Its is Sunday. It has rained overnight. Streams of water are flowing down the narrow lanes.
I step outside and call out aloud, “come on, kids, dadaji (grandpa) is here! We’re going to race our paper boats!” In no time, I’m surrounded by a dozen happy, smiling faces. No, they did not ask for permission from their parents, knowing fully well they dare not refuse their ‘dadaji’!
“But where are the boats?” they ask. “Oh, we still have to make them”, is my reply. Out come some old newspapers and quickly some paper boats are fashioned. One or two kids are unsure of how to make them, so I help them fold the paper this way and that.
“Dadaji, where will these boats sail to?” asks a little girl.
“To some distant fairy land,” I promise her.
“And will the fairies play with my boat?”
“But of course, they will come to you in your dreams tonight, you will see!” I assure her.
The boats are ready to be launched. “Wait!” I call out, “Put some leaves or flower petals as cargo or the boats might just topple over.”
One by one, the boats are floated. And they drift away towards that distant fairy land. I call out to an older boy, “Hey you, help me, will you? I can’t bend!” But the little rascal with buck teeth just shows me his thumb as he runs away. I pretend to box his ears in jest, with a grin on my face.
Gradually, the boats disappear. Some, being carried out of sight. Others, stuck somewhere or sinking.
Time to part. Each kid gets a peppermint from grandpa. One of them wants another to take home for her younger sibling who is too young to enjoy the fun we’re having. Wish granted! I get a hug from all before they go. And so, till the next rainy day! I head home.
My day is made!