Last October, I had the chance to visit Bangalore. I availed the leave in spite of being aware that Deepshree would be visiting Kolkata for official work and Ranoo would be going to Hyderabad for taking part in a basketball tournament. There would be little overlap in our schedule. However, I would get to meet Baba as he would come to Bangalore to cover for Deepshree’s absence.
I am truly blessed to have such wonderful parents, a lovely wife, 2 lovely daughters and so many wonderful friends. All of these converged during this vacation. First Baba arrived from Kolkata. Then, Ranoo went to Hyderabad for her tournament. Then, Deepshree went to Kolkata for her work. Ranoo came back from Hyderabad having had a wonderful outing (the first of her life). So, now we were Ranoo, Baba and I in Bangalore. Deepshree called letting me know that I need attending the Parent Teacher Meet in Ranoo’s school. This was going to be a first time experience for me as I had never done this exercise before in my life in all these years of Ranoo growing up. Always Baba and Deepshree took care of this aspect.
On the appointed day, I got ready dressed in my best T-Shirt and Trousers. I also put on a shoe, while I normally roam around in my slippers in Bangalore. After breakfast, around 11 AM, Ranoo and I started for her school in our Maruti Swift. All along the way, Ranoo was very silent. I tried to drag her into a conversation. However, Ranoo was lost in her thoughts. On arriving at the school, Ranoo took me to the room in the school where we were to meet her class teacher. There were a few students who had appointment before us. So, we waited. After about 1 hour, we got our turn.
The teacher took out Ranoo’s mark sheet and handed over to me. I saw that she had done reasonably well in most of the subjects. However, significantly her score in Mathematics was comparatively low. Her teacher told me that Ranoo was a well-behaved student and she took part in most activities. However, she needs concentrating in the class and needs choosing the right friends. I listened and said nothing. I signed the mark sheet where I needed signing and took all that was given to me and thanked the teacher.
On coming out of the room, Ranoo was absolutely silent. We came out of the school and I found a shop of Kanti Sweets right opposite the school. I told Ranoo that we need having some sweet as I always had sweets when I got my report card. She followed me to the shop. However, she would not have anything. So, I ordered 2 sweets and started eating. Ranoo reminded me that Deepshree would be very upset if she knew about this. I told her I did not care as she had got her report card that day. Hearing this, Ranoo ordered for 2 sweets for herself. We then bought some sweets for Baba and headed for the car.
In the car, Ranoo was still very quiet. I told her that I needed buying some T-Shirts to take back to Riyadh. So, we headed for MG Road. We could not find any parking on MG Road and so parked in Cubbon Park. From Cubbon Park, we walked about 1 KM to the Raymonds shop on the MG Road. At Raymonds shop, I bought 2 T-Shirts. I kept consulting Ranoo about what to choose. When I had done, Ranoo said that she also needed a T-Shirt. So, we selected 2 T-Shirts for her. I also bought 2 jeans and a Shirt and a Tie. Seeing me in this mood, Ranoo said she wanted to buy a Goosebumps book. We gave the jeans for alteration and went to Higgin Bothams. There, Ranoo selected her Goosebumps. We bought 2 books. When we were at the payment counter, Ranoo noticed a coin collection for sale. Now, Ranoo is a coin collector. So, I bought that for her.
When we came out of Higgin Bothams, we found that it was drizzling lightly. We walked back to the Raymonds shop. The jeans were still not ready and thus we waited in the shop. By this time, it started to rain quite heavily. The jeans arrived and it was raining heavily outside. We waited for about 3 minutes. Then, I told Ranoo that let us walk in the rain. She agreed and we both stepped out in the rain. We walked back the 1 KM distance in the rain. Now, Ranoo was absolutely elated. She said that her mother never allowed her to do so. I explained that was because Deepshree was bothered about her health. I also told her that Deepshree and I would go out driving our Yezdi in the rain when we were younger. Ranoo was surprised.
We walked in the rain and were totally drenched. I did my antiques by jumping into puddles and splashing water on Ranoo. She was absolutely enjoying herself. We reached the car and drove home. On the way, we stopped at Wet Pets and bought 2 fishes for our aquarium. We reached home to find that Baba was out for his walk. Both of us changed into dry clothes and had something to eat.
While eating Ranoo said that she had a friend who would not talk to her because of some confusion between them. She wanted to know what she needed doing. I was surprised, as she had never before discussed anything like this before with me. I told her that she must go out of her way to make up with her friend. She told that she was trying. However, that girl would not come close to her. So, I told her to write on the blackboard during the lunch break, “Deepali, I am sorry for whatever happened. Let us be friends again”.
Next day, Ranoo returned from school elated and announced that Deepali was friends with her again. I was very happy for her. Now, she wanted to know more tricks. I told her that I did not know any tricks. However, I said that I needed making an agreement with her. I took her to her computer and opened two documents in Word. I named one document as friends.doc and the other as enemy.doc. I told her to list all her friends in friends.com and all her enemies in enemy.doc. She agreed and got down to work. After 1 hour, she called me to tell that she was done. I found that there were many names in friends.doc and there was one name in enemy.doc. I enquired why this one name was there was there in enemy.doc. She explained the story. So, we made a plan how to convert this enemy into a friend. She liked the idea.
We made a deal that every time she made a new friend, she would add the name to friends.doc. And every time she made an enemy, she would list in enemy.doc. When there was an entry in enemy.doc, she would call me using Skype and discuss the case. Together, we would work out a plan for converting this enemy into a friend.
Deepshree came back from Kolkata. I invited my friends and colleagues from MIT for dinner. We all had a wonderful time together. I returned to Riyadh rejuvenated.
The deal between Ranoo and I is active. In the last 4 months, I have had one discussion with Ranoo around enemy.doc. At the moment, the file enemy.doc is empty.