“Chetta, can u give me some ice?”
I was having my daily afternoon nap, and was engaged in a not so bad day-dream on the sofa in the verandah of my house that this spongy little voice from outside the door woke me up. With a modest discontent ascribed to the damage of my dream, I looked outside for the origin of the voice.
A small kid of age some where around five or six with a tanned dusty body, wavy hair, a guiltless smile and a pair of breeches torn at a few places stood at the patio with a small aluminum tumbler in his hand. Dust had drawn gradients on his garments in the same way as it did on his body. But his eyes had this striking innocence concealed in it, which was trying to break free. And that gave him a remarkable charm.
“What? What do you want?” I asked him with an added seriousness.
“Chetta, can you give me some ice from the fridge.” I realized that his words also veiled the same innocence in it.
“Why do you want ice?”
“We want to make ice-cream from it.” He replied with a feeling of pride on his face.
“I and my sister. She is there at our house waiting for me to come with the ice.”
“Oh! But ice-cream is not made that way kid.” A splash of melancholy wavered through his face. Even though ice-cream is not made like that and it doesn’t matter to me whatsoever as to what this kid is going to do with the ice cubes I am going to give to him, an afterthought made me feel the disappointment he would have felt when I said that. And I felt bad.
“Don’t worry; just give it a try and may be you will settle down with something similar. Let me see whether there are some ice cubes in the fridge.” And I walked inside my house just to find out that there weren’t any ice cubes in the freezer.
“Can you come back after an hour? I just put some water in the fridge and it will take some time to form ice.” I was back telling him this.
“Ok chetta, I will be back in an hour. Shall I keep this tumbler here?” He kept the tumbler by the side of the doorsteps and dashed off to the gate. I looked at that tumbler. It was filled with hopes; hopes of making ice-cream out of ice cubes. Hopes which I am sure were not going to get materialized. I took that tumbler inside my house.
He came to my house after an hour. I was still at the verandah, on the sofa, skimming through some magazines.
“Chetta, ice is ready?”
“Hmm… Let me have a look.” And I went to the kitchen. The ice was ready long back. I returned to the verandah and handed over the tumbler with ice cubes in it, to the child. His face brightened all of a sudden, as if he got a treasure.
“Thanks chetta.” His happiness reflected in his words.
He was about to leave that I continued. “Hey actually when I made that ice for you, the fridge kind of over-cooled some of it and here is something I got as a result.” I raised my hand towards him. It carried a small aluminum bowl which contained the ice-cream that I bought from the nearby store a few minutes back.
“It is some ice-cream. It is of no use to me. If you want you can take it” I said with a puny little smile on my face. “But yeah you have to return this bowl okay?”
“Ok chetta.” He took that bowl from me and ran towards the gate, towards his house, towards his little sister, who was waiting for the ice cubes for making ice-cream out of it.
I knew that what I said didn’t make any sense at all. Water over-cooled and became ice-cream! But it didn’t matter to me. What did matter to me was the happiness on those two petite faces; faces of that boy and his little sister. And I didn’t want that to disappear and give way to disappointment...
PS: Chetta(n) is a Malayalam word used to address elders.
Monday, October 24, 2005
“Chetta, can u give me some ice?”