Some precocious teenagers can be obnoxious.
I was all three.
A precocious, gogo goggles wearing teenager on the verge of being obnoxious.
I had opinions; I suspect I came on a bit strong and I suffered from tiddler phobia. I could not stand babies. Every time we visited as a family and the hosts took to staging their minors with their “Ba Ba Black Sheep”, I swore to myself I would never visit them again.
|Killing with kindness|
That was until I met Mala.
Mala was the first baby I registered. Perhaps she came along when I was at a nestling receptive stage of my life. More likely it was her innate appeal but I really liked this chubby. She was the first wriggling bundle I held for any reasonable length of time. She was small, she was cute and she was accessible.
|Mala with Aqseer Asawari|
|Holi at Hyderabad|
There was something gentle, something decent, and something very noble about this child. Over the years, our association waxed and waned a degree or two but my fondness for Mala remained a constant; in fact it grew to include a tremendous respect and admiration for the neat, capable young professional she was evolving into.
|Home at Sundernagar|
The first national champion in the family, the first girl to own and ride a mobike in the community and the first of her generation to strike out of home to study….Mala has been blazing a trail of sorts. She is a survivor and in the business of making her own luck. As a school going kid, she liked to get up at “dark subah” to study. She was also a marathon consumer of sweet lime. She has since kept up an unrelenting momentum and will bring it to a crescendo sooner or later, I am certain of that.
Mala is my niece; first cousin to Aqseer/ Asawari and most significantly, my synonym for a..... “steel swan”.
|Mala and her city of dreams.....Mumbai skyline, 2011|