In my last piece on my twins I had ended with the wish that they didn’t have to grow up so soon. Looking back in time, memories jog my face into a silly smile and I find myself recalling something that the boys had said or done all those years ago.
At seven years they were old enough to bathe by themselves but one day I noticed that Kurush’s hair was smelling of soap in some parts and unwashed in others and I wondered aloud at this. He replied that every bath time he rubs the soap from front to back and from side to side to keep Dracula from getting at him by making a cross across his head. He has a vivid imagination and it ran really wild one day as he told me about the days when he was an egg in heaven and the fun he and all his ‘anda’ friends used to have!
Getting the boys ready for school is a drawn out affair. And when the rickshaw fails to turn up tension sets in while alternative arrangements have to be made. As my husband hastened to take out the car, one of the boys said he wanted to go potty again. I grumbled and scolded, asking why he couldn’t have thought of it earlier. ‘I thought you’d be angry,’ he said, as if I’d be better pleased now. Anyway, he emerged mere seconds later and as I helped dress him again he said reproachfully, ‘I couldn’t even do my potty properly ‘cos I might be late and Daddy will be angry, so I only did the important pieces.’ I shall not say which twin said this because they are both grown up now and I value my life and limb.
They have always loved games, the noisier and rougher the better. Trying out scary rides at the Exhibition is also great fun though after one particular ride Kurush did confess that his stomach was running away from his body. I am envied because I have twins who surely never fight. As far back as I can remember, they have always fought and argued, just like any two siblings. Even when they had chicken pox. Kurush was not yet infected but was running from room to room yelling, ‘Mummy, Karan’s infecting me.’ And there was Karan, a saliva-wetted finger stuck out, chasing after Kurush because he had ‘blasted one chicken pock (singular for pox) of mine.’
Competition, rivalry and one-upmanship has always been present between them. In Class IV Karan had won two prizes, for singing and for Dances of the World (predictably the Red Indian war dance, whooping and hopping around an imaginary fire) while Kurush had only one for recitation of a poem (‘I wish that I had duck feet’, among many other things he wished his body had). Suddenly I heard Kurush jealously admonish his sibling, ‘You better not win any more prizes’. When I suggested he take part in elocution he brightened up but a few minutes later a small voice asked, ‘But I don’t know very many people; who’ll vote for me?’ I realized then that the child had confused ‘elocution’ with the impending elections.
Driving to a friend’s farm we had 2 young men weaving and winding their new two-wheeler in front of our car, filled to the brim as it were by human sardines of all ages and sizes, when suddenly they rammed into a hay-laden tractor. The bike owner, gored in his femoral artery with the pointed end of his brake, was bleeding profusely while his pillion was curled up in shocked stupor. Getting help took a good one hour and when the victims were finally taken away I remarked aloud that I had sent up a prayer for the boys. We were settling ourselves in the car when Kurush’s voice piped up, ‘I also want to pray. But which God to pray to? There’s a Dadarji (Parsi), a Rama god and a Jesus God, a Krishna god and a monkey god , there are so many gods’.
‘Pray to any god son’, we all chorused. ‘They’ll all hear you.’
Children at age 5 and 6 say things which may sound very cute and entertaining but only because they are just five and six years old. The same remarks uttered at an older age would only sound rude and insensitive, and as parents we need to draw a certain line beyond which they cannot go. Like the time when our elderly guests could not understand why I had angrily packed them off to their room. The little fellows were seated together on the sofa, looking so innocent, when the gentleman pointed at each one in turn and said solemnly, ‘Hero, Honda’. The boys, equally solemnly, pointed their fingers at the couple and intoned, ‘Aloo, Bonda’.
Oh well, life was never dull for us as parents. One doctor watching them at their liveliest asked, ‘How ever do you manage them?’ and I replied, ‘Do I have a choice?’