He is all of three years and stays with his parents in the ground floor flat. Pushpa and Anand are in the first floor. Every evening he will climb the twenty steps and bang the door. The moment we open the door what begins is a one-hour non-stop bout of entertainment, laughter and smiles. A very cheerful, ever smiling lad with doe-like eyes, Ishaan jumps from the word “Go”.
Though he met us for the first time on July 24th he took to us like a duck to water, especially to Lakshmy for the simple reason that she could converse with him in Marathi. The Dinesh family is from Surat and they are Maharashtrians. Ishaan warmed to me only after a few days since my Marathi was worse than his Swahili. Since Anand’s mother is with us, Ishaan had two non-resident grandmas. He would call Lakshmy “Ajji—One” and Radha Mami –“Ajji Two”.
Pushpa and Anand doted on him, lavished so much affection that he would simply jump into Pushpa’s lap and stay there for hours. Anand would hail him as “Dempoo”.
He has a fixed schedule for demanding eatables –which rarely varied. It began with two Parle G biscuits. After demolishing this he would ask for two M and M’s, tiny, blue chocolates and finally I would cut some fruit or other. In the beginning he would grab a number of pieces of cut fruits and put in his mouth. I trained him nicely to put piece by piece. Now he will declare , ”Ajobaa, one by one!”.
After this tiny repast he would play cricket with Anand. Radha mami bought for him a squeaking white polka---dotted ball . He would tell Anand Kaka, play and the two used to better the records of Sachin or Saurav. Incidentally Ishaan’s Great Grand Father was the famous cricketer of yesteryears Vijay Hazare. Anand and Ishaan would play to their hearts’ content. Meanwhile Alpana the mother would appear and take him back home for dinner.
Since I mentioned Anand Kaka, I must recount an interesting incident. Ishaan called Pushpa—“Pushpa Kaki” and Anand –“Anand Kaka”. When Ishaan became pally with me I told him that in our language “Kaka’ means Crow and that he was calling “Anand a Crow’. This was too much for him. He glowered and told me “Kams Bad Boy”. I didn’t quite follow the riposte. So I asked Alpana—what is this about Kams?. She clarified that Dinesh shows to him stories from the life of Krishna and Kams is identified as a bad boy!. So whenever anything disagreeable to him is uttered he would say “Kams bad boy”. The result of my calling Anand a Crow was that whenever Ishaan saw me immediately he would spit out the words”Kams Bad Boy”.
There were other hilarious occasions when Kams would spring in our conversation. If I asked him to deposit the tricycle he has driven in the Drawing Room he would obediently put it and declare” Kams nahin karega”!. Again Lakshmy was knitting a sweater. He would go to her and say “Ajji, sweater Ishaanla bantho?” If she did not respond he would tell “Kamsko sweater math banovo”.
I had the unique experience of being fired by Ishaan. One evening Ishaan came as usual, went on with his eating programme and since Anand Kaka had not returned from Office he asked me to play cricket with him. Alas!. I was at the middle of a Hercule Poirot story and I did not respond to his request. He went and asked Pushpa to play ball-which she gladly did. Next evening when he came and I was totally free I asked him “Cricket Kelu Kay?”. This was his ready retort.” “Thoo thikde jaa ani pustak vaacha. Mee Pushpa Kaki ke sath Kelu”. Fired nicely and squarely by a three year old. Justifiably so !!
Ishaan is not able to pronounce R—he will use the letter L. Since he had broken a windmill Pushpa had kept the surviving windmill at a height,beyond his reach and told him that the windmill was hot or Garam. He will come and announce. ”Windmill GaLm hai”. Likewise when Anand and Pushpa had gone for ten days to Pe R u he used to come and play with us and say.”Pushpa Kaki Pe L u geli?”. Even today—whenever Pushpa is not at home Ishaan will announce Pushpa Kaki Pe Lu geli”. Every evening Lakshmy would light a lamp and she had warned him not to go near, since it was fire. He called the lamp ‘Candle’ and would ask her to light a ‘Candle’ if she had not already done. He would then declare, “Candle GaLm Hai”.
Ishaan goes to a nearby day-care centre since both the parents work. We will daily get stories of Manju Moushi—what all he had learnt that day, what games he played.
During our stay Ishaan’s third birthday celebrations were held and all of us partook of that joy.
We are surely going to miss Ishaan as he is going to miss us. Ishaan the Elf—our bountiful blessings on this Pure Delight.