Wedding Plans 2029

I’d taken my son for lunch with a friend. The restaurant had a gift shop attached and we were browsing. He picked up a roll of giftwrapping sheet and started having an imaginary sword fight. “Amma!” he demanded. “I want this!”

“It’s not a sword.” I informed him. “It’s a paper to wrap a gift.”

“So what? Maybe I want a gift!”

“Look at the pink bow! It’s paper you wrap when you gift a girl! Not you!”

“Maybe I’ll gift something to A” He told me. She was his classmate in kindergarten.

After some hearty crying on his side, I relented and got it for him.

When my friend met us at the restaurant, she asked him, “What’s that, baby?” pointing to the roll of paper.

Without batting an eyelid he replied, “Oh, this is for a gift I’m going to give my girlfriend.”

I almost fell off.

Later I convinced myself that he could have just meant a girl who’s a friend. He was way too young to talk about romance.

*********

Almost a year later I picked him up from a play-date at his friend S’s house. A had come too.

Back home,  I heard him in the shower. He was having an imaginary fight with his friend.

“S!!! I am going to marry A when we grow up! Not you!”

Startled, I listened to a heated exchange between him and the imaginary S in the bathroom.

When he came out, I casually asked him, “What was that about marrying A?”

I am going to marry her Amma!” He announced. “Not S! I  told him that!”

Not knowing how to react, I quickly changed the topic.

Next day, S was home for a play date.

Sure enough I heard them arguing. I went into the room to hear both of them shouting “Not You! She likes me better! I shall marry her!”

Amused, I butted in. “Why don’t you ask her instead of wasting your time fighting with each other?”

“We did!” replied S. “She said she didn’t know! So I asked her if she can marry both of us. She laughed and said, ‘Chee! how can I have 2 husbands?’ So now we’re fighting again!”

I kept a very straight face and made my exit.

Later in the evening, I had a talk with my son. “You’re too young to talk about marriage!” I told him.

“You’re only 5. I don’t want you discussing your wedding till you’re 25, alright?” I told him briskly.

“Okay,” He said, not too happily.

Next evening, he came up to me and asked, “So I can get married anyday after I am 25?”

I quickly thought of an escape route.

“Not really. There are so many procedures involved.” I started  rattling on, so I can put him off the ‘wedding’.

“You need to find a good day. Then book a hall. Look at the menu. Decide on the food. Then print invites. Go around inviting each and every guest.  Buy new clothes for people. Exchange them if they don’t like it…  It’s a long process.”

He mulled about it for a long time.

Then turned to me and said, ” So you’ll take care of all that, won’t you?’

So people, if you know of any wedding hall free in 2029, do let me know…

Mythology & more mythology

Long ago, when I was about eleven, I went on  a trek through a nearby forest with my brother, uncle and his friend from college. All we carried with us was a back pack with a water bottle and a box of bajjis my grandmother had made especially for the trek. Once we reached a clearing, my uncle and his friend plonked themselves on a rock to do some catching up on their lives. My uncle strictly instructed us to explore the forest on our own but only within his field of vision. He visually marked the boundaries and told us to stay within.

Eagerly my brother started looking for exotic insects and wild animals. (Considering the sparse forest, I don’t think it housed any!) But me, I was on another mission. High on all the Enid Blyton stories I’d been reading, I was in search of pixies. Once I met them, I wanted to ask one of them kindly to accompany me back home.

I started speaking softly to the bushes and plants, sure that pixies were hiding inside them. I tempted them with various treats if only they’ll come out and show themselves.

My brother slowly stopped what he was doing and began to notice me. Once he came closer and realised what I was doing, he started begging me to stop. He had a panicky edge to his voice. He was sure that I had totally lost it. “There are no such things as pixies, ” he pleaded. ” Its only a story… Will you please stop this nonsense at once?”

“Go away!” I snapped at him. “You’re scaring my pixies.”

Giving up he wandered back to my uncle casting nervous glances towards me.

After a while I gave up too and plonked myself on another rock and began to devour the bajjis.

**************

Last week I finished two books based on Indian mythology back to back.

One was Ashok Banker’s Prince of Ayodhya (I know, I know, it came out ages ago, but just got my hands on it!) and the other was The Pregnant King by Devdutt Patnaik.

The former was Valmiki’s Ramayana retold and the latter was a fiction based on one of the branch stories from the Mahabharatha.

And both were just brilliant.

How could Banker make the Ramayana, which we all have heard a hundred times from our grandmothers to Amar Chthra Kathas to the good old Ramanand Sagar Productions so gripping?

He has got into the pyschies of each individual character and not just stereo-typed them. He’s just taken them from the 2 dimensional level we’ve been used to and re-presented them in 3 dimension. I never knew what went on Rama’s or Laksmana’s mind when they followed Vishwamitra to the forest. Nor about the relationships between Dhasaratha’s three queens. This book is full of the emotional struggle they went through when faced with various situations. We all know Rama and Lashmana were inseparable. But what Banker does is also explore the comaraderie  between Bharatha & Shatrukuna. We read about Bharatha’s emotions when he’s torn between his loyalties towards his mother on one side and his father and brothers on the other.

To all this add Banker’s brilliant picturesque descriptions of Ayodya and Mithila, the dark forces, Asuras and thier dark powers, the Brahmans and their powers and all the magical stuff that Indian mythology is made of.

You get the unfolding of this mind-blowing drama of jealous queens, brave sons, all-powerful sages and a Dark Master.

The Pregnant King, though a fiction, is made up of almost the same things. But this is more about a king yearning for an offspring. And his inner turmoils of not being man enough for his mother to hand over the reigns of his kingdom (because he has no heir apparent) in the beginning.

He drinks the magic potion from a yagna conducted to give him an heir by mistake becomes pregnant with his son. He is later torn between his maternal instincts towards his son and his outward, stern and dutiful appearanace of a kingly father.

Brilliantly written, this book too has no slack in the story and travels fast from one incident to another through the minds of the king, his mother, his queens and others.

******************

Now having  had a heavy dose of occult, ancestors watching us from the other side, various yakshas floating around humans without their knowledge, I’m seriously thinking even if an iota of all this is true, I may have some yaksha or demigod smack next to me and I may not even realise it!

So people, don’t be surprised if I start talking to my comp, my shelf or just the wall…

I think I’ve come a full circle!