Poornima Sharma’s family got transferred from Amritsar to Mumbai. She was with her 22 month old son Harsh and husband Shravan. Theirs was a love marriage, Poornima being a Tamilian and Shravan a Punjabi. They had come to Mumbai with the minimal essentials and had tried to settle in the rented home in the I C Extention in Borivali, a suburb of the commercial capital of India.
Shravan left his family in Mumbai to bring the rest of their household necessities from Amritsar. Poornima’s elder sister Shreya had come to visit her from Chennai the next day. With her were her children and husband. Shreya had two children Supriya (Supri-10 years) and Jayesh (Jay-3 years). As the flat was new to them, they were fascinated by the atmosphere.
Shreya, her two children, Poornima and Harsh were standing near the parapet wall of the 3rd floor flat overlooking the staircase leading up to their floor. Someone was coming from the lower floor. A head was visible to them.
“Parts of the body is coming!” uttered Jay. “Mummy, the head is coming!”
All of them looked at who was coming in surprise. It was the building watchman. They burst out laughing. At the watchman’s offended look, they told him what had happened. Laughing, he handed over the society circular to Poornima that he had brought.
“Jay is studying in kinder-garden and has just learnt parts of the body. We including the teachers all try to teach the children so many things. But we really don’t know what impression it all has created on the children, especially the small ones,” Shreya commented.
In the meantime, Poorvi, Poornima’s sister-in-law came up via the stairs. She was a medical intern in a nearby hospital. “The lift is not working,” she said.
“Kurvi Hathi!” exclaimed Harsh running out of the flat.
“Where is the elephant? (Hathi is elephant in Hindi),” asked Poorvi.
“Where is the sparrow?” asked Supriya.
“What sparrow?” asked Poorvi.
“Kurvi is sparrow in Tamil.”
“He wants to say Poorvi Aunty,” Poornima explained. Everybody burst out laughing.
They all entered the flat and Poorvi went into the kitchen to have some water.
Suddenly, Harsh exclaimed, “Supari Akka! Supari Akka!”
Poorvi came running out, alarmed. “Where is it? Supari (betel nut)? There are children here. They might swallow the entire (Akka means entire in Hindi spoken in Mumbai) supari. It is not safe.”
“Oh, that. He is calling his other aunt’s daughter, Supriya as Supari Akka,” Poornima explained. “We taught him to call her Supri Akka. He is trying to learn too much in too little time. Then he is mixing up what he has learnt.”
Then the door-bell rang. It was Shravan’s mother’s younger sister Namjyot and her husband, Chhagan Sharma. He called his wife, “Namjyot Biwi andar aao. (Namjyot wife come in).”
“Namjyot Biwi andar aao,” This time it was little Harsh!
“Meena andar aao,” Chhagan told the other lady standing outside. She was Chhagan’s cousin brother’s wife.
“Meena Darling andar aao!” said Harsh.
“Meena Aunty’s husband calls her Meena Darling,” Poornima explained.
Everybody doubled over with laughter. Harsh also started laughing.
“Harsh’s funny talks are acting as therapy in the stress we have due to shifting,” Poornima said still laughing.
“We are also enjoying. Our day to day stress is also relieved,” said Shreya, over the cup of tea all were having.
At that time, the sound of a truck was heard below and it appeared that Shravan had returned from Amritsar.
“We will be staying for one week,” Shreya said. “We can enjoy more then.”
To be continued…