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Children’s Pastime

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

As a child, my favourite pastime was going for walks with my grandmother in my sweet home town and loved hearing the bedtime stories by my mother. These stories were mostly derived from the preachings of some wise holy men, whose sermons we often attended and few from the enlivening artforms of harikatha and burrakathalu which were staged during the festive seasons. Though having forty winks in between, a few stories made an indelible impression in my mind.

During one of the sessions, a holy man once said in a humorous tone, “There are only two people with eternal bliss of happiness, one who could digest his food within two hours of his supper and one who after a day-long work, dozes off with loud snores, absolutely heedless of the inmates of the room.”

The hall was filled with laughter, but I took some time to get it. With these golden tenets in my mind, I always tried to live a demure, simple yet happy contented life with my family for forty years, still enjoying going for walks and above all having sound sleep after all my household duties. Sound sleep was where I always slipped into the fantasy world of dreams which I account for avidly reading the books like Alice in Wonderland and other fairy tales that the 90’s kids usually read. Though I couldn’t really understand the subtle alchemy of my dreams and often wondered as a kid which ethereal place they come from, I eventually and more maturely tried to distinguish whether their origin was in my heart or in the encephalon, I cease to explain, maybe never can! But clearly, they made a deep impact.

Illustrated by Renius Mercy

One fine afternoon, after the daily devoir, I lay relaxed on my easy chair which I’m very fond of, for my siesta, alongside my french window in my halcyonic living room, when I heard a knock at the door with a familiar voice. I went and opened the door, quite surprised as well as exhilarated to see my Mom at my doorstep with lots of shopping bags from an Expo. I took her in with a gleam in my eyes and asked her for lunch, she told me she completed hers, so I fetched some coconut water for her.

Women and shopping are an inextricable combination. My sweet mom with her soft black hair and huge bindi was bustling in my living room, spreading her shopping bags on the sofa exhibiting all her felicity and I eagerly sat before her to have a look into what was inside the bags.

She took out a beautiful handwoven saree, I loved the colour, she evocatively let me know that she hadn’t bargained much since it was a direct sale by an old Mangalagiri handloom worker who is hardly accredited for his hard work. Later, she took out a cutlery set which we shared, then she came up with some doormats which were reasonably priced and she finally got to enjoy her bargaining spirit for the exquisite jute-cotton dining mats which were both cute and elegant. Lastly, she has taken out a few aesthetic terracotta pots for the kitchen and plants.

I really longed for some terracotta ear but suppressed my desire with a grin like a Cheshire cat. Perhaps, it is not easy for a married daughter to ask for and take from her parents. It was early evening, I made some tea and had biscuits, both of us loved this time of the day, and we chatted before she got up to leave. I went along with her to the porch and into the courtyard accompanied by the euphonious birds chirping and thin dulcet sounds of wind. She said goodbye and take care, turning back and walking. I wasn’t feeling deserted but when I saw her glasses in my hands, I ran my way out to stop her but she didn't seem to listen to me calling out to her and I screamed like a little girl but was quite appalled when she took no notice. I tried to run fast but then something stopped and stopped me like a wall. Yes, it was my dupatta pinned onto a nut in my easy chair. Suddenly, ALL SURROUNDING SOUNDS DROWNED OUT MAKING THE HEARTBEAT GET SEEMINGLY LOUDER. Yeah... I was dreaming, dreaming my HEART out or else how can I explain my mother having soft black hair (uncoloured, mind you!), coming to life and greeting me after 25 years of leaving to the heavenly abode, to meet her little daughter who is nearly approaching half a century of her innings. What a day!

Soon, it was supper and while getting to sleep I shared my fantasy with my husband and kids. The kids of today, you see! My little son stopped at nothing to narrate his favourite dream with a whole world of Zombies against whom he, with his brother, constructed a protective hologram around his family and town and their warcry being “Wakanda Forever”.



This contribution won the third-runner up in the Creators Contest 2022.



This contribution is edited by R. S. Chintalapati & Tarun Chintam.



This experience is available in a paperback & ebook.

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