This October we initiated a much planned and discussed remodelling of our kitchen. Plumbing, woodwork, tiling – the works.
On one of the days, there was rubble on the living room floor and the gas stove and the microwave had been placed on the dining table, but the awesome Delhi winters had just begun and we decided to make pao bhaaji together, in the little free space available on the dining table. Brat Three eagerly peeled three garlic cloves and washed six tomatoes, and offered endless suggestions.
As we finally sat down to demolish hot, butter soaked paos Brat Three declared she was very happy and this was the kind of meals she loved :D
“You like meals with all this mess around?” Did it take a sackful of broken tiles to make Brat Three happy?
Ofcourse, what she was loving was more than just the cooking together and the eating together.
What does make Brat Three happy?
She had been practising for a dance for the Annual Function in her school. The daily rehearsals at home, typically included what everybody else was doing, what they were saying and forgetting to say. One such time I started recording, she noticed the mobile and started acting silly. I warned her I was going to continue recording. Making faces at the camera, she danced on one foot, danced on the sofa, danced with her back to the camera (on one foot), and then sang and danced to Bum Bum Bole from ‘Tare zameen par’ – with her back to the camera. Then finally she turned to face the camera, coming closer, crossing her eyes, blinking and winking (etc etc). All recorded.
Brat Three: “You recorded all of it?”
IHM: “Come and watch.”
And it was funny. Maybe not as funny to everybody else, but it had me in splits. We watched and laughed a lot and then she wanted to watch it again. Brat Three seemed to be looking at my face all the time she was laughing.
Brat Three: “Play it again!”
IHM: “Again?? Okay.”
Some more laughter.
Brat Three: “One more time.” So I patiently played it again, but Brat Three was watching my face instead of the video.
IHM: “What happened?”
Brat Three:”Laugh. Laugh again!”
IHM: “I have already seen it, so it is not as funny as the first time… you want to watch it again? We should watch it sometime later, then it will be more fun.”
Brat Three:”No. Play it again and laugh. Let’s watch it again and then you laugh again.”
IHM:”I am not laughing aloud, but I am still enjoying it. You want to watch it…?”
But she didn’t want to just watch the video again, she wanted the laughter. Just the laughter. And she sensed that she was the reason for that laughter.
I told her I was very happy we were a family. And immediately she wanted to hear, once again, the story of how she brought back music and laughter in our lives, with her spirited, determined, vivacious presence. And what makes Brat Three happy is, I think, (amongst a million other things) happy faces around her – specially when she is at the source of all that joy. Maybe that is what acceptance is all about?