“ruko mumma. ye kya hai?“
I look forward to taking Sarah to park. She loves the swings and the slides and I am excited for her excitement. For me, the park represents a destination we need to reach quickly because that is where we will “play”. But for Sarah, there is no such distinction. For her, every place and every moment is play. Just what she plays with, may change.
On any of our typical walks to the park, I will be tugging her or asking her to walk faster and she would find a million things that she needs to stop for or walk slowly for.
Walking with one foot on the raised footpath and one foot below is one such situation.
And then many more like:
Seeing a bird on an overhead wire:
“Hi, birdie…” “Hi, birdie…”, “Haaaiiiiii BIRDIEEEEEEE”
still no response from the bird and Sarah goes “sunti nahi hai birdie” (The bird doesn’t listen”
I smile and I nudge her forward. We cross a neem tree and all around, under the tree, there are lots of neem tree fruits (nimbori) on the ground. Sarah stops, picks one up and asks me “what’s this mumma?”. “It’s the fruit fo neem tree”, I reply. In her mind, “fruit = something I can eat” and in goes the bitter nimbori before I have time to react.
I get that out of her mouth and again tug her forward. We come across a small (very very small) puddle on the road. And Sarah goes and stands right in the middle of it (somehow she knows where that smallest of the puddles is deepest) and goes “water, water, water”.
“Let’s go Sarah, we will play in the park.”
“ruko mumma, ruko” (wait mumma, wait) She goes.
Only then I finally stopped and really saw how she has been playing all along the way — with the bird, with the trees, with the water on the road… While I’ve been focussed on getting us from home to the park, she has been in a “park” all along.
There is no place that she needs to be except for where she is. There is no other ‘thing’ she needs to play with, except for what is right in front of her. As an adult, I often am responsible for many “logistical” things in life — getting her from point A to B being one of them. In the rush to ‘reach’ I fail to notice our path. Theoretically I know the journey is much more important than the destination but I often forget it. Without even knowing it, Sarah has helped me see the joy in taking things slowly again.
“Yes Sarah, Let’s wait.”