She must have been 2.5 years old then. I dropped them at the daycare, the caretaker began feeding them breakfast. I was chatting with the supervisor and other parents there. Once their breakfast was done, they sat on seats on the other end. I noticed that Mannu cozily sat next to a boy (S1) and her cheeks turned red when I looked at her. I was surprised to see that even though there were so many empty seats, she chose to chipkofy with A. A’s mom also used to travel by office bus but by a different route. In the evenings, when we would walk to our bus, A’s bus would be parked in the front and ours would be the last one. When we reached the Bus parking area, I could spot A in the front seat craning his neck to catch a glimpse of Mannu(!) Tammu(?). As soon as we passed A’s bus, he would scream ‘Bye’ and both Mannu Tammu would reply ‘Bye’ and this went on in loop till we hopped into our bus. All the passengers in the intermediate buses that we left behind used to glare at us as if some ‘Protest March’ is going on. However, they could hear ‘Bye Bye’ instead of ‘Hai Hai’.
After a few days, another guy joined the daycare S2. He was a little older, went to school and got dropped to the day care during lunch time. Mannu hung around S2 and was so fascinated by his school bag, books and colouring aids. One evening when I went to pick them up, the caretaker complained to me that Mannu cried in the afternoon and threw tantrums. When I inquired about the reason she said that Mannu was adamant that she would sleep by S2’s side. I thought I better not tell this to Abbas or he will have a heart attack.
Now that the daycare has changed, they have new friends here. On a weekend when we were shopping in a mall, we bumped into S2 and his mom. Tammu coolly said ‘Hello’ to him and Mannu was acting like a 70’s heroine who used to twist her Pallu’s end out of timidity on seeing the hero. She blushed intensely and I was really taken aback at the way she behaved. She lifted her head only after they went away.
In the new day care, this incident happened some time back.
Recently when I was talking to them about their friends in the daycare, Tammu said “Maine E ko maara” (I beat E). I asked why she beat the guy. She said “E Mannu ko lips mein kiss kiya, isiliye” (Because E gave Mannu a kiss on her lips). I was baffled and gave a questioning look at Mannu. As usual shyness dawns on her face and she modestly says “Next time, I will ask him to kiss on cheeks.” This happened in Bulu and Abbas snarled – “No kisses to/from anyone other than Mamma and Baba, Mind you!”