With all children, I’m sure, but so much more often with twins, there are these Kodak moments, magical moments of sheer joy and delight. As a parent, you want to capture them forever, to be able to look back on them and enjoy them years later. But they are so fleeting, they flash past, repeatedly, before you can grab the camera, or sometimes, even before you can call someone else (usually your better half, if he’s around) to share in them.
Blogging is one of many attempts to capture some of the antics for posterity. Like other attempts, it is doomed to failure, but perhaps a little less so – there’s so much you can try to capture in words that evades the camera.
Tara, for instance, has quite got the concept of sharing – specially food, and specially with Mrini. On the rare occasions when I give them something delicious – say a piece of cake – I obviously give it to them at the same time and in equal quantities. While Tara delicately nibbles at hers and makes it last, Mrini will finish hers quickly and then go scrounging for more. Scrounging includes staring sweetly at Tara and saying most agreeably, “Tara ha-piece-ha-piece?” Tara always nods eagerly and gives away half her kingdom smilingly. It’s amazing. Strangely enough, I’ve never seen this take place in reverse. Mrini is just too smart, I suppose.
That Mrini is equally fond of her twin sister is evident in different ways. If Tara gets hurt, Mrini immediately pats her on the back and says, consolingly, “It’s ok, it’s ok, Taya,” and sometimes adds, most endearingly, “You got a laga (hurt)? Come, I give it kissie.”
On one occasion, while scolding Tara severely for something, Amit was saying angrily to the crying girl, “Look at me.” Mrini, who was certain that it was not she who was being reprimanded, stepped in to make the peace. She went to Tara and said, “Taya, look at Baba,” and set about in all earnestness trying to turn poor Tara’s head around on her neck to make her look at Amit. The natural consequence of this was that all three of us wanted to laugh, but given the gravity of the situation, none of us could do so openly.
Often, nowadays, Mrini goes up to Tara, takes her by the hand saying, most persuasively, “Taya come, Taya come Taya,” and drags her off to do some mischief.
For Tara, Mrini is sometimes a friend, sometimes not. When she decides she isn’t a friend, she goes and sits as far away as possible – usually at the other end of the sofa, which, the sofa being a two-seater, isn’t very far at all – and says decisively, “I’m nawwwwt your friend. You don’t come near me.”
When she decides they are, after all, friends, she is, if possible, even sweeter. I saw her the other day calling Mrini to come and sit next to her on the sofa. “I’m your friend, Mrini,” she said. “You come and sit here.” When Mrini had squeezed herself into a rather tight space between Tara and the arm of the sofa, Tara still beckoned, saying,”Come closer.” And they sat with their arms around each other squashed into less than half a seat on the sofa.
And then there are those other Kodak moments, like bedtime lastnight. I dug out two sets of nightclothes. Both were raggedy old pairs, that hadn’t been used for a while. Whenever presented with similar but different instances of something – clothes, shoes, school bags, books, balls, whatever – the twins normally amicably select one each, and after a few uses, it becomes clear to everyone which one is whose. It would actually probably be pretty clear from the second use onwards, but I pay so little attention to such details, specially colour, that it takes several uses before I notice which one is whose.
Anyhow, they usually know which one is whose, so that’s good enough.
Strangely enough, though, on this particular occasion, they both wanted the same set of pjs, and whichever one wanted it howled until the other relinquished it, and then… the one who had relinquished it howled. I suggested that one of them keep the top half and the other the bottom, but this was not acceptable to either of them. In the end, when they failed to sort it out themselves, I took it away from them and substituted a less sought-after set of nightclothes. As a result of which, they both howled.
On Sunday, we went and bought them bicycles for their birthday. One cycle was pink, the other was purple. As usual, each picked one – Mrini pink, Tara purple. Both cycles wouldn’t fit in the trunk of the car, so Amit drove back with the girls and one cycle, while I was packed off in an auto with the other cycle. Apparently the girls spent the entire duration of the drive home arguing about which cycle was in the trunk of the car, and which was with Mama. Amit says they were pulling each other’s hair out over it.
It’s not their birthday for another week or so, so we parked the cycles in the balcony and explained to them that they’d get the cycles on their “happy birthday”. Strangely enough, they understood this and accepted it. They do go and look at their cycles through the window every day, but there have been no demands, no wailing, no gnashing of teeth or pulling out of hair. And yet… a raggedy old set of pjs could incite them to extreme violenc.
There’s no doubt about it: kids are really strange, sometimes.