Chalo ab sab RMwasis ko pata chal gaya hai, toh aap logon ko bhi suna hi dete hain – Devansh ki ajab prem kahani
Us din jab Khushi left her kids at Preeto’s place, he was most disgusted to be introduced to two giggling girls – as if there weren’t enough of them at school. He just about tolerated Chotti because ‘woh chotti thi’ and besides it was too late to protest, pehle poocha hota toh saaf mana kar deta, but then nobody had bothered to take his opinion, bas one day they just went and got Chotti home. Uff, but what could his parents do, after all this was what man got married for right? To have babies right?
Okay I can see those confused looks – so main shuru se shuru karti hoon.
Devansh had recently developed an interest in the animal kingdom, thanks largely to the Discovery Channel, Animal planet, National Geographic channel etc etc and he would avidly watch anything and everything related to animals. Khushi looked indulgently at him as he stared mesmerized at some exotic birds doing a strange sort of a dance, “Yeh kya hai Guddu,” she ruffled his hair, he shrugged her off irritated without sparing even a glance for her, Khushi shook her head ruefully and let him be.
A little later, after the program was over, he came over to her as she was tidying up their room, “Mamma those were birds of paradise,” he informed her knowledgeably.
“Oh really? Very beautiful I must say, itna hysterically dance kyon kar rahe the?” Khushi asked casually as she picked up the toys littered on the floor.
“That is their special unique mating dance,” he declared confidently.
Khushi froze, “Mating dance?” she suddenly wondered doubtfully what they showed in these episodes and exactly how much did he follow? “Err mating kya hota hai?”
Devansh was more than happy to share his newfound knowledge, “Mating… mating dance is done by the male to attract a female,” excitedly he explained the different moves and positions, the way they fanned their feathers etc, he looked at Khushi to check if she was following him, unable to resist, Khushi asked the next obvious question, “But why does he want to attract the female?” wondering exactly how much he understood, he was just five years of age for heavens sake!
“So that they can have babies,” Devansh extolled while Khushi wore a blank expression, a carefully blank expression for suddenly from the corner of her eyes she had spied Arnav lounging against the doorway smirking widely; unmindful and on a roll, Devansh carried on blissfully to his captive audience, “Like… like, man gets married to have babies,” he stopped in his tracks and looked at her incredulously, “You didn’t know? You are married, you have babies, you didn’t know?”
Khushi solemnly shook her head only to find herself falling, perhaps irrevocably in his nazar, he looked even more astonished, he threw up his hands disgustedly, “Fancy you not knowing it!?” and strode off, brushing past his Dad to rue his kismet at having landed up with such a mother, who didn’t know the very basic facts of life.
He suddenly made a U turn, came back and looked resignedly at his father, who hurriedly straightened his expression; Devansh asked Arnav, a bit doubtfully, “I hope you know that you fertilized me?” Arnav solemnly nodded his head; Devansh too sagely nodded his head and zoomed off on his trike, relieved; all hope was not lost yet.
Khushi and Arnav waited till he was out of sight before giving in to their mirth and almost broke the bed again! “Your son is really too much,” Khushi giggled, “pata hi nahi kab kya bol dega! Right now he is obsessed with animals and a few months ago it was space aur pata hai ek din mall main kya bola tha?”
Arnav shook his head smiling down at her, “I had bought him a big book on planets and stuff and you had taken him to the Planetarium as well, remember?” Arnav nodded, “Toh as we were coming down in a crowded lift, he declared very loudly ‘mama next year we will go to space for our vacations theek hai?’
Arnav and Khushi burst out laughing again.
Oho kuch zyaada hi shuru se shuru kar diya kya ? Toh hum kahan the? Haan Preeto ke ghar, where he was not at all happy to be meeting Lilly and Milli. He gave them a wide berth, burying his nose in a book – Khushi wasn’t too worried about him, for he loved books and could spend hours poring on them, provided Chotti let him; Khushi had left soon after as the girls had immediately hit off and were happily playing with dolls, doll house and all that nonsensical stuff girls are wont to play with.
After a while Preeto, feeling sorry for the boy sitting alone, showed him a huge basket of toys, he grudgingly but in the interests of politeness, allowed himself to be diverted and interested enough to rifle through the basket.
That was when his love affair with Dinosaurs began. He found a giant dinosaur (T. rex to be precise) which walked and moaned when wound up. He was utterly captivated; he stared at it and played with it mesmerized for the entire time he was there. Preeto noted his interest and dug out some books with pictures of dinosaurs – bas that completed the affair, albeit a one-sided one – Devansh was completely and irrevocably in love.
