Writers International Edition

column by dr aparna ajith

Anvik, Pariksheth, and Bhavishya: The Three Musketeers of Goan Childhood

Childhood days define and sustain the art of growing up. No passage of the biological clock can wither the shades of sanguine emotions etched in the rivulets of the heart by the innocent epoch. Nobody wishes to come out of the cocoon of the newborn days and the grandeur of warmth being lavished and nurtured from all nooks and crannies. It is right to say that “childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul”. One such story lingers in my recess for a long. In the medley of life, some threads shine brighter than others. Such is the tale of three childhood companions whose bond transcends time and distance. It is time to give life to that golden array of memories through my word smithy.

All of us were yearning to get rid of the impact it created on our subsistence thereby transforming 2020 into a futile year. When I look back at 2020 now, I have something to cheer and cherish. The lethargic days of lockdown impelled me to dwell deep in the wisdom of words. I began weaving words in my creative landscape. All things subtle and striking enthralled me. The euphoria of creation within me took me to a creative wonderland of mine. Anvik, my raison d’etre 2.0 has transformed my life into a new realm. Mewling and puking in my arms, I started feeling his serene charm and sensing his innocent gestures. His angelic smile makes me blissful; his charismatic vegetative sounds make me delightful. He has bestowed a new world of happiness and happenings on me. He makes me go ahead with spectacular expectations of a better tomorrow. His hearty arrival embellishes my horizon of hope. I cannot think of a day untouched by his touch and twitter. The whirlwind of agony and ecstasy, exhaustion and exhilaration could confine us to the walls of our home. Kunjapp’s world was crushed by the fear of coronavirus. The COVID time baby was forced to remain in quarantine. The world for him was restricted to the familiar three four faces.

The maiden flight journey in the month of eight has bestowed him with a world of wonders and marvels. Above all, the moments, and movements at a tourist spot like Goa bestowed him the vibrant hues to be beloved forever. Kunjapp who was struggling to achieve the milestone of crawling found comfort in, around, and within me. The safe landing at Goa’s airport followed by our Baleno journey culminated in the quarters where we had the first glance of the first floor and the immediate neighbours nearby our quarters. NandaKumar and family have become a part of the active vocabulary through the lovely portrayals Sujeeth has given by now. Nanda well received Jeeth, a newcomer in our absence by making everything handy and possible for a person in quarantine. We too were warmly greeted and received by Nanda and family. Jeeth has informed me that Nanda’s family would help me out in my process of getting acquainted.

Meeting and greeting are never new, but meeting Pariksheth was indeed a novel experience. His childish inquisitiveness prompted him to ask a lot about Kunjapp, who was sleeping then. It did not take much time for Kunjapp to develop a sort of giggling and shy-looking rapport with Pariksheth Chettan. He was curious to carry him like the way I carry Kunjapp and his broken Hindi did add to his conversation style. Pariksheth’s sister Bhavishya who was almost eight to nine months older than Kunjapp took time to mingle and share the toys with him. Pariksheth’s curiosity made him check the heights of both the babies and do pranks on them. The rapid flow of time like a smooth breeze made all three grow: Pariksheth became a schoolboy, Bhavishya turned two and Anvik crossed one. We have witnessed major milestones together. Kunjapp liked being in the company of Chettan and his cute calling of ‘Anvichu’. For Bhavishya, he was always ‘paappa’ ( the little one). Albeit his diction of words was in the process of maturing, he could recognize and express his liking with the facial muscles. Over time, their friendship grew stronger. Kunjapp’s love for the aroma of idli and sambar enhanced over time. Our exchange of curries and conversations with Kavita and the kids made our days pleasant at Goa. I still remember those days when Jeeth had to go for night duty and poor Kunjapp trying hard to part his dad. Kunjapp and his mom spent some time waving hands and roaming around the shopping complex. If Nanda happens to see Kunjapp, he makes sure that he asks something or plays with him so that Kunjapp feels better. For Nanda, Kunjapp remains Shaant beta ‘paapa jaisa shaant beta’. He never knows how naughty the wildness of imagination can take Kunjapp. Still, he remains calm and composed in knowing and unlearning things.

The passage of time and the hearty interactions took a mighty end by the heralding of transfer. We were sure that we would not be able to meet Nanda and their family for our next vacation. Their packing and preparation have started by then. We were getting ready to bid adieu to Kunjapp’s friends with a half-hearted mind. We handed over our parting gifts along with our wedding anniversary cake. I still cherish Pariksheth coming and handing over a ‘damru’ to Kunjapp asking him to keep it. The next day when his mom gifted him a pair of shorts and t T-shirt, he asked me to return the other gift and keep this. His childish innocence still makes me laugh. He came to me saying – “Aunty, only seven days, Anvi going. Shall I take him to my home”? Their moments of togetherness and childish talks remain afresh in me. The night before we were leaving, Kavita prepared us a casserole full of vadas saying she could make only that for Anvi. We still carry the warmth and fragrance of that love. As we had to catch the flight early morning, we started around 23:00 hoping that we would not get caught and delayed by the traffic. Nanda, Kavita, and the kids were wide awake to bid us tata, bye. I could still feel the vibration of Pariksheth saying not to go, Anvi. Later, Jeeth got to know from Nanda that both Pariksheth and Bhavishya cried saying Anvi would not be coming to Goa ……

