At 4 years of age, you continue to inspire awe at just how much you have grown. Clearly constructed sentences, being able to feign anger, fake crying and most of all little white lies- the transformation is as cute as it is a little tragic. Allow me to give you an example- chikappa only said that we will take you to Funky monkey. But to your big friend Aparna, you reported that Chikappa mentioned we will go to both Funky Monkey and Time Zone. Upon confrontation, you quickly changed the topic to divert attention from the white lie. Alas, you have now begun the process of turning into an adult and as difficult a road as it is, I am sure you will do a good job of walking it.
I have fallen completely in love with you since the day I held you in my forearms. That moment, when all I could see was a tiny face wrapped in a bundle giving me the most subtle of smiles, became my undoing. Whatever illusions of detachment I held became shattered by the tiny creature that you were and remain. As you embark on the journey back home thousands of miles away, I wonder what you will be like the next time I see you. Will you have anytime for your chikappa at all or will your peers now remain the beneficiary of your time and energy? I suppose you joining hands with my wife to beat me up, is nature’s subtle way of reminding me that you are your own person, with your own choices and at best, if I undertake to be bound by your dictates, I shall remain a spectator of your journey, but never the driver nor in fact even an actor in it.
But what I most certainly have learnt is the power of experiences and the marvel of memory. Every moment spent playing with you, talking to you, watching you and hearing you speak and feeling your hand in my hand- it ceases to be moments and becomes instead, the sixth sense. As I reflect on the moment you arrived here last year, I am able to not just remember the day you arrived but I can go back in time and remember the way the house looked when you arrived, what you said and how the time was spent, as if it were happening all over again right in front of me. It is as if the present version of me can enter into the past version of me and replay the whole day and everyday thereafter with you anytime I want. Indeed, love is what allows us to transcend the limitations of time and space, not by allowing us to travel back and forth in time, but to simply manifest the reality that we have experienced in those moments of profound joy. You have, in these four months taught me, that the limitation of time is but the limitation of our mind and with the right incentive, it can be unshackled.
As you grow up, you may forget all that you did as a 4 year old. But I doubt I ever will, for you have imprinted yourself onto my consciousness. I hold on to your 4 year old version even as you grow older, stronger, wiser and smarter than yourself and I. It shall always dictate the way I perceive your words and actions. Your childhood, starting from the day you were born to each and every moment thereafter, will forever entitle you to my empathy and gratitude. After all, my greatest happiness is also my greatest debt, for the joys you have inspired can never be repaid nor accounted for.
-Ashok G.V. aka Chikappa