Time-out

Kuntala Sengupta

Wants to know your story, over an orange ice-candy. Or, while she doodles.

Time-Out

I was at an august (if not austere) gathering, couple of evenings back. Fifteen minutes into it and I realized my attention was drifting, in spite of myself. The entire gathering was deeply into what they were doing, while I adjusted multiple times my seating-arrangement. It was then that I chanced upon a little girl, who was constantly in a circle of her-own-game-with-herself. She had irresistibly mischievous movements, and hard-to-contain eyes. Eyes that interacted, before words did. She chanced upon me too. Restless, the two of us. Yet both shying away from reaching out to the other. So I made the first move and flashed a smile. Her circle was immediately cut short by couple of inches in diameter, and she moved in closer. I winked this time, and gestured at an empty spot next to me. She took royal time to arrive, and settle. Finally, she went back to her mother’s purse, fiddled out something, and showed it to me. A photo of her in the mobile-phone. I smiled an ‘Awww-smile’. That, I guess, set her off. Next what began was rather unexpected, and very clever of her, to be unassuming in her pitch. Here goes:

Little Girl: “Which school?”

Me: (Trying to suppress a laugh; showing a sad frown to her) “No school.”

LG: “I, Apeejay.”

Me: Gestured a wow and a thumbs up. (It may here be noted that silence was ideally asked out of the gathering we were both in.)

LG: “Which class?”

Me: (How could she ask me this??!) “No class (almost showing her a very sad smiley out of my face).You?”

LG: “LKG-B. Lower KG-B.” (She explained.) Yes, that is the size that you can now assume of her! A tiny bundle of intensely charming energy. Bee-like. Very busy.

LG: “How many friends?” Very serious.

Me: Partying in my head, I acted out the saddest face I could and replied, “No friends. Zero friends.”

LG: “I, seven friends.” This, while she showed four fingers to me. My moment of victory.

Me: “Seven, or four?”

That little thing was capable of remarkable embarrassment. And replied, “You can draw flower?”

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