A long lashed baby girl, elegant and languid emerged into this world with a blasé yawn. To face travails and joys with equal measures of élan and sheer impishness.
From diapers and mashed purees, she wobbled in a headlong rush towards the next experience with gleeful exuberance. Toothless grins, and bright eyed wonder in place, she ran eagerly through her pre-school years, to emerge into the wondrous world of kindergarten. Her delighted reaction to word games and arithmetic filled her teachers’ hearts with unbridled joy…
Ayesha was born to conquer with her dimples and her sunny smile...
But…bedtimes were war-zones. Fraught with tears, pleas for ‘one more story’ desperately needed sips of water and countless trips to the bookshelf for the favourite music box…the list of delaying tactics was unending!
And that was the beginning of Gubli & Rinky’s Adventures. Born out of a mother’s desperation to send her bright-eyed bushy-tailed offspring to sleep.
Gubli and her puppy Rinky chattered with monkeys at the zoo, watched dragonflies swoop menacingly over the tabby in the tree, and frolicked on the dew laden grass picking up sticky blue flowers on Rinky’s fluffy tail. Their adventures grew more and more improbable with every passing night. And with each telling, they grew more daring, encouraged by Ayesha’s giggles and wide eyed wonder.
On her birthday, Ayesha found a gaily wrapped present and miss spelt card from her nocturnal friends. They were tucked under her pillow, and discovered with shrieks of delight! Surely, as bright as she was, she guessed that Gubli was in fact her mother, but it suited her to indulge her doting parent. Her pretence of gullibility earned her many more Gubli stories in the dead of night!
Another battlefield was the dining table.
Eating was a huge waste of time, when so many delights demanded one’s attention…the bright red and yellow tricycle with the secret compartment (where Ayesha’s treasures found refuge) the goldfish madly circling the bowl in search of a life, the crisp green guavas hanging tantalizingly out of reach…
Mom’s ingenuity came to the rescue once again.
Fish eating was a drag. Bits of bekti were frequently rejected or regurgitated, till the day mom’s diamond ring was swallowed by the giant Fish That Lived in the Hugli.
After that, Ayesha would frantically dig into her piece of fillet to look for hidden jewels, gobbling up the flakes to get them out of the way in her search…
And so it was stories to the rescue once again.
Montessori began with a whimper. When the excitement of the bunny school bag and the bright yellow water bottle wore off, pleas of “maman, I want to go home” pierced the air and her mother’s heart. But within a week, Ayesha sped away from the safety of her mother’s lap to join her new found friends. With pride and the first signs of gender bias, she announced that her girl classmates quit crying long before the boys gave up wailing for their mummies.
The stage was now set for life. The roles defined. Relationships that were to last forever were formed in the playground.
A subtle shift happened. “Maman” was replaced by “Miss Bose” as the font of all knowledge. School holidays were filled with ill concealed impatience to go back to the classroom filled with wondrous experiences. Homework was fun – a link to the world of discovery. Sums were attacked with alacrity. Coloring books filled in with concentration. Life, in short, was exciting!
Sports Days brought nervous fathers to the school lawns. Corporate Lawyers vied with bankers and doctors to win the tug of war that ended with laughter and an undignified heap for the losing team. Knife edged creased formals were dusted off and moms rushed in where dad’s were afraid to tread…the needle and thread replaced the eggs and spoons, while digital cameras busily recorded these moments for posterity.
Stories now gave way to story books, though bedtimes when her eyes drooped with fatigue, Gubli and Rinky were dusted off and brought out again to aid in the sleep process. The world was expanding and Grumpy Dragons, Purple Parrots and Disney characters entered to take their rightful place in Ayesha’s imagination.
Holidays in distant lands - Delhi being the furthest she went as a child - gave her mom fodder for exotic locations. They also gave Ayesha the opportunity to enjoy new experiences, in unfamiliar places. Her imagination ran riot. She began composing her own songs and writing her own stories, rife with intriguing characters and fantastic creatures…