On one of the days Dolly visited us, Mom was busy. Dolly had to be kept engaged with something, otherwise she would get angry. Thus I took her to the balcony and was talking to her. I showed her a crow and said, “Kauva dekho.”
She replied, “Kovva meri behen hai. (Crow is my sister!)”
Every day, Dolly would hit a bouncer to which we would laugh or would not know what to reply. This was one of it. Mom had taught Dolly that all living beings belong to us and we need to take care of them. Dolly had interpreted it in this way. When Mom heard the above, she asked from inside the house, “Then how is Mayna related to you?”
She replied, “Mayna meri mousi hai. (Mayna is my Maternal Aunty.)”
Then suddenly, a squirrel began to screech. I needed to divert Dolly’s attention from her Mummy Aunty. So, I told her, “Dekho Gillu poonch uthake bularaha hai aapko, ‘Dolly, Dolly, Dolly, Dolly.’ (Look that squirrel is lifting its tail and calling you, Dolly, Dolly, Dolly, Dolly.)”
She asked, “Haan, chachchi? (Yes, Really?)”
When Mom came out after completing her work and called, “Dolly, meri gudiya. (Dolly, my doll.)”
She immediately lifted her arms and told Mom, “Bachcha bachcha karo na.” She wanted Mom to pamper her in her own style.
Then Mom lifted the child, she kissed her, hugged her and sat down on the floor inside our home. When Dolly lay on Mom’s lap, she became very small like an infant. Mom started pampering her. She gave her a stuffed toy, held her head and moving her forward and backward began singing, “Meri pyari Dolly. Sundar sundar Dolly. Chintu tiny Dolly. Teenee meenee Dolly. Mini mini Dolly. Meri gudiya, Dolly. Meri Dahlia, Dolly. Meri Gulabo, Dolly. Meri laddoo, Dolly. Meri kishmish, Dolly.”
Then Mom kissed her and made her sit on her favourite stool. Then Dolly said, “Abhi main aapko kahani chunati hoon.” She began the story with, “Aicha tha…”
We did not know what she was saying. Only a few words were decipherable like, “Darna nahin…Aicha hua…”
And finally, she said, “Kya cheekha?”
Mom sneezed and said, “Maine cheekha.”
She asked, “Chachchi?”
Mom replied, “Haan.”
In the evening, Mom would always sing some bhajans and if Dolly would be with her, she would sing them anyways. Dolly had picked up a few of them and would sing, when Mom would bring her out to the balcony.
I have photographed 2 of Dolly’s story sessions with Mom. There are many pictures. But I can post only a few of them here.
More to come…
To be continued…