Yes, I’ve been madly busy and that’s always a good thing, right? Oh go on, say yes even if you don’t mean it! Make my day.
But something happened that made me want to stop and record it. Do old readers remember the green wooden bus Chhota Nana made for the Brat? For those who came in late, the Brat’s first word was ‘bus’ and living above the busy road that we did, that came as no surprise. I’d blogged about the bus because Chhota Nana sat with a carpenter and worked on that bus. If his first grandchild/nephew liked buses, he would have the biggest and best possible, no matter what it took.
It was made with love and care and thoughtfulness (Chhota Nana is well known for his thoughtful gifts) and it was personalised. Bicycle support wheels made its wheels, little plastic dolls sat as passengers and the number plate was the Brat’s date of birth – 555. It obviously went from Allahabad to Delhi and had Abada-Delhi painted on it, because that is how the Brat pronounced it in those days.
The bus did its duty and took them on my flights of fantasy. The years went by and they outgrew it but I couldn’t bear to give it away. And then we moved homes and I could no longer even find a suitable spot in the nursery in my new home. Buried under a bunch of stuff to give away it lay languishing and I still couldn’t let go. How could I ? It wasn’t just a store bought toy.
And then a few days ago I heard of a school for the underprivileged and I knew the bus had found its new home. I am sorry to say I didn’t let the kids know that I was giving it away. I didn’t want to risk them objecting because I had just about mustered up my own courage. They imagine it is still buried under the winter storage stuff. I’m not sure when they will ask for it – they have a couple of times and I’ve had to refuse them because I just didn’t have the strength to pull it out.
Lying around the house as it did, I’d forgotten how many memories I had of it. It took them on a space odyssey, some days it was a horse to their cowboy antics and on others it was a train taking them to Madras. Sturdy and built the perfect size to be ridden on, it was a ride-on toy like no other and had even once been pushed down the stairs ‘to see what happens’.
As the old bus settled into the back seat and took off on its last long journey I knew I’d done the right thing. I hope it brings as much joy to those little children as it brought to mine.
This might not seem like much to most. But for those who’ve taken this journey with me from the start, you’ll know why this has been emotional. It’s a coming of age. That bus truly was one of the last few things I had from the Brat’s baby days and as I watch childhood slip away and my 7 year old frown over homework… I (wo)manfully hold back tears.