Conversations - 1
Papa and Nargis would often go out to take a walk by nearby lake while Mummy attended to Arsh’s wailing in the evenings and in a miffed tone admonished both Nargis and her Papa if they tried to help. Soon Nargis would forget the mild chiding she’d received from Mummy while she told her Papa, stories she had learnt, and asked questions about things – irrelevant and important. So, one day, while the two were sitting on the usual wooden bench by the pebbled shore, where they often sat and chattered idly, she drew out a question from her little bag of words.
“Papa, why do you call me that when everyone calls me maggie?”
“Because this is the name we gave you, love.”
“What does it mean papa?”
“It is a wild flower, honey, the most beautiful spectacle that anyone can find in the world, near to the blithe meadows. You know, its fragrance bewitches people from far off distances. It is the most beautiful flower.”
“Am I also beautiful papa?” knowing little what it was to be beautiful, she asked innocently.
“You're the most beautiful thing in this world honey!”
She momentarily felt too happy, too content that she was the most beautiful thing in the world. But then she asked “And mommy?”
(Sigh!) “She is also the most beautiful thing in the world. She is who brought you to me. You know, beautiful people create beautiful people.”
“I love you daddy!”
“I love you Nargis!”
“And mommy too!” She hugged as much of him as she could enclose in her tiny arms.
Alas, she wasn’t done yet.
“But why does everyone else call me maggie then?”
“Oh hahaha! (stifled gurgle)… because ‘Nargis’ twists their tongue, and we wouldn't allow anyone to call you 'naggy'”
“Well, umm, it is a kind of person who is always complaining or disturbing people and getting angry and whining, you know?” He appeared to be bargaining with her, measuring if this much explanation was sufficient.
“So, naggy is not beautiful?”
“No, don't say that honey.” He hastily added, “Everyone, usually is beautiful. It's just that sometimes they can't help it. And people get annoyed.”
“Am I naggy papa?”
“Oh no honey, you are the best. People just like to shorten the long names, so Nargis could immediately become Naggy, you see, if you speak too fast, Nargis becomes Naggy, see? Nargis, Nargis, Naggis, Naggys, Naggy?” He counted with his fingers, as if reciting the numbers to her in chorus. (What he didn’t tell her was that the perfume of a Nargis flower is so strong that it could cause headaches if inhaled in excess.)
“And what about Arsh? He cries all the time, is he naggy?”
“No, he's a baby. Babies cry all the time.” He said thoughtfully. Wasn’t the incessant crying the reason why he took these mini tours of the soothing lake side? Arsh was a baby, but, so was Arsh’s mother, his wife, at times.
“Ok.” She smiled again and was quiet, much to his relief.
P.S.: You know, I am terrible at verbal conversations, especially at starting them. I seldom accost somebody just because I don't know what I would say after saying 'Hi', in real world especially. In the virtual world, it feels less stupid to admit that I had no other intention than to get a 'quick weather report' from the person, hoping they are all right. I presume, I am too full of myself to think of things I could talk about, except things that I know. But there are a few people who disarm me, especially because I don't feel the need to say anything when with them. They, I think, understand my ... need. And then, there are children, I believe daughters and sons can break any silence quite cutely. So, it was when I wondered what I would talk about, that it dawned that they'd make me talk, I didn't need to worry about it.
P.P.S.: Children ask wonderful questions, lets be children sometimes, and ask like them :-)