No Aaapi...Aaaaauto!...says a delighted someone, persistently.
Aaapi!....he says again, in the evident delight of having set up a game, the patterns and outcome of which he knows only too well.
No Aaapi....Aaaaauto!...repeats his Tattha, just as he anticipates...
And so, the game continues. The smile on both their faces is the kind which stretches from end to end, and when there is no more room, pours out into the surroundings and into our upturned hearts. To an onlooker, it is a treat in joy...the kind you are privileged to witness, and feel a sense of satisfaction that yeah....I managed to create one of the participants in this exchange of love.
But even above and beyond this loving spectacle that could have ended with the end of the trip...what is truly humbling, is how the same stretch of that smile could easily cover and wrap over the vast distances that now physically separate these two people, and still afford them that same bubbling over of happiness, that same pure joy and seamlessly unite grandfather and grandson, in a few split seconds.
A phone call back home, and the two of them are at it again.
Aaapi! No Aaapi...Aaaauto!
And this time I am privy to only one side of this exchange. And when I see him, I am amazed at how connected he looks. I wonder for a moment...how much does he realise that many things are now different about this game. That the person who plays the other end is far away, only sensing his smile and his dancing eyes, but not seeing them. That he does not really see an auto on the road, which is how the game begins anyway. An ache builds up...and if I could close my eyes, I could try and mentally put them back in that same scene, and trace the same set of playing patterns and comfort myself. But the distraction of the moment proves too great and I keep my eyes open. And in that vacant, thoughful stare at my little Thambi, it slowly dawns on me, that no effort is required to be undertaken in this regard! For we are already transported to that playing field, and it is the waves of love and laughter across the telephone lines that have taken us there!
I was lucky enough to capture this exchange. There is a lot of background noise and cluttering sounds, but if you try a little, its easy enough to tune in to their world!
Edited to add : Ever since uploading this video, the boys have been replaying it constantly. And now, I see that the game has begun again, this time with Anna at the helm, and Thambi in his usual spot...Aaaauto and Aaapi it is, and continues to be!