I was (in a way) handling a certain euphoric eight year old during an impromptu gathering with my mother’s friends. Varun’s frail frame and broken teeth made me feel that he was a millionaire receiving money from the tooth fairy. He had a neat fade on either sides and a letter haircut- V -at the back. Someone needed to give that barber a pat on the back and the jealous monster within me muttered how “liberal” schools have become with regards to haircut. Varun was running all around the house. I had to do something to ensure some peace and semblance in the room since I was probably the most responsible adult in a room with eight 40+ year old children.
Varun had a sweet tooth and we rushed down in search of a store- my last salvation. Kids love chocolates don’t they? The stereotypical superstore had five isles- each with neatly stacked products. The ones that were expired were placed at the back while the ones in front were their most recent stock. The chocolates were placed near the cash counter. “Anna, let us not buy too many. I don’t want you to spend so much” said the mature eight year old. His understanding invoked a sense that this world CAN be pure and naive. “Don’t worry. Just buy what you want I will take money from your mother. Is that fine?” I said. I didn’t want him to hold back the fun at the same time I did not want to betray his innocent care for the flies in my wallet. He picked up three chocolates and I picked one because I can only cheat on my diet when I am outside.
We walked towards the billing counter with four chocolates in my hand. “Anna I want one more for my sister” his mouth said but his mischievous eyes said otherwise.
“Well? Which one would you like to pick?”
He walked to the counter and pointed to an egg shaped chocolate in an orange-white wrapping “The ora—” he stopped talking. His eyes as big as laddus and mouth wide enough to fit a cricket ball.
“What happened?” I asked as I playfully raised my eyebrows and lowered my head to his field of vision. I saw what he saw. For a moment everything just went blank because I knew what his next sentence would be. I knew that the conversation that follows would be the toughest one I will ever have with a eight year old.