Nanda and their family have gone to new quarters. Three more vacations came in search of our Goan days. New neighbours did occupy Nanda’s home. Nothing remained the same. Whenever we mounted the stairs and opened the door of our quarters, it seemed like an instinct for Anvi to run in search of Chechi and Chettan. It took days and new faces to make him realize that it was no more Chechi and Chettan’s home. Over the years, we move from one quarter to another, and we come across a place to place, face to face but Pariksheth and Bhavishya forever remain Kunjapp’s first friends. They are the tiny humans he has seen for the first time on his beautiful planet. They have opened new vistas of friendship, caring, sharing, ramblings, prattle, and giggles on him.

We have promised that we will meet them at their new place… Though the promise has not become ancient, we fulfilled it without taking a year. We met them in their hometown. It was indeed a journey to see Kunjapp’s childhood friends who are now familiar only with the photograph images. His limited vocabulary asked me a lot of queries and the revisit did satiate his innocent mind. It was a surprise trip to the outskirts of Chennai. As we landed at Chennai airport after the week-long safari to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, I planned to drop by. After picking up our Baleno from Chennai City, we proceeded to Arakkonam. On reaching halfway, Jeeth felt like calling and asking Nanda whether they were available. He rang up some time later and asked us to reach home saying he would join us. He sent the location too. The air and road journeys have made us tired like anything still the zeal to see his childhood friends made all of us remain renewed. Meanwhile, we had a late lunch with tea and moved along with the moments of Baleno. Our car deserves special mention as no stories of our real-life roots and routes are complete without the four wheels on course. We reached as per the Google map timing. Pariksheth, Bhavishya, Kavita, and Nanda’s mother were all set to greet us. Nanda as promised joined in sometime. The unexpected visit did not restrict them from offering us home food. I was wondering how my little one would respond. He was running around and behind them as if he were playing there for days. Pariksheth did not fail to check the heights of Kunjapp and Bhavishya. They have only a slight difference now! His exclamation still reverberates in me. Time flies and how fast these cuties grow! This is all we could say. We did not know Nanda and their family were gearing up for the housewarming. In a way, we turned out to be the first visitors to their new home. As we got a gift for them from the islands, we handed over it as a housewarming gift. We hope that they have found a place for it in the new home itself. The time for stories, selfies, and delicious dishes will take time for me to pen the next story. Hence we took leave albeit they told us to stay there that night. As we had plans to meet and make surprise visits, we had to tell them bye with a remark that we would come again soon after bidding farewell to Goa.

The canvas of life is beautified by the patterns played and colored by the people whom we treasure and cherish for a lifetime. “Happy times come and go but the best childhood memories stay forever” remains true to the core. The friendship and affection that flourished over the limited period will be cherished for a lifetime. Kunjapp’s Goa and Goan days are colored by the cuteness of these cool friends. Nanda and family will be remembered and cherished for what and how they are… Of course, the triumphs of the trio and their bonds of friendship.
Years may pass, and distances may grow, but the bond they share remains unbreakable. For in the hearts of these three friends, the spirit of childhood lives on, forever carved in the pages of their shared story. I wish my Kunjapp write the rest of his childhood stories about his first friends very shortly. See you soon, Kuttippappas.

Dedicated to Sujeeth and Anvik Sujeeth, the priceless possessions of my life who make me go ahead with all my daily delirium and creative lunacies. Love and hugs to my warriors!

Dr Aparna Ajith

About the Author

Dr Aparna Ajith writer and her travel experience in goaDr. Aparna Ajith serves as an Assistant Professor in the PG Department of English at Sree Narayana College for Women, Kollam affiliated with the University of Kerala. She is the author of Musings of Venus, An anthology of poems. She is the recipient of the Panorama Global Youth Literary Award 2020. She is one of the recipients of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy Research Grant 2020. Being a freelance journalist, she writes and translates articles for the Information and Public Relations Department, Govt. of Kerala. She is an avid reader and blogger who dabbles in the world of prose and verse. Having lived in four Indian cities and a quaint hamlet, she soars high in the sky of artistic imagination wielding her realistic and diasporic impressions. Her academic and creative pursuits bestowed her the opportunity to travel to 18 states and 2 union territories in the country and get a glimpse of their varied cultures. Beyond her professional pursuits, she finds joy in navigating the highs and lows of life alongside her beloved baby, Anvik Sujeeth, whose presence often breathes life into her poetic expressions.

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