Whenever I call home, he insists to talk to me. When the telephone rings, he would run to pick it up and answer “ Hello, Appukka "
I don’t know how he invented this name for me. From the time he started saying names, he has been using this name for me, ” Appukka”. He refuses to change it in spite of efforts from all around him. I have heard grand pas being called “ Appappa, Appacha, Valyappacha and all. But I haven’t heard this name. He has invented a unique name for me.
If he starts talking to me, he wouldn’t care whether it is overseas call or not. He would keep on talking till he has exhausted all the stories and the long list of toys he wants. His stories would revolve around fights with Govind, his close friend and foe at school. He would get offended if I try to cut him short.
He is learning fast. Now he would wait for my wife to pick up the telephone first and start the conversation. He would listen to make sure who she is talking to. The other day, he started crying and yelling for the telephone when my wife was talking to me.
She said “This is not Appukka, I am talking to someone else”
“No, No, it is lie. I heard you calling him “Chetta’ “ ( That is the way my wife addresses me !)
He is going to be four years. If my wife scolds him for something, he would say
“Pack my bag, I am going to Appukka”
My wife asked him ‘How will you go? You will need a ticket to go”
“Oh, I will go by Emirates !”
My wife brings him here every time she comes. It is easier to process the visa if you buy tickets from Emirates, and he is used to flying emirates air lines!
I have been watching with awe the way kids learn things. The first time he was brought to the airport to receive me; he had seen me coming out of the air port, pushing the trolley. Since then, if he sees anyone pushing a trolley or cart, he would start calling “ Appukka”. He probably thought, my job was pushing carts!
I think it is easier for them to learn the bad words than the good. He is fond of cartoons and watches the BBC children’s channel. We have permitted him to watch that. They carefully choose the programmes for children. If at all he has learned funny words, it is from the local channels. He has quickly learned words like ‘ Poda choole !,( get lost, broom stick !) Patti, Ponnan ( fatso) and all !
He is a wonderment that has been woven into an unbreakable web of pure love. In his eyes I see full of promises and dreams yet to be revealed. He makes me realize how wonderful our lives are and how much fuller our spirits are for having been given this miracle. You will have the unfortunate experience of dark days and tremendous moments of grief and misunderstanding. But in the end, when all is said and done, you… we… will be more complete, more whole, more loved, more patient and kinder because we were chosen to touch, hold, hug, parent, comfort, nurture and most of love a child.
Now he knows he has two of these Appukkas and he has found out a solution. He calls me Babu appukka, and Sheri’s father as Biju appukka. Sheri’s mother is Ivy ammachi. My wife is his Ammacha, and Celin’s mother is Ammammachi.
The oldest among us is his maternal great grandmother. He calls her by her name “Sosakkutty “ !!.
Life has been a very bumpy ride, so I could teach others how to ride safe.I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be just happy. It is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate and above all, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.