Arnav and Devansh mostly played football and hide and seek, however, they also devised games of their own with fighter planes and military trucks etc etc. And sometimes Khushi couldn’t make out who exactly the child was! They would be playing happily with a remote car (Arnav sitting with the remote making the car dash off in different directions while Devansh ran after it excitedly trying to catch it) when suddenly Arnav would want to see exactly how the remote worked; so he would dismantle the car the remote, and busy himself in investigating the toy. And then the tussle would begin. Devansh would pull his toy and try to get back Arnav’s attention while ASR would try to discover the car mechanics. Ultimately, to prevent Devansh from interfering with his important task he would take apart the car standing at the nappy changing table.
Devansh would naturally howl.
Khushi would then get up wearily from the bed and come into the adjoining room to see Arnav happily playing with the car while Devansh wailed from his knee clutching his trousers, pleading, “Baadddddyyy, Badddyyyyy!”
“Very Bad Arnav,” Khushi would mutter softly and sweetly through clenched teeth, not wanting to let her son know that she was yelling at his dad, “Yeh aapka toy hai ki Devansh ka!”
“Yeah, yeah, I know I know,” Arnav would shrug self-deprecatingly, “But the mechanics are really cool you know,” excited he tried to explain to Khushi, “look just by twisting this…”
“Hume nahi sunna,” Khushi cut in peremptorily, “Kab se ro raha hai Devansh aur aap hai ki uska toy ussi se chcheen kar khel rahe hain! Hadd hai!”
Guiltily, reluctantly, mostly because he would then finally ‘see’ Devansh’s tearful face, he would hurriedly make necessary amends.
Then came a day when Devansh stopped mauling the morning newspaper and began perusing it avidly. Arnav could then read the TOI while Devansh pored over the Delhi Times pictures. To get a better view, he would wear an old pair of discarded spectacles (minus the glasses) which he had triumphantly dug out from some corner in Nani’s room.
Khushi watched these developments, amused and a little worried; she hurriedly got him some comic books after consultation with Anya and Ankit. Phantom became Devansh’s ‘aradhya’ he literally worshipped him and would make whoever was with him show the pictures and enact the stories, ad nauseam.
However, Arnav’s favorite game was to pull down Devansh’s shorts from behind whenever possible, which Devansh simply hated, he would give a loud yell and clutch is shorts and try to pull it up simply because his Bad pulled it down. And then Arnav would pull it down simply because Devansh hated it! So it continued, with Devansh tripping ahead clutching his shorts and Arnav running after him with a blood curdling yell and Khushi rolling her eyes, ‘Boys will be boys.’
But then soon Devansh got the idea that his bums were his ‘modesty’ and must be discreetly covered at all times and at all costs, regardless of exposure of any other anatomical feature. Bas phir kya tha Arnav would pull down his pants and watch him scramble to hide his bums in the curtain if Poo or anybody else came into the room. Both Khushi and Arnav had a big laugh over this and wondered how long this would continue. (Believe it or not, the misconception lasted till he was about 3 years of age!)
Khushi watched misty eyed with a catch in her heart as her jigar ka tukda spread his wings and learnt to fly alone, she was proud of her son, he was a big boy now.
Devansh was happy and busy in own fun-filled world, there was Nana, Poo, Baaddy (slowly being corrupted by ASR to call him Daddy) Di, Ankit; and so many things to do, so much to explore, loads of games to play, so who needs a mum!
Khushi too began to feel quite like a spare wheel as she entered the lobby after her day at AKC and looked around for a glimpse of her little darling. He would usually be busy playing some boisterous game with Poo and would often give her the royal ignore. Today he was on his tricycle, his new prized possession and his actions never failed to amuse Khushi.
He would sit on the bike and then get off again and then tilt it over to its side and then sit on it and pretend to ride it, hooting the horn. Why does he do that she wondered. Then Poo laughed and explained, “Woh mamaji has bought a second hand scooter na, toh kabhi kabhi start nahi hota hai petrol kam hone ke wajah se, he has to get down and tilt the scooter to let the petrol flow!”
Khushi shook her head, he was such a monkey, he just simply had to copy whatever he saw and marveled at his observation powers. She looked her fill of him and turned to go without disturbing him; not that there was any point he would just continue to do what he was doing without missing a beat.
But then today, when he suddenly spied her, instead of getting back to his important task (like the LG) he quickly got off his bike and stumbled towards her with a faint, “Mamma,” and clung to her. Surprised and touched at this uncalled for attention and affection she picked him up, “Arre wah! Aaj amma ki bahut khatirdari ho rahi hai?!” she cuddled him and kissed him; she suddenly realized he was extremely hot to touch, yes! No doubt about it he was running a temperature.
He was quite ill for the next few days and during that time, all the pretenses were off! Now all Devansh wanted was his mum and nobody else but his mum. Everybody tried to pacify the cranky and fretting child but he had only demand, mamma! Of course Khushi stayed up nights, endlessly rocking him and bit by bit nursed him back to health. He took almost a week to recover from his fever and as he again sat playing with his building blocks with Punya, Khushi sent up a prayer of gratefulness to Devi Maiyya.
“Kitni ajeeb baat hai na Nani,” Khushi said musingly, “When children ignore you, we don’t like it, we crave their attention. But then when they want you and only you, that means, there is something seriously wrong with them.” She smiled a bit sadly and said, “Kabhi kabhi lagta hai ki DM se yeh prarthana kare ki humara beta hume poori tarah se ignore kare, because that means he is healthy, happy and contented in his own world.”
Nani smiled and nodded her head, “Haan bitiya, sahi kahat ho, ill health and feelings of insecurity are often the reason why a child clings to his mother; a good mother should be like a good doctor, available, but not required!”
Khushi looked at Nani, “Haan Nani, par kuch exceptions zaroor hoti hai, jab koi amma dost bhi hoti hain, then even if there is no problem one seeks the comfort and company of one’s mother,” she swallowed, “one’s Nani,” she leaned forward and hugged Nani, “Nani hume aapki zaroorat hamesha rahegi!”
Nani hugged her back too overcome to say anything.
Click here for Chapter 206