Saturday, January 30, 2010

Your order, sir?

Does anyone know what innocence looks like? I do. I know what it looks like. I saw it yesterday. For those who aren’t as lucky, worry not. I will show you. THIS, ladies and gentlemen is innocence. Please say hello.

And for once, do not shake your heads in disapproval. THIS, I know for a fact, is the most candid, raw form of innocence. Here’s why.

Last night, my ex-boss invited everyone over for dinner. I went. Out there, I met her daughter. Now I am really bad at guessing kids’ age, but I think she must be around four. Maybe five? So there was this little girl going around, trying to make herself comfortable amidst guests (some of whom she knew beforehand). Most of them were drinking, talking work, dancing, flirting, bitching (I guess), none of which was appealing enough to her. So, she decided to take matter in her own hands. She got herself a job – of a waiter! And went around taking people’s orders!

My friend and I were engrossed in a conversation when A (the little girl) came.

A (to friend): May I take your order?
Friend: *gives order*
Me: A, you didn’t take my order. I am very hungry.
A: *thinks for five seconds* OK. May I take your order?
Me: Tell me. What is there to eat?
A: * thinks* Noodles, chicken, daal.
Me: What do you think I should have?
A: *thinks very hard* Noodles!
Me: OK. Get me noodles.

(30 seconds later)

A: Your noodles, sir. (She hands me imagery noodles)
Me: Thank you A. Can I pay by credit card?
A: *thinks hard, again* OK

An imaginary