Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Puttachi and her Tata

The summer holidays came to an end, and I can safely say that barring some hair-pull-worthy times when I just couldn't take even a little more of Puttachi's chatter, it was one of the loveliest times of our lives together.  Puttachi is old enough to do most things herself, and old enough to carry on sensible conversations, and to do things together with me... so we had a wonderful time.

Like my father says, one needs three things - Time, Energy, Patience - and then Puttachi is excellent company.

Which brings me to my father - who is unbelievable amazing with Puttachi.  Funny, how both my father and I have a kind of reputation in the family for being impatient, and yet, with Puttachi, both of us are patience personified.  (In my case, patience with Puttachi has resulted in patience in everything else, but I'm digressing.)

Ever since Puttachi was small, she's had a special relationship with her Tata, my Papa.  When Papa laughs at something she does or says, it is such a fabulous combination of amusement, pride, wonder, disbelief and love. He engages her for hours and hours - and lets my mom and me do our own thing for such a long time.  Going to my parents' house is really such a relief for me - the mornings are not so easy, since Papa goes to college to teach, but the moment he comes back in the evening, by some unspoken understanding, Puttachi just crosses over into his care.  She herself just walks up to him the moment he comes back and takes over his life.

And they play, talk and laugh for hours.  Papa is a wiz at devising little games for them to play.  It is uncanny how he zeroes in on the correct game for her to enjoy at her age.  And not that he has any great prior experience - he played with my sister and me quite a bit, says my mom, but not to this extent.

And his games - you have to see them to believe their simplicity and ingenuity.  One of the earliest games I remember is when Puttachi wasn't even two years old.  Papa and Puttachi tore up a newspaper into tiny little bits, threw the bits up into the air one by one, and watched them fall.  That is ALL.  Puttachi was watching it with such rapt attention, so much fascination, and Papa was watching her face. That is all.  They've played this for an hour at least.

I wish I had written down all the games - but they've evolved over the months to suit her age.  At one time, Papa brought out half a dozen different household objects, and spun them all on the floor, and they watched to see which spun the best.  Then they go to the terrace with lots of chalk, and draw and draw, and Papa comes up with these clever ideas of colouring and drawing differently, using the most unlikely objects as stencils...

Lately, they're in the mood for mischief.  They opened a biscuit packet neatly, put all the biscuits in a box and filled the empty wrapper with mud, closed it neatly, kept it on the road, and sat next to the window to see if anybody picked it up.  Unfortunately, it came under a car's tyres before anybody could pick it up but this whole process of playing a prank worked Puttachi up so much, the delight on her face was a sight worth seeing.  Then just yesterday, they connected a pipe to a tap, and Papa and the tap hid out of sight, while they brought out the end of the pipe, and Puttachi told me that it was a magic pipe, and that if I said, "Water, flow!" it would flow, and if I said, "Water, stop!" it would stop.  I pretended to be flabbergasted while Puttachi doubled up with laughter, while finally "revealing" the trick to me.

They feed bread to the birds, they watch insects, they burn images on newspaper with a magnifying glass and the rays of the sun - Papa sometimes tells her some facts about nature or space -  later, if I try to tell Puttachi the same thing in some other context, she says, "Yeah-ha, I know, Tata told me."

It's a beautiful relationship they share.


Radhika said...

Just wonderful!

versatile genie! said...

Nice article... Reminds me of my nephew very much :)

PeeVee said...

I heart this post. I can totally imagine Papa's calm, amused smile in response to Puttachi's excited delighted antics and chatter! :)

Bubble Catcher said...

I guess children love it when we give them undivided attention.Not so possible for me as a working mom.But the son shares a similar relationship with his dad who spends hours together just playing simple games with him

Arundhati said...

Heartwarming post, lovely read. Reminded me of Tulika's book for young people My grandfather Aajoba

Loved the games too, simple but full of ingenuity and guaranteed to provide little ones with a lot of amusement :)

praneshachar said...

its alwyas ajji tata and grandchildrens relations are unique. loved to read the wonderful saga of togetherness having seen them I am just trying to imagine the hidden faces behind to watch who will pick up the biscuit packet hahahah super one thanks a ton for sharing these wonderful moments of puttachi

Raj said...

Very nice post.

Did your Dad play the same games with you when you were Puttachi's age? Just curious. Because grandpa-grandaughter chemistry is unique.

Pooja said...

This is a lovely post. It is amazing how parents when they turn into grandparents become totally different individuals (in a way). Wisdom, I suppose.

Shruthi said...

Radhika, Versatile genie, thanks!

Peevee, also imagine uncontrollable, explosive laughter and you'll have the whole gamut of expressions :)

Bubble catcher, exactly!

Arundhati, thanks, will chk out the book!

Pranesh, thanks :)

Raj, thanks! He did play with us, but not like this - this kind of extended time, total dedication - nope :) Definitely the "grand" bond.

Pooja, like my mom says, love without responsibility! :)

Sanjay M said...

Shruthi, really loved this post and your dad's creativity and games! Please do keep track of them atleast from now on!

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