Kahaani mein kahaani

Kahaani mein kahaani

‘Th’isclaimer – this story is written with some amount of hinglish. In reality a lot of kannadish, tamilish, telgulish, oompish, gibirish happens. We are being considerate enough to leave that out. In return please beer, bear, behear with our spell-ings and estyle.

Fresh morning, fresh children, fresh theme, fresh t(ray) of books freshly picked by a fresh aunty. Some related to the theme, some completely unrelated. Books of all sizes, from stories to picture books to small, chunky block books, for a variety of audience to match various moods.

She has even kept one college level book on the topic of spirituality. Lets see what happens.

Each child chooses one or many books. There is excitement as children want aunty to read ‘their’ choice. Unanimity from the country’s parliament to this lil classroom is rare. A fight is on cards. Aunty is not too keen to resolve this and children know that by now. Some melodramatic moments later, children finally settle down – they know more is yet to happen in life. Children love to read by themselves and love to be read to - life is about doing and get done.

They keep some books for self or peer reading and decide on this book that aunty should read for them.

Aunty reads, kids don’t listen. No Sir they don’t listen – rather they completely dive into the book - they purrr, they fuss, they huff, they puff, they repeat repeat, they echo-oh-oh-oh. They read with her, they add comments, they add masala, they add drama, they add characters, they add questions, they add answers, their movements, expressions. They add their tongues, eyebrows, head shakes, modulations, shoulders, hands, knees, heels, and belly shakes.

Ufff yeh kya ho raha hai. Teacher orders: “Can we not focus on the drawing”. One says, “Look at her long hair”, another comments on her pretty eyebrow, and another on the bird behind her eyes - but wait, “We can’t see the bird?? “Dats why i am showing you na” comes the retort.

And another wants to see if the juice in uncle’s glass will fall off if we turn the book upside down, while another is thinking how fast this deer can run – “fasssster” than his father’s car; Another is comparing the tail of the deer with the hair of the girl and still another is …. “Halt” teacher stops them - “uff bahut hua” .. is her refrain.

But then you know children are in general relentless and yes today also they are relentless … the teacher knows every day they are relentless - they want to talk about how similar thing happened in their bathrooms and how their granddad’s house had an aeroplane landing into its chimney  … “Wait! We can’t be so crazy. You see we are in class so we need to be sensible we need to learn things which matter”.

“And what is that aunty” they ask unanimously. And one asks what is “matter”? But Aunty too is relentless, so she asks them things that matter, “What if your legs were as purple as the monkey in this picture - what would happen?” Aunty asks, “If you were to grow into a deer by the age of six what would you do? And aunty asks relentlessly, “If you have only grass served with ketchup for dinner tonight how will you live to eat it - with a fork or a spoon?”

Yeh kay ho raha hai - now it seems I have lost my head and the only sensible person in this whole world is the author of the book. So we start thinking what the author must be thinking, liking, living, making, eating and yes doing with all these animals in this book

By now everybody is groaning with the heavy burden of  laughter and the only recourse is to declare reading room as an independent kingdom of silence and that every citizen has to read with their nose inside the book. Which the children dutifully do and lick every single syllable off the pages till each one (page) is spanking clean.

But suddenly one child expresses his wishes silently – “In any book if only I could find a pink nose”. And lo and behold we get google-ka-avatar right here - each child-search-engine searching and searching in every possible book for a pretty proud pink pose - no no, nose). From across this mayhem classroom you can see all kinds of noses being seen, analysed, talked about, bemoaned and alluded till the teacher senses a kind of sneeze coming up her olfactory system and promptly declares the reading session achooooooooooo.

God bless you.

By Anuja and Ratnesh