Saturday, March 14, 2015


What--or who--makes your child go starry-eyed? For instance, as a child, I think I used tolook up to writers. To me, they were of a fabulous species descended from the skies.  From what my mother says, I guess that for her, it was musicians. Some go gaga over sportspeople, superheroes--we all have a category of people that we look up to, to put it mildly.

I've wondered what worked for Puttachi. But I know what it is not - writers. Though she loves and devours books, writers for her aren't some unknown species sitting on some pedestal churning out books by magic. She actually knows, and has met many of the authors she reads. In fact, if I hand her a new book, she says, "Is it by one of your writer friends?" or if I'm looking for a book online, she saunters up and asks, "Looking for a book by one of your friends?" Writers for her are commonplace. Nothing to get all excited about.

So what was it?

I found out unexpectedly. One of my latest writing projects involves my interacting with scientists and researchers. When I speak about them to Puttachi, she drops everything, and listens, eyes shining. If I tell her that I shouldn't be disturbed for half an hour, since I have to call up a scientist, she says, "Really? Boy or girl? What is his name? What does he work on? Is he famous? All over India? Is he world-famous?"

If I take a quick call in front of her, she hangs around me, ready to do my every bidding--only if I'm talking to a scientist. She brings me a book to take notes in, scurries about finding a pen, and makes space on the table for me to place the book on, and then hangs around, mouth open, excitement on her face.

Usually, if I tell her that I have an urgent mail to reply to, and could she be quiet for two minutes, she doesn't listen. But now, she says, "Are you replying to a scientist?" and she goes completely quiet.

It amuses me no end--especially because though we do talk a lot about science and stuff at home, I don't recall talking about scientists per se, or praising them, or speaking of them in high regard--ok, perhaps I do, in some context or the other, but not, you know, specifically in a way that would have brought about this kind of respect in her eyes.

I have no idea where it comes from! But I like it!

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