From that moment onwards, he lived, breathed and thought dinosaurs. He dragged his father to a dinosaur exhibition (in fact made him stand in a long queue as Arnav had underestimated the fascination of the aam aadmi in such long dead stuff and had not bothered to make arrangements for a special viewing. At the venue he had balked at the length of the queue and tried to convince Devansh to come another day, but Devansh would have none of it, he was in a fever of anticipation, there were real life size dinosaurs in there! He couldn’t wait another day, the mighty ASR was no match for those pleading eyes (not to mention whines) he stood in queue (with a growing what the expression, hissing ever so often ‘sab tumhari galati hai Khushi, tumhe arrangements karni chahiye thi etc etc – Khushi rolled her eyes and held her peace; she had made her choice ASR tantrums over DSR’s aur ab price toh pay karna padega). She was only thankful that she had left Chotti at Di’s place in exchange for bringing Ankit along, nahi toh ufff, Khushi shuddered at the thought of Chotti in this melee.
However, once they were inside, Devansh’s excitement more than made up for any inconvenience and he was even more fascinated with the species and collected as many books as he could on them and devoured them.
His favorite bedtime story was of dinosaurs and never tired of hearing about them or reading about them. His parents got quite sick of his obsession and refused point blank to read the characteristics of Diplodoccus or Brontosauraus for the 100th time; undettered, Devansh learned to read and satisfy his curiosity about them, with a lot of help of course.
Arnav would be in an important office meeting and he would get an urgent call from him, “Dad!” he would squeak in his enthusiasm, “How would you pronounce P AC H Y C E P H A L O S A U R U S?” Arnav would shoot a resigned glance at the gathered staff and say “Pachycephalosaurus,” ignoring the incredulous looks he was sure were coming his way. “Pachycephalosaurus,” Devansh would obediently repeat a couple of times under his breath to make sure he had got it right before letting Arnav get back to less important matters.
Khushi wasn’t spared either; she would be immersed in deep consultation with Ramiya about whether they would need order 200 kilos of extra sugar this month or if that was way too much to store, perhaps even encourage pilferage, when Devansh would call her up and demand to know, “Mamma how much is 20 tons?”
“How much is 20 tons?” Khushi echoed blankly, wondering for a wild moment if he was talking about sugar.
“Yes,” Devansh was very patient, he was resigned to his ignorant mother, she had wasted all these years, she had idea about the basic facts of life, ok that was excusable, but what was worse was that she no clue about dinosaurs – this was no less than sacrilege! He was determined to rectify that and took it upon himself to complete her education (perhaps Dad’s too – although he was on a bit higher scale, for at least he knew the pronunciation of pachycephalosaurus), “Do you know Diplodocus weighs 20 tons? Well I want to know how much is 20 tons?”
Khushi sighed and rubbed her head, she knew she was on slippery ground, already her esteem was an all time low, she hurriedly asked Google to salvage her reputation, and as always Google rose magnificently to the occasion, “Guddu, 20 tons is like putting together say about 5 elephants together.”
“5 elephants!” Devansh was impressed, “And how tall is 5 meters?”
“Uhh that would be around 2 or 3 people of my size if we were put one on top of the other,” Khushi hurriedly calculated, praying she was somewhere close to the truth, there was silence as Devansh mentally put together 3 of his mum one on top of the other and pumped them up to the size of 5 elephants, he struck an obstacle, “And how long is 27 meters?”
Khushi closed her eyes in despair, uff yeh ladka bhi na, aur yeh google bhi na, kahin kuch likha hai kahin kuch, “Uhh its about the distance from our house to your bus stop,” she said wildly, crossing her fingers.
“Wow!!” he was suitably impressed and put down the phone lost in the full immensity of the diplodocus; he went off to share this exciting information with Nani, Chotti and Poo, “And the best part is,” he said proudly triumphantly, as if he were personally responsible for their immensity, “They are vegetarians! And they are bigger than the meat eating fearsome Tyrannosaurus!” he looked expectantly at his captive audience; they nodded enthusiastically, while Chotti clapped her happiness at Da’s obvious excitement, he swaggered away, growling menacingly like the T. rex.
Devansh lived breathed and dreamed dinosaurs, he devoured anything and everything related to dinosaurs, he was almost possessed by them and RM was littered with dino-material, books models, DVDs you name it. Devansh built up a formidable stock of dino knowledge which he simply couldn’t resist showing off. He had an inexhaustible curiosity regarding dinosaurs and Khushi and Arnav were hard put to keep pace with his demands at all odd hours to explain to a 5 year old, how big is 12 metres how much was 38 tons how tall was 26 feet etc etc; at wits end and not having the scope to fall back upon Google, they said the first thing that came to their minds, as tall as that tree, equal to 7 elephants, as tall as our building etc etc. Devansh would wander away repeating it all under his breath imagining with giddy pleasure a massive Apatosaurus or a magnificent Triceratops roaming the streets of Delhi.
There were side effects as well.
His dadaji (urf Mamaji) was in danger of being seriously injured (but for the quick reflexes of Poo) and nearly banned from Devansh’s first circle.
Hua younh ki Devansh was as usual declaiming with passionate craze about how dinosaurs lived 250 million years ago and ruled the world for about 160 million years (don’t ask how he could compare 5 years into 250 million years), how birds actually evolved from dinosaurs, when Mamaji, quite bored of the long monologue, yawned and said casually, “Humka toh lagat hai, all this dinosaur business is all a sham, a marketing gimmick, to fool the children, all a hoax,” he dismissed it all with a wave of his hand.
Devansh stared at him disbelievingly, cut to the core; his world coming crashing down, as good as telling him, his mum was a figment of his imagination, he wanted to yell at him, smash something, he charged towards him with all the fury of a five year old but Poo caught him in her arms (she knew how much he adored even worshiped the dinosaurs). Foiled, he burst into tears, heartrending sobs as if he would never stop, as if the love of his life had been declared dead. Mamaji froze in shock, he was taken aback at the reaction to his his unthinking off the cuff remark and hurried to make amends even as Nani scolded her son for being such an ignoramus and talking through his non-existent hat about things he had no knowledge about, “Aur mazaak ki bhi hadd howat hai,” she looked at him meaningfully
Mamaji meekly accepted all the strictures; he apologized gracefully and gratefully clutched the lifeline, “Haan, main toh mazak kar raha tha.”
It was only after Mamaji brought him a whole bunch of dinosaur toys and books on dinosaur trivia that Devansh unbent enough to forgive him.
The discerning viewer would be able to make out exactly when (which was pretty often actually) he was lost in thoughts about his beloved dinosaurs and if you listened hard, you could hear the faint but unmistakable haunting strains of “Daino Veyyyy, Daino veyy, Daaaainnnooo~~~ Veyyy~~~~
But it wasn’t just Devansh who was keeping his parents on their toes, Chotti bhi kuch kam nahi thi, aur na hi uske kisse! Once she resolutely dogged Khushi’s footsteps, no matter where she went, Chotti followed just behind her, like a train bogie, “Kya kar rahi ho Chotti, mere peechche peechhe kya kar rahi ho,” Khushi was in a hurry and she was worried that they would trip over each other.
Unfazed, Chotti looked at her innocently, “You are the one walking in front of me.” Khushi shook her head resignedly and sat down to hug the little girl; after all that was what she was aiming for, right?
Udhar Arnav got a dose of his own medicine and shown his ‘aukat’ by none other than his Angel, much to Khushi’s delight.
Not finding her mother nearby, she placed her order to Arnav, she stood in front of him and bent her head backwards and said, “Shel chahiye.”
Busy in his phone, Arnav said distractedly, “Shel? Woh kya hai?”
“Shel,” she repeated emphatically, he shook his head impatiently, “Haan par woh hai kya?”
Chotti dragged him by the trouser to the refrigerator and patted the door, “Shel,” she demanded imperatively.
The penny dropped; Chotti loved to eat ‘Sharifas’ and had recently developed a taste for them and was quite crazy about them, called them Shel, but then she called any cold drink/juice/sherbet etc also Shel, so Arnav asked, “Sharifa ki Sherbet?”
Chotti was disgusted, itna clearly toh bol rahein hain, kuch samajh hi nahi aata dad ko, “Shel!” she repeated firmly and held out her hand.
“Haan par Sharifa ki Juice?” Arnav too was irritated and out of patience, where was Khushi dammit (behind the pillar actually, laughing into her duppatta), pata nahi kya maang rahi hai aur yeh Aman ko bhi abhi details chahiye, “theek se bolo, I don’t have time for these games,” he snapped and walked out, his thoughts elsewhere, “No Aman I am not talking to you!”
Chotti smacked her head and stamped her foot like a royal princess; she stomped off to the kitchen – she returned shortly with a glass in her hand, “Shel chahiye.”
Arnav stared at her struck and looked up to find Khushi laughing at him as she swept Chotti into her arms, “Jaaiye, farmaiish poora kikiye apni beti ka, ab kuch samajh aaya ki nahi, ab glass main toh sharifa nahi kha sakte na!” she cuddled her brilliant daughter proudly, “Waise bhi you could have asked her whether she wanted to eat or drink it? But nahi, she had to innovate to communicate with you rather than the other way round, toh zyaada intelligent kaun hua?” she crowed.
A sheepish Arnav dutifully went and brought a well earned glass of sherbet for his darling daughter, “Haan haan, aakhir bitiya kiski hai?”
“Nani ki!” piped up Chotti, much to Arnav’s consternation, “Aur Daddy ki?” he was hurt even as Khushi smirked.
“Daddy ki Angel, aur Mamma ki Chotti,” she was clear about her various avatars, “Maami ki Rajkumari, Nani ki bitiya, Da ka ‘uff Chotti’, she declared amidst the laughter of her parents, Arnav put his arms around the lovely ladies in his life with their other favorite BG score Chotti Vey swirling softly around encircling them in its melodious strains.
Click here for Chapter 290