There is an adventure in there somewhere. There always is. SPA or as I’m now terming it, expands to Single Parent Adventures. Running this SPA is nothing short of running a huge wide project. A programme even, if one may.
Being a single parent is a hard business. The kids, here the number being 2, always manage to ask all the pertinent questions that I’ve overlooked all my life. Is this the same ‘Waterloo’ that challenged Napoleon. Blimey, I didn’t know and the worst of it all, having lived in London for quite a number of years, I hadn’t bothered to correlate the two. Waterloo was BFI IMAX for me. I hadn’t realised the wider connotation to it.
Then the plethora of statues. Many of known names and faces. Many that I hadn’t bothered knowing. They were all the same to me. All stereotyped to nothing. It took me an adventure ride to realise that most statues came with a verbose description of why they were in the place they were. I hadn’t read them.
These days, I’m a proud single parent of two. My mum and my dad. Every time we step out of the house to catch a glimpse of this city, the three of us embark upon an adventure. The walk to the station inspires the many questions that my dad has for me. Where does this road lead to? Did you know that there is flight coming into the Heathrow every two minutes? How many runways do you think it has? I think it’s 5, one for each terminal. Why don’t they have many runways for each terminal. I think they must.
Are we taking the district line or is it only the picadilly line this time? Which one is quicker, and importantly, Why?
To be honest, years ago, I’d not have had the patience to sit through the plethora of questions. In time I had changed. Growing up and looking back, I know the kind of nightmare that I was. I’ve always asked a million questions. I still do. I remember this one time when our family was travelling and the chatter box that I was , I went on and on. One of my relatives did ask me to shut up for peace’s sake. I remained quiet. For a whole few minutes and then started again.
These days , I know that I don’t have any of the answers to the questions that my dad asks. I hear it out though. Some, I answer. Most, I make up the answers, just to toy around. We share a giggle over it. The topics change. Things go forgotten, but etched forever in my memory. I’m learning to cherish the precious moments that I’m going through.
Recently we were at the Museum of Natural history. With the arrogance of having learnt how the world worked, I felt a bit jaded by a lot that was on display. My mum was in a world of her own. She enjoyed the way the volcanoes have shaped up the modern age. She went on and tried all the exhibits that encouraged user participation. Touch that, push that, pull this, roll that cylinder. She did it all. She read through the contents. Dad would enrich the experience with the things that he had experienced. The conversations around the fault lines that wrecked havoc in the Andamans, where he was the chief engineer at that time. The violence of the planet that was so sweetly remembered. We came upon an exhibit that replicated the earthquake experience. We stepped in and walked out excited as kids.
The planet’s precious minerals were displayed. Gems and crystals. One more beautiful than the other. Each, spell binding in their own right. Each mesmerising. Each reminding me of my state of poverty and how I couldn’t afford many, or even any of them. None of that nonsense ran through my mom. She just loved the opportunity of seeing those gems. The many diamonds ‘Gifted’ from India left us laughing our the course of human history.
The day coming to a close, I felt proud of being a Londoner. It’s kind of odd to associate a nativity to London. It’s not the place that I took that pride in. It was the people. No matter how crowded the trains got, there were always and I mean ALWAYS folks volunteering their seats to get my folks seated. Gentle hands ushering them to their seats. For that brief instance, my parents had a hundred kids. Each doing their best to keep the parents comfortable and safe. I do feel proud of them. Of us.
I’ve never experienced that in India. That’s not a reflection of the attitude of the folks. Back in India, I’d drive them to their destinations. When I wasn’t around, there was always that sweet kid (of varying ages) who had helped them have a safe and a comfortable journey. Right from the railway’s friendly porter, who’d walk slow, keep them company and talk to them and get them seated on the train to strangers on the flight who did their best to help them climb the stairs and navigate through the wild that is the airport. Some days I believe in the fact that the goodness that I express, gets rewarded by introducing the good and wonderful people of the world to my parents. These good Samaritans of the world occupy that role of a single parent in my absence. A parent substitute of sorts. One good deed deserves another and that’s my motivation in wanting and trying to help at each step. Yes, I am selfish that way. It’s just that hope that if I’m good enough, someone else will not be a villain on the street.
The other day, as the evening got dark, my folks were walking back from a temple. They were approached by a bloke. Fear gripped them but soon changed. The bloke had approached them to tell them that they were the sweetest oldest couple that he had ever seen. He wanted to tell them that and expected nothing in return.
Ain’t that an adventure of sorts? Don’t believe in the news that you read which speaks only of the devil and destruction. There are a billion folks out there who aren’t selfish. These are the unspoken daily heroes who go beyond their call of duty in being and staying human. Irrespective of what walk of life they hail from, these are the nice folks who make an effort to keep this world a better place. I used to think that this kindness, this goodness is a product of culture. I was wrong. It’s the fabric of being a human. Humans , by default, express that goodness and help others. That message does not come out. We’ve grown too skeptic from the abundant and constant flow of destructive information. Yes, granted that some of us are capable of evil deeds. Yes. But that’s not the general reflection of the world.
Being such a single parent, each day is an adventure. You worry about the wellbeing of the kids. You worry if the world’s cruelty will affect them inversely. You also get to experience the innocent bliss that they experience. You get to see the innocence of the world that they see. Such a wonderful adventure that rejuvenates your faith in people. May it last.
At this juncture, I am perplexed by a dilemma. How does evil exist in such a beautiful world? Or the alternative, In such a vile land, how does this goodness survive , endure and manifest itself. Something is not right. No wonder the battle between the good and the evil is an eternal one. By the looks of it, Good does have the upper hand. It always will. I hope and wish it does.