It's been many months since I have blogged anything. One of the reasons is, no doubt, laziness. If the flow continues, it is very easy to keep writing something on a regular basis; but once you stop, it is very difficult to get back to the habit. The second reason and the more pertinent one is that my 'source of inspiration' is out of station! Jenny and her mother have been in Kerala since the end of October. And since this blog is basically dedicated to Jennifer, it makes it a bit difficult to write about her when I don't get to see her on a daily/regular basis. But enough is enough: no more excuses. I need to start writing again.
Jennifer left for Kerala at a stage when she just started walking and babbling. In our small Bangalore home itself, she was walking from chair to chair, from room to room, and from parent to parent, taking small steps, one at a time without falling down. She would say this and that (in her language) and try to communicate. This was the situation when she left.
I went to visit them almost 6 weeks later. By then, I have been hearing all sorts of stories about Jennifer in Kerala. One thing I knew from the very outset was that she would have ample space to walk around, since spatial limitations in Kerala do not mean the same as in Bangalore. Secondly, there would be much more human contact over there, compared to Bangalore where her daily interactions were merely between her mother and I. Suffice to say, I was more than curious to know how she had grown.
To say that I found her walking about alright is undermining her achievement. She does not walk, she struts around! 'Strut' means "to walk with a vain, pompous bearing, as with head erect and chest thrown out, as if expecting to impress observers". And that's actually what she does. The only difference is that it is not caused by vanity but rather a matter of maintaining balance and it is less of walking by putting one foot forward and then the other as much as walking the way a robot does, but still...one needs to appreciate the effort! Once the gates to the compound are closed, Jenny is free to walk around as she pleases. She walks, she runs, she sits on the ground and plays with stones, scolds the dogs and so on.
Give her a stick and her style changes, and I swear to God I have no idea where she got this from!!! Once she holds a stick, her demeanour changes completely. She 'speaks' in a sterner tone, she brandishes the stick and becomes almost the stereotype teacher (or policewoman!) whom one dreads. She stands in front of the dog when it barks and scolds it (of course, by showing the stick!) or chases the cat out of the kitchen (this she got from my mom!) and so on and so forth....She becomes an authority figure almost instantaneously.
And her talking has changed, too. She babbles much more (still incoherently) but she makes it very clear what she wants. In a funny manner, it almost sounds Russian when she talks! Not that I know any Russian, but some words remain with me after having read dozen of cold-war conspiracies as novels! When she doesn't want something, she closes her eyes, turns her head and makes a sound that sounds exactly like 'nyet' which is Russian for 'no'. And it sounds exactly like 'da' (Russian for 'yes') when she does want something. Whatever language it be, there is absolutely no doubt whether she wants something or not when asked a question. This lady knows what she wants or doesn't.
I keep travelling home almost every 6 weeks now to meet Jenny and her mother. And I think it goes without saying that apart from the joy of meeting them, a curiosity of what Jennifer has picked up since the last visit dominates. It is such a joy seeing her grow up...and I really do miss it that I cannot witness it on a daily basis. But I am not complaining...at least I am getting to see her regularly. :)