Posted by: gdevi | June 14, 2016

Castles Made of Sand

I spent the afternoon today with little Jake. Nic and Michael had a family emergency and Jake’s babysitter, Nana, was not in town. So it was Aunt G’s turn. Jake is only two though he is as tall as a 4 year old. He looks exactly like Michael now; he has your eyebrows, Nic, but that is it. He is a very sweet boy. It was a beautiful afternoon here, and so Jake and Aunt G. played in the playset out in the backyard. Jake loves the sandbox. There were many many types of trucks and we shoveled sand into them and dumped them, over and over again. Then Aunt G. made sand mountains and sand castles for Jake. Jake would walk over and jump on them. Smash! Smash! Smash! Aunt G. made many sand castles today and Jake smashed all of them with absolute glee! Dayani was the same way! Children love smashing sand castles. You are very sweet, Jake! Jake can name all the colors–blue, green, red, and white. The white truck was Jake’s favorite. Then Jake wanted to sit on the swing and so Aunt G. put Jake in the bucket swing. Jake likes swinging and asked Aunt G. to push “high.” It was very sweet. He is not scared at all; children have complete trust in gravity! Aunt G. pushed Jake in the swing for about forty minutes or so and we sang about every animal in Old MacDonald’s farm including a crow–I made that one up – and This old Man He Played One. Then Jake fell asleep in the swing. I tried to take him out and put him in his bed so he would be more comfortable, but Jake wanted to stay put in the swing and sleep! So Aunt G. gently pushed the swing–a swing is a cradle of sorts– so Jake could sleep. It was a lovely afternoon. Thank you, Jake.

ps: It feels like a dream now: when we were kids, there was a humongous jackfruit tree in the front yard of my grandmother’s house–my father’s mother’s house. It was a huge huge tree. Grandmother would have one of the laborers in the field come and hang a swing on it for us when we went to her house for our summer vacation. I loved that swing. I would ask my cousin–I was 10 or 11 then–and he must have been 17 or 18 — to push me higher and higher and higher on that swing until I had totally left the ground and was high and close to the branch on which the swing was hung. It was incredible. It feels like a dream now that I went up in a swing like that so high up in the sky once when I was a child. It feels like a dream. I had such a beautiful childhood full of wonderful people and places. Sometimes I wish Dayani could have experienced her childhood in India.

Another swing memory. In India we rode the swing in several different ways. You have the sitting down on the seat and kicking with your heels and swinging type of swinging. Then you have the highly exciting running under the swing and pushing the swing type of swinging. Here, one person sits on the swing, and the other person pushes the swing and when the swing starts moving forward the other person runs under it as it moves back and pushes it again. It can be dangerous as sometime the swing comes back faster than your calculations and hits the standing person and everyone ends up in a tangled rotation of ropes. Then you have the standing and sitting swinging, where one person sits on the swing, and a second person stands up in the swing with their feet planted on either side of the sitting person. The sitting person kicks off and off the riders go higher and higher. The standing person positively shrieks as the swing goes higher and higher. We are often not aware of our center of gravity when we are standing as opposed to sitting. You can stand behind the sitting person and hang on to the rope on either side and face the same way. Or you can stand in front of the sitting person with your legs on either side so that the standing person faces one way and the sitting person faces the other way. When we were kids, we thought this was incredibly thrilling, and it was too.

One day, when I was in fourth standard (grade)–8 years old– at the Jawahar Nagar school, during lunch recess, my friend Sheeba and I decided to get on the swing together. Sheeba would sit, and I would stand on the swing–we decided. Sheeba would face out. I would stand in front of her and face the other way. In other words, when Sheeba kicks off, she faced the front, and I had my back to the push of the swing. We started swinging. Sheeba was incredibly strong; she was an athlete and ran for the school’s track team. Sheeba kicked higher and higher and we started swinging higher and higher. I had my back to the push of the swing and it was incredible to go higher without seeing in front but feeling the wind on my back. We were rather high up in the forward swing when the recess bell rang. Without warning Sheeba decelerated without slowing down. I was jerked off the ropes and I flew out from the swing and fell backwards. The swings were in a lot covered with sand, but I hit the concrete border of the sandlot. I remember falling backwards and I lost consciousness when I hit my head on the concrete path. I must have lain there for quite a while. When I woke up, I was home. I don’t remember getting home. Apparently, Sheeba and the rest of the kids were scared when they saw me hit my head on the concrete border so they ran away to the classrooms. They didn’t tell anyone that I had fallen down. This was because the two person sitting-standing swinging was forbidden at school for precisely this reason. So I apparently lay there in the school playground for half an hour or so unconscious and undiscovered until one of the teachers noticed that I was missing from the fourth grade classroom. So they asked the kids and Sheeba babbled everything amidst crying hysterically. Sheeba was sure that I was dead. Anyway, the teachers ran to the playground and discovered me lying there unconscious with congealed blood where my head had hit the concrete. So they called my parents at work and they came and got me and took me to the hospital and made sure that I had no brain injury or concussion or anything like that. I was fine. Poor Sheeba was very upset. See, Sheeba, according to my horoscope I am not supposed to die until I am 62. If we did this when you and I are 62 then you have cause to worry, but not when we were eight.

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