Today suddenly, we (Mom and me) were reminded of a little girl called Dolly. We have several photographs of hers. Some of them have been framed and displayed on the wall of our hall. This girl was less than a year old, when she became friendly with my Mom.
Dolly was born 1 ½ years after Ronak to a Punjabi family in our building. The 2 kids would always cry and their father would come out of the house, to show a parrot, which was being reared in one of the flats in the building. Once Mom was standing in our balcony and the little girl was crying. She was being cradled in her father’s arms. When he showed her the parrot, she looked at my Mom. Mom waved to her and she stopped crying. After this incident, whenever she would cry, her father would show her my Mom and she would stop crying.
Since then began the friendship of this little girl with my Mom. When she began to come to our home on the first floor, she would call her, Mummy Aunty! This was because my sister and I would call her Mummy. And for the little girl she is Aunty. Hence, the name. Eventually, everybody from the building began to call my Mom, Mummy Aunty.
Dolly would sneak to our home without her mother knowing it and that too climbing the large steps (for her) of the staircase like a monkey, with so much difficulty. Soon her paternal grandmother, who had gone to their native place, came back and took over the responsibility of the children, so that both their parents could concentrate on their work.
The grandmother was very spiritual and it appears that she had taught the children the importance of cow worship in the Hindu religion. One day, I was just standing on the balcony, when Dolly came out and started playing in the premises of the building. The compound of the building was open to the road at that time. A few cows passed our building and this little girl began shouting “Gai Mata. Gai Mata.” The cows immediately started downloading their dung and she instantly covered her nose saying, “Shiiiiii!”
Another day, the girl saw a man standing on the road, perhaps waiting for the bus or somebody. I have no idea, what happened to her. She started shouting, “Woh, Aadami! Woh Aadami!” meaning, “That man”! The man got so embarrassed. He just left the place and was not to be seen again nearby!
Another time, her coming home coincided with my weekly fast. I had brought a packet of wafers to have. This girl took away the packet and started giving me one wafer at a time. She also began eating it herself! I was left staring at her.
Kids in the building had started bringing up a cat because there were a lot of rats around. The cat grew very fat and its color was brown. Her mother would show her animals from the Discovery Channel. One day, Dolly perhaps saw the cat from nearby. She ran back home, shouting, “Mummy. Billi (cat)!”
Not only that, she would threaten me with dire consequences if I did any mischief. She would say, “Masti karegi toh sheeer aa jayega!” Meaning if I would be naughty, the tiger would come to catch me! She would call the pet cat a tiger.
It appears that her mother would speak secretive things to her husband, while not allowing these kids to enter their bedroom. This girl would take her Mummy Aunty to our house’s inner room and speak secrets after closing the door on me! When I asked my Mom, what the girl said, she would reply, “The girl whispered something, which I did not understand!”
This girl would be possessive of my Mom, so much so that she would not allow any other kid from the building or otherwise to meet my Mom or be friendly with her! When my cousin brother came to visit us from Bangalore, she came to our house immediately and sat on his lap, not allowing him to speak to my Mom!
Another time, when another of my cousin brother from Chennai had come, she came and told us to throw him out of the house! She said, “Why has he come? We don’t need him! Tell him to go!” Thankfully, my brother did not know Hindi so well.
She would massage my Mom’s head often. Her mother had learnt acupressure and this girl would keep pulling my Mom’s fingers and toes saying, “I am doing accupechal!” Mom says, “We will not get this innocent love and possessiveness even if we spend millions of rupees!”