. A deafening silence pervades the house. It is almost eerie. Gone are the pattering of little feet and the giggles. Gone is the delightful prattle that got us all mesmerised. His last words were enchanthing. When asked by his mom to say bye to the staff in the kitchen Agastya set off on a mission to bid farewell. After saying a bye bye kitchen, he ran out and started a litany of byes: bye bye house, garden, bicycle, flowers, grandpas' office and so on. He was so excited that he forgot bye bye nani! I did not say anything as I was busy fighting my tears.
The past months were a whirlwind. Every things was centered around this two and a half years bundle of joy. Our sleep time, waking time, eating time and above all playing time were orchestrated by the exacting yet adorable ring master. I was reminded of a quote by Sam Leveson: “The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent", a role I gladly played. At times I was on my fours playing with toy cars. But the preferred game was his version of Simple Simon: he led and we followed. Up, down, on your knees, touch the floor, wave your hands, roll them, hop, skip, jump. There was no respite as you followed the little man who got cross if you dared sit down. Forgotten where the creaky knees, or the hurting back. You just became a child and the special God children pray to ensured that the batteries of the toy were always charged and the pain on hold. All you skills often forgotten were tested: running, drawing, painting, singing. Even if you had never done it before you were commanded to draw a car and boy you did and even if it looked like nothing on earth it still brought a huge smile on the loved face.
There were special treats: a visit to the local the park, a day at Utpal's school, a trip to the rides at the Kalka Temple and above all trips to the toy shop. Each was laced with oodles of fun and merriment that warmed the cockles of my old heart. Then there were the goodies: the hugs and kisses lavishly dealt out when he was in a good mood. They were heavenly and had the mysterious capacity to make you forget all your worries and woes. Life stood standstill and perfect. Time raced at the speed of light, each day melting into another without respite. One was so taken in by the magic that one forgot that this special time was limited and the day would dawn when the little one would fly away and leave you with your aches and pain and a bleeding heart.
Today time hangs heavy. The stairs that one ran up and down behind a little elf now look daunting as one climbs then slowly a step and a moan at a time. All the pains and worries put on hold loom larger than ever. The house is still replete with the toys, cars and clothes of the little one. Slowly they will be put or given away and the house will again regain its adult look. The pedal cars, scooty, and bicycles that the little fellow parked so painstakingly next to his granddad's one before he left will soon be removed. How I will miss them. I remember how vehemently I had reacted some years back when little Utpal had left for boarding school and someone decided to put his bright yellow pedal car aptly christened 'yellow submarine' away. I wanted it left there, for me to see everyday. This time I did not murmur a sound when the neatly parked toy vehicles were put away. They would adorn the drive again when Agy came back.
I will slowly pick up the scattered threads of my life as it was before the bundle of life and energy landed upon us. The aches and pain will reclaim their lost place. Problems and fears will also once again take centre stage. The laughter and giggles will soon give way to frowns and worry lines. The sleepless nights that had vanished will reappear with a vengeance. New games will have to be conjured to fill empty time. I will have to learn to live on two time zones to catch a glimpse of the beloved face on a screen. Bless technology. Yes an old woman to have to live again till her little buddy comes back and makes her feel again.
Bye Bye little one. God bless you!