Ranjith grew up in a secure and safe environment with the comfort of three sisters, doting parents and grandparents and hosts of relatives who gave in to his toddler demands. They ran all his errands. As the baby and ONLY boy in the family he received unlimited attention. He was 3. At 5 when Primary schooling was scheduled, he refused to leave his comfort zone but was cajoled and bribed by his retinue of family supporters. He cried all the way to the hallowed gates of the great institution. His grandmother was in charge of the morning chaos. Ranijth wielded power over the ageing lady.
As the vehicle turned into the by-road of the school, Ranjith would let out a murderous yowl…”Noooooooh!!! Mata yanna bheeee!!! I want to go hoooooooohme!”
“Aney putha, please, just for today, ok? Tomorrow we can take a holiday!”
No, no, no!!!
Aney putha, please…
Ten long minutes tick by… Ranjith sulkily lifts his head..I can’t walk…take me to the gate…
The vehicle rolls forward…I can read the driver’s mind from where I am standing!!!
Little more, little more, near the gate…
The vehicle inches forward. The security officer stands unsmiling. Although late she has instructions to let him in.
Mokada baba parakku? She had been an observer for 3 weeks..
Ranjith hides his head under the car seat. Between three adults they manage to get the child through the gate. The grandmother looks ready to faint.
One day I happened to cross Ranjith’s path. His usual stage was set. The vehicle was blocking my way. I calmly opened the door of the vehicle.
“Can you please give me that bag ?”
I reached in…took the bag c-a-l-m-l-y .. and closed the door.
Silence. Silence. I could hear the grandmother heaving…
Ranjith stepped out. He took the bag from my outstretched hand and walked in through the hallowed gates. The behaviour was never repeated.
I was never thanked for the intervention by his parents. Probably they were oblivious of these episodes. I bump into Ranjith and his grandmother occasionally. He flashes a mischievous grin my way…sometimes we sit around chatting, sipping chocolate milk shakes. At the end of each tête-à-tête he never fails to give me a bear hug. That little boy is now in his teens.
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