“I used to make puppy faces when I was much younger.”
“Oh yeah? And when was that?”
“When I was 4.”
That’s the thing about 5 year olds. Just because they’re the size of leprechauns, doesn’t mean they don’t have any wisdom.
Neel retired from making puppy faces because that’s just……. immature.
He now likes to take photographs of bugs. Also videos of family members and people he’s just met.
I’ve spent most of my adult life bullying little children because it’s just so easy. Also because they deserve a little scare every now and then, what with new age parents letting them roam free, mannerless, like talking, rabid badgers.
I met Neel for the first time today. I heard him from afar, in his high pitched voice asking for the camera. When he got closer, he walked up and said “Hi!”, so I struck up a conversation. Asked him if he came to his fathers permaculture farm often, he said yes he did, because he liked his time here. Then he started to tell me about some bug. There were other people around, but somehow I knew that I was going to spend a lot of my time discussing insects.
Everything fascinated him. He wanted to go see his turtle, Oogway, then he couldn’t find his snail, Scratch, then he plucked and ate some leaves which he loved because they were ‘the perfect kind of sour’. He also narrated a story about a dog getting hit by a van, in great detail, but with very little sadness. He was a man in control of his emotions.
It was a perfect day. It had just finished raining, the sun was out, we all walked around the farm, Neel was being trailed by Optimus, his dog, speaking incessantly, sometimes to us, sometimes to Optimus, asking him to “Move that ass, come on shake it.” with a sharp “NEEL! watch it!!” from his father. After a while we got some chai, sat in the sun, discussed the world ending, the interglacial period, which in turn bored Neel, so he took off. I found him a little later, during lunch, when he decided to take videos of everyone in the room, while giving a constant commentary. He also told me that he was a genius. I had to take his word for it.
Then ……… . . someone gave him chocolate.
I could solve the worlds energy crisis if I could just put down what happens to hyperactive kids on sugar, in a formula.
There was lots of loud singing,
A leaping swan-like dance
An interview on a camera which was handed to me
Warp speed running
Watching bits of an animated movie while talking over it
Asking my name again and again
Asking me if it meant I had lice
My opinion on torn stickers
More filming of books, shelves, and lots of himself with “This is Neel, and I’m standing next to…”.
All at the same time.
Eventually, like all drugs, the sugar wore off.
It was also time for me to leave. I didn’t really want to. I wanted to stay back and dunk him in a cask of honey, sit back and get entertained. Or just put a string on his head and hang him in my car.
But I chose to stay civil and say goodbye.
We high-fived, low-fived, then I bent down to give him a hug and realised just how tiny he was.
I don’t know when I’m going to see Neel again. I don’t know if I’m going to see Neel again. But I’m pretty sure he’s running around with my heart in tow.
Goa in July is magical. It’s painfully green & new, and when you’re smack in the middle of it, everything feels right with the world. What amps it up is a chance encounter with a curious, bug eyed boy, in search of ….. everything. And afraid of nothing.
Here’s to slugs and snails and puppy dog tails!