Sunday, May 22, 2011

Steel Swan

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

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