Why Bam Bam Bole? Because this kid, all of four years, loved the ‘Bam Bam Bole’ song from the movie Taare Zameen Par and ordered everybody around him to call him by this name.
He derived almost a sadistic pleasure in watching mosquitoes biting people and enjoyed the spectacle, the aftereffect, of the victim being caught unawares by the bite, trying to catch and murder the culprit and then scratching the targeted area. The little guy loved smiling to satisfaction. He could be compared to Buddha in his quest for enlightenment and to explorers like Christopher Columbus and Vasco de Gama in his curiosity to explore unknown territories – all the houses of the locality. A cute child like him could never be considered an unwelcome guest as he observed everything with the love and devotion of ornithologists for birds, astrologers for horoscopes, lawyers for cases, a suitor for his beloved and Bam Bam Bole for Amir Khan.
‘The most shameless creature to have ever walked upon the earth’ was how his father talked about him to his mother. The fact that his nick name had been Gappu had clearly been forgotten vis-à-vis the grand nomenclature BAM BAM BOLE, suffixing which, the child also liked to add SINGH, his father’s title. Bam Bam Bole Singh- something like Robin Hood Pandey aka Chulbul Pandy in the 2010 Bollywood blockbuster Dabang.
His mother was fed up of his habit of changing clothes every time he moved out of the house which was not less than three to four times a day. All her efforts at keeping his clothes ironed yielded crumpled results, sometimes even muddy ones. Bam Bam Bole hated going to school and most of the uncles and aunties of the colony could spot him playing, sometimes even alone, in the park of Ashok Vihar, the first planned colony of the town. Infinity mall was also a first here, a source of curiosity for some, nonchalance for most, and exhibition of status for others like Rama, an attractive and garrulous lady in her mid-thirties. There was that ‘I only shop at Infinity’ look about her that irritated other females of the colony to extremes. She loved to boast about ‘no less than Rs.5000 shopping every time I go to Infinity’.
Once Rama aunty spotted Gappu playing bare feet in the park. She called out to him and greeted him with a perfect dose of sweet and artificial tone before other ladies.
‘I am Bam Bam Bole’
‘O yes, o yes, I forgot. So Bam Bam Bole, don’t your father and mother have enough money to buy you a nice pair of shoes?’
‘I left my shoes at home’, said he irritatedly. Clearly he didn’t like anybody to say anything against his parents.
‘Will you come to my house; I have sooooo many shoes at home. I could give you one’, said aunty.
Gappu surprised her with a sudden hug and an over cute display of emotion- Aunteeeee!
Once inside her house, he said- ‘give me something to eat and where are the shoes?’
Rama tried to divert his attention and gave him biscuits but he demanded chocolates, cakes and pastries. The devil remained as steadfast and persistent in his demand as was Bhishma Pitamah in his vow never to marry and beget children. No chiding, coaxing, pleading helped. She directed him to go back to his house and return in a proper dress with shoes, but to no avail. Finally, with a sigh, she got ready to take the child to Infinity in her car. She adorned the driver’s seat and Gappu, the front passenger’s. The journey to the mall. The devil laughed.
‘What is it child?’
‘You are such a slow driver aunty. He, he, he’.
This arrow hit the bull’s eye and the accelerator was hit with a vengeance. The car flew.
Upon reaching ‘Infinity’, Rama parked the car and adjusted her sunglasses over her head. She held Gappu’s right hand with her left and headed towards the confectionary and before she could say anything, Gappu had started ordering.
‘Two Éclairs, two Black Forests; one cream roll, one Pepsi 1 litre’- the order was given and taken. So instead of Rs. 50, Rama’s bill read Rs. 565, taxes included. She rubbed her eyes but the bill was correct. She paid it and asked the little wrench to walk towards the car parking area. He was nowhere in sight. Nervously she looked around the mall and finally spotted him on the elevator going upwards to the second floor.
‘God, what is this boy up to!’
By the time she managed to put Gappu’s odyssey from one shop to another to a halt, they had arrived at the Adidas showroom.
And why couldn’t Rama refuse to get in? Because Sheela Sharma, her neighbor who mostly bore the brunt of Rama’s ‘Infinity sessions’ infinitely, was in the same shop, now kissing Gappu on his cheeks. Gappu had announced before Sheela aunty that Rama aunty had promised to buy nice pair of shoes for him as he was without any.
Rama had an image to maintain, you see.
Sheela aunty said ‘how nice’ and waited for the salesman to attend to her after Gappu.
Rama almost passed out, had to buy the pair and wait for Sheela too to finish her shopping upon the latter’s request to drop her home.
In car, Gappu happily relished the cream roll and pastries splattering the chocolate cream all around his mouth and fingers and the seat as he talked to Sheela aunty on the back seat asking her whether she had heard that song from the movie Tees Maar Khaan- ‘Sheela…’. Sheela was laughing and Rama was shedding silent tears in the driver’s seat.
She never smiled at Gappu or taunted at his bare feet again. Her swank about Infinity mall stopped too, much to the pleasant shock and relief of Sheela.