my beautiful princess

I have always thought that i am not good with kids. I have often watched them play waving with their pudgy little hands, smiling their toothed or toothless or half-toothed smiles. I have watched their eyes focussing in and out of every corner of their rooms. I adore kids. I do. But something always kept me away from them. I did not know how to react to kids. I often worried that I might make a really bad impression on them. The truth is kids often made me insecure. Yes, that's true. Though I wanted to cuddle them or play with them or just sit beside them and watch tv, I never did. I was afraid that the kids might not like me, that I might do something stupid. I have envied people that seemed so naturally gifted with handling kids. They never missed a beat striking up a conversation with children. They never had any difficulty amusing children with their antics. I knew I could do all that but just didn't have the courage to do it.

That's when she came into my life. This wonderful girl nearing two years. She was the daughter of a colleague. I met her when I was in the UK. I don't remember the first time I met her. I'm prone to forgetting a lot of these 'first', second and all other things :). She was an adorable angel. Her smile was so innocent and so endearing. I don't think I did anything more than shake her little hands the first time. On the first trip that we went on together (to Knebworth House), she sat with me in the cab. I pointed out things to her on the road, I kept speaking to her and trying to grasp her baby-talk. I couldn't believe that a kid was right there sitting with me and blissfully chattering like a humming bird. We became friends by the end of that day. Infact, my malayalam was so bad that when I spoke to her we seemed to be in perfect sync. That's what everyone told me :D

Later on, whenever we went on trips she would sit with me most of the time. When we visited her house, she would make me read out books to her. She would have me tell her stories of Nemo, Beauty and the Beast, Cim*b*erella. Sometimes we would read aloud nursery rhymes together. We watched Finding Nemo, BB and Cimberella endless number of times. Whenever the dance scene in BB came up, she would make me dance with her. She, the beauty gliding along the floor, swirling and twirling. I, the clumsy beast trying my best to keep my breath and follow her around the floor. She wouldn't let us stop even when I was breathless and panting. She would guide me through the dance like the princess she was. She was always at the center of my attention and I guess she loved it. When she was done dancing, she would step on my feet and I would have to "feet-carry" her around the house. When she was done with that, I would have to toss her up in the air. Ok, not actually toss but you should get the idea :) Whenever she was around, I always had something or the other to do. When we sat down for dinner, she would always want to eat from my plate. Her mother would have to threaten her to eat the food she was trying to feed her.

I have a lot of anecdotes to do with her. She was a very smart child. Very smart.

One day, a colleague and I ended up at the same restaurant that she and her parents were having dinner. After she finished her meal, she came over to our table and settled down on my lap. When her parents made to leave and asked her if she wanted to come she told them to go on without her but to leave her pram behind. The naughty one knew that her parents wouldn't leave without her so she refused to budge and even egged them on to leave, until her mom came to cajole her with sweet-talk.

Then on another trip her parents revealed to me that she had named me her *friend*. She had only one other *friend* at that time - her uncle. It made me mighty proud. When we teased her enquiring about who her new friend was, she turned away her face blushing. She was the perfectly angelic child at that moment. I wished that I have a child like her when I have to.

Another day, I met her at a restaurant. She sat down on the table facing me and started talking to me in her baby voice. We had quite an animated conversation, though each of us probably talked about an entirely different thing. Suddenly she put her tiny chubby hands on my cheeks and gave me the warmest hug you could possibly imagine with her face resting on my shoulder. She raised her head, her hands still on my cheeks, said something and then gave me another hug, her face resting on my other shoulder this time. I was so overwhelmed with joy. It's an unbelievable feeling to be loved by a child. The hug of a child must be the most beautiful thing in the world. It's a symphony of innocence and honesty which renders it pure beyond comparison.

Here was a child who could put up with me, a child who actually seemed to like me. A child that was now my friend. With her I lost all my inhibitions. With her I knew I was a lot better with kids than I gave myself credit for. With her I could forget everything and be a child. With her there was never a dull moment. Then, I learned that her parents are moving away out of India. I don't know for how long. I wonder if she'll ever remember me. I wonder if I am still her *friend*. Wherever she goes I wish my little princess the best of times and the loveliest of lives.

P.S.: She liked to be called 'princess', 'beautiful', etc. :) Ask her who beauty was she would point at herself. Innocent but smart!!

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  1. Prakash Swaminathan Says:

    a really touching article .. kids are too cool.. they are the most amazing creations .. they are smart .. really very smart .. you just love them ..
    i too thought that i am not cool with kids and it is a gift to be able to relish their company .. i was proved wrong when i was able to spend a lot of time playing,talking to my annan's daughter and keep her always giggling ..