Monday, June 20, 2016

Reliving One's Childhood, Once again

I woke up when the wheels of our B767 touched the ground. Excitement was building up as the aircraft taxied in to the gate. Every one stood up once the seat belt signs were switched off, and started opening the overhead bins to remove their hand baggage. I too joined them. Normally I continue to sit until the early birds are out of the way, but today was a special day, and a special meeting awaited us. I had been dreaming of this meeting on this flight from Zurich to Toronto, but there were other more urgent things to be done now.

The aerobridge was connected and the line had started moving. Both of us, my wife and I, joined the slow crawl of passengers towards the exit door, carrying our hand baggage and our belongings with us. Out of the aircraft; a long trudge from the gate to the immigration counter. We were both excited, but were too busy to show it. Passports and filled immigration forms in hand, we both breezed through immigration and walked in to the baggage section. I pull out 2 two dollar coins that were kept in safe custody from last year’s trip, drop them in the slot and pull out two baggage trolleys. We move to the conveyor belt, and see our luggage coming around. Luggage picked up; placed on trolleys, and ready to go. With ‘nothing to declare’ custom slips we walk through the green channel and the last of the official checks at Toronto airport. A turn to the left and the door leading up to the arrival lounge is now visible. My heart starts to beat faster in anticipation of the meeting; all those thoughts of the flight come flooding back in the few seconds that it took us to traverse the long corridor to the exit door from the Customs area.

We had booked our flight and had forwarded our itinerary to our daughter and bachelor son in Toronto. Our daughter called up and mentioned that she would come to pick us up. She also told us that our grand daughter would be at school and would not be able to make it to the airport. Our Canadian born grand daughter was now 5 years old and had mentioned that ‘she was now a grown up girl’. How we grandparents secretly wish that our grand kids never grow up. Growing up means that their time is at a premium, and we lose our chance to be children once again, with them. In my case, I had really enjoyed my granddaughter’s growing up, much more than I had my own kids, primarily due to career demands when our kids were growing up.

During our visit the previous year we had taken her on a bird trail and had enjoyed watching her feeding the birds and squirrels from her tiny hands. She was my little acrobat who would enjoy being thrown up in the air, while being twisted and turned around in the air. She never tired of it, and would plead, ‘Nana, once more, pleeaase, please, pliz’ whenever I stopped doing it. We would endlessly look for lady bugs on the shrubs in the backyard; she would take them in her tiny palms and exult to see them fly away. I once got her a soap bubble kit from the dollar store. She would make me blow the bubbles so that she could jump around and catch them in the air.

One day when I was tending to the back lawn, she came and sat down with me, and asked me if there were any earth worms in the soil. On hearing an affirmative answer, she asked me to give one in her palm. I looked at her and asked, ‘do you like earthworms’. No, she says. Then why are you asking for one, I asked while putting an earthworm on her palm. She gently patted the worm, and told me to put it back in the soil, while telling me that her teacher had asked her to catch an earthworm, be gentle with it, see it, love it, but return it to the same place afterwards. She stumped me with her next sentence when she confessed that she did not like earthworms but she had a job to do, and she must do it, whether she liked it or not. All these thoughts were crowding my mind and I was wondering if this trip would be as exciting as the last few had been.

We had just swung the exit door open with our carts, and were looking for our daughter in the visitors lounge. Suddenly there was a loud call of 'Naanaa' and we saw our little granddaughter charging towards us at full gallop. I just had enough time to stop my cart, run forward and lift her up in my arms. 

All my misgivings about her having ‘grown up’ vanished and I knew that we were going to have fun, as children, once again.


Renu said...

grand children are such a delight to have..for me they are my life.

J P Joshi said...

Agree with you Renu. God made grand children so that we lose our zest for life, as we grow older.