I started writing and then the internet explorer gave out on me. So if you notice the curt tone, kindly endure. I'm trying to tell you a story that's essentially happy.
People always manage to surprise me. The last week has reaffirmed my belief that at the point when your cynicism reaches its unwholesome peak, you will meet someone or the other who will make you shake your head and wonder how you let yourself get jaded so easily, time and time again.
Anyway, I'd been part of a team that had organized a mall activity sponsored by a stuffed toys manufacturer. Part of the event was a stall dedicated to the display of the aforementioned plush animal companions, and I happened to be sitting behind the desk at this stall when the first encounter happened. She was three, he was eight. She had a look on her face that had been designed to charm the rest of the world, he merely looked amused at the thought that this might actually work. She came to me to look at the pink bear on the desk, and he followed. I asked her if she liked the bear. She blushed, smiled and said 'No.' He had a wry grin on his face, as though she had just lived up to his expectations. Then I began talking to him (lets call him A).
Me: - Do YOU like stuffed bears?
A: - No.
Me: - Then what kind of bears do you like?
A: - The kind that lives in forests, not shops. That's what they're actually supposed to be doing.
I started blinking at this point.
A: - These bears must be rich. They're all wearing snazzy clothes. And you must be very rich to own all of them.
Me: - Oh no, I'm quite poor. They've hired me to tell the world about them.
A brief conversation about the banking practices prevalent among bears followed. We were interrupted by his elder brother who refused to talk to me.
Me: - Your elder brother doesn't seem quite as friendly as you are.
A: - He's friendly enough to me. Hahahahaha.
Me: - So you're the one in the middle, just like me. I have a younger sister who's taller than I am, and an elder sister who's shorter than I am. We're quite a strange family.
A: - There's nothing strange about it. People are like that; it happens in all families. My eldest brother is only 13, and already he's as tall as my mum. Its not so strange.
Me (slightly flabbergasted): - So you're saying I shouldn't take it to heart?
A: - Absolutely not. They're your family after all. There are other things to love apart from height.
He left after that. I'm still trying to believe that this little boy was for real.
The next encounter was again at the same mall, where some 50 kids from a local NGO were visiting. Her name was Nisha, she was dark, bald and crying. All of two years of age. So I picked her up, and gave her a tour of the ground floor of the mall. She put her arms around my neck, trying to understand the bewidering brightness around her. When the volunteers took her from me, she screamed her lungs out. After a minute or two, she was sombre again. Two years of life had already taught her resignation.
The third meeting was with one of the workers in the cafe at work, who makes me hot chocolate every morning. He took me by surprise, asking me to tell him exactly how Harry Potter's life turned out, and what happened to Ron and Hermione in the end. That takes my tally of friends made over Harry Potter to three, the other two being Kitkat and SKT.
Also, a very scared and liquid brown eyed black stray mongrel followed me and a very scared someone around for fifteen minutes on the street today. The poor thing couldn't keep up in the end. Hope he doesn't sleep hungry.
P.S.: - On a Kailash Kher trip right now. I have placed him right next to RHCP on the list of 'must-watch' performers. Okay, its not a list, just two names right now. So sue me.