The pandemic isolated us for two years from our family members who lived abroad. Then a tsunami hit us in the form of our children, their spouses and our grandchildren. More than them, their luggage consisting of two large suitcases per head, and countless other bags and backpacks with their precious laptops sticking out overwhelmed us.
Due to lack of space in our middle-class home, they were strewn everywhere, creating a maze that I had to figure out to navigate safely. Two bags came filled with the children’s favorite toys, which were quickly abandoned for the dabbas, plates, cups and spoons freely available in my kitchen. Soon they metamorphosed into musical instruments and a breathtaking orchestra ensued!
The already fragile infrastructure of our house completely collapsed. One day at dawn the taps went dry, the hot geysers stayed cold, the crusher shut down and the LPG ran out.
As if to add fuel to the fire, our cook, suddenly overwhelmed with devotion, went on a pilgrimage to the lord of the seven hills, Tirupathi.
In the midst of this chaos, my son sat his four year old in front of me and asked me to tell the stories I used to tell him when he was that age. What mother in the world is not flattered? I decided to not only tell the story, but to animate it. A partially filled glass jar, a few pebbles, and a black crow cut into shape on thin cardboard were soon ready. The story lesson has begun.
“Once upon a time, on a hot afternoon, a crow was very thirsty and looked for water. He flew, flew and got tired but no water. My bilingual grandson shouted:Tanni beku” and ran to the kitchen to drink some water.
The story picks up after the break: “The crow saw a jar with water in the bottom but its beak couldn’t reach it. The clever crow spotted pebbles strewn everywhere. And then it was time for the bathroom break. When he came back, I dropped a pebble in the jar and said out loud “ONE”; another pebble saying “TWO” — I wanted to teach him to count and make him understand that the water and the pebble cannot occupy the same space at the same time. I said “THREE” at that moment, the little guy ripped all the pebbles out of my fist, dropped them all together, causing the water to rise to the edge in a jiffy, dropping the crow there, not only to drink but also to swim!