Their school declared that they would be taken on a field trip to Bannerghatta Zoo. I was super excited as usual and signed the permission sheet which was sent to know parents’ approval and I had also informed Abbas about the trip. The next day when MIL asked me “Are you gonna actually send the kids?” I said “Yes ofcourse” Abbas said “Well, I still haven’t given my consent. I’m not prepared for it.” Oopsie Doopsie. I didn’t think till then that a kids’ school trip like that needed the DAD to prepare himself. I refrained myself from telling him that I had already given permission at the fear of being Dead Meat. I always want them to make use of all the good opportunities that come their way. My parents always were very strict in not letting us go out of the home. So much so that we could not go to our friends’ house. But we had the permission to call frenz over to our home. I don’t want my kids to cling to us and think that ‘only’ we are their world. I want them to have a separate social life. So that when they grow up, they will know that family is not the only priority in life. Having friends is equally important! (Abbas was finally ‘pataofied’ as expected)
Now both girls were excited about going to the zoo but they expected that Abbas and I would also accompany them. No matter how many different carrots I dangled in front of them about how much fun it will be to go out with frenz, they were determined to stick to their stand. I didn’t want to lie to them that we were going along and then escape after dropping them at school. So yesterday again I tried to convince them. And both girls started crying! I took a deep breath and tried to sort things out.
Me: Ok tell me. Why do you want us to come along? What are you scared of?
Mannu: I’m scared of animals.
Me: But animals will be in the cage. They will not be able to come close to you.
Mannu: No Mamma. They will come running near me.
I knew they will not trust me if I say animals will not do anything to them.
Me: Okay, let me keep a small Ganapathi Bappa in each of your bags. If any animal comes near you, Ganapathi Bappa will beat it up Dishoom Dishoom.
And both of them gave a wide grin. Yayay!
And then Mannu strikes yet again: “Animals aaye to Bag ka zip open karna padega na? Nahi to Ganapathi Bappa baahar kaise aayenge?”
Today morning when I packed their bags, Mannu promptly reminded me if I had kept Ganapathi Bappa in the bag or not! This girl’s memory, I tell you!!!
We were more worried about Tammu coz she has this habit of running away on her own will and wish. She doesn’t even look back to see if her people are around. (She has inherited this from MIL) I have been murmuring to her time and again since last week that she should be holding one of the aunties’ hands when they go to the Zoo. I prepared a Badge with their name and our phone numbers listed on it. I pinned it up on their shirts. Taught them to show that badge to any elderly in case they don’t see any of their frenz or teachers around and tell that it was their Dad’s number. I’m glad they understood. We even did a mock test after reaching school by asking them what they were supposed to do if they get lost.
I left office early and reached their school at 3 PM. A few other parents were waiting thee and I was told the bus would be coming in 10-15 mins. I was so eager to receive Mantam and know from them all about the trip. Mannu came first, caught a glimpse of me and rushed to give me a bear hug. And boy, she was ecstatic! She began naming all the animals she had seen. II asked “Where is Tammu???” She said “Tammu is there and will be coming.” After a min or so, Tammu came and she could not see us. When she finally saw me, she came running and said “Mamma Ganapathi Bappa diya tha na? Isiliye koi animal hamaare paas nahi aaya.” Mannu said “Tiger vomit kiya Mamma!” I said “Whatt??? Tiger??” and their caretaker told me “Yes she is right. Actually a Cheetah puked and they saw it”
Finally both of them said “Khub masti ho gaya Mamma!!!” and Thank God for that...