It was a hot summer afternoon in Kolkata and I was standing in a long queue. We had decided to spend some time in the Science City before our departure to Delhi and were now mildly regretting the decision. The queue was awfully long for a 3D show (that would perhaps not meet our expectations anyway). With rumbling stomachs and impatient demeanours, we waited.
Shortly, my eyes fell on a little girl who stood on the other side of our stanchion. She was as tiny as the barrier and was playing with the elastic cord that connected two stanchions. She had short hair and an adorable frock. She was perhaps the only human there oblivious to the excruciating wait –she had found entertainment for herself in the elastic cord itself. The little girl continuously hit the elastic cord with her tiny palm. She would watch the cord vibrate and move, and then smile with glee. Her discovery had filled her with wonder. Her eyes were wide and her mirth was infectious. It was almost like NASA had finally found that alternate life existed.
Not long after, her parents noticed what she was doing. Absentmindedly, her father grasped the cord between his palm, causing it to stop vibrating. He then resumed talking to her mother. I expected the little girl to begin crying now –she had found a wonderful game that her father had successfully ruined. To my surprise, she didn’t cry at all!
Instead of throwing a tantrum, her eyes opened wider and her mouth formed an ‘O’. Cautiously, she hit her palm against the cord to make it vibrate and then grasped the cord in her palm, thereby causing it to stop. It was true –the cord could stop too! Her smile turned into laughter as she repeated the process over and over again –first causing the cord to vibrate and then making it stop. What was natural, almost immaterial, to the humans twice her size around her, became an adventure for her.
Her glee was seamless and infectious. Before I knew it, I was smiling too.