I know, I know, you proabably think I have lost my marbles – Why would I compare something as trivial as masti to things as vital as intelligence, emotion and passion?
But believe me masti is vital especially when it comes to the relationship between you and your children.
Let me, as always, take my own example. I have always believed in having fun and indulging in unadulterated madness with my kids.
It was my pleasurable duty to drop Aniket and Ankita to school. When Aniket was around seven I would take him to his class and indulge in chutki with his classmates. This little ritual involved clasping their hands in mine, making a circle with my thumb and middle finger around their thumbs and go Snap, Snap! Everyone would queue up for this rite and Aniket would stand in a corner with a proud smile on his face.
Once, Madhavi and I had gone to collect Aniket’s report card. Madhavi was talking to his class teacher Mrs. Geeta. I was indulging in an extra session of chutki with a couple of his classmates. Aniket was hanging around looking with puppy- like devotion at his favourite teacher.
“Hey Ani, want me to do chutki with your Geeta ma’am?” I whispered.
He looked at me, his eyes widening with horror.
This was just the motivation I needed.
“Aniket wants me to do chutki with you, Geeta,” I told her, holding out my hand.
Aniket shrank back shaking his head like a cuckoo clock gone berserk.
Geeta who had seen me perform chutki laughed and held out her hand. I indulged in the profound ritual, my eyes on Aniket.
He looked at me with shock and awe and I could almost see his lips forming the words, “My father weirdest…”
To this day our entire family, including Aniket, laughs itself hoarse over the masti episode.
Madhavi and I work for the same Steel Plant and we usually come home together. Several evenings, when we returned home, the game of pittu or seven stones would be in progress with our kids and the neighbours’ children participating. We two would jump into the fray, participating with energy and enthusiasm that would put even Gen Z to shame.
During rains, we four would be indoors and often play Ludo, antakshari, name, place, animal thing and the all time favourite Scrabble. While playing Ludo no one wanted me in their team because I was supposed to have the worst luck. While participating in Antakshari I was allowed only to say the words out not sing – I was a terrible singer and no one could tolerate my tryst with melody.