The first time I saw her, she broke out into a high pitched whine and I broke into a smile. She couldn’t see beyond ten inches from her eyes, or so some parenting website told me. However, when she heard or felt my presence, she scanned the hospital cabin, dimly lit by afternoon sunlight from one large window, and resumed the only process of communication available to her at that time.

“Welcome little one” – I whispered, and I meant it.

She thought she heard something. This place seemed so new, so noisy! She scanned around with her beady eyes for some clue and then resumed bawling again.

Three years down the line, she has changed a lot. Not so clueless about the world around her, she often tries to find answers for herself, bypassing her mother or me. Happily enough, she is sometimes successful. Truisms, bon mots, and other words of advice thrown recklessly, rebounds her smooth intellect back to where they come from, often with hilarious consequences.

“Keep them in their proper places” – she comes running to me with my watch and cell phone – “or you will lose them.” I try to convince her that they were in a transit place as I am just home from office, and I would put them where they really belong once I finish changing. I am not sure I am successful.

Yes, the world is a new place. New records are being made every day, if not every hour. Every set of twenty-four hours brings with it at least one new experience. There is so much to explore. And our little “Lady Livingstone” is dauntless.

But bravery has its prices. A reckless run at a roughly paved lane results in a fall. The fall, in its turn, results in two large scratches on two little knees.

She breaks down into tears. I rush her home to bathe the wound with disinfectant. She keeps sobbing through the procedure. Stroking her head reassuringly, I say – “It will soon be over luv, you’ll be awright you’ll see . . .” She looked at me with through her tears – “It’d soon be okay, wouldna Pa?” I pressed her little head into my large chest – “Yes luvvie, trust Pa. It soon would.”

In her eyes I found lurking that beady-eyed persona from three year earlier.

About Surya Sunder

Anglophone Bibliophile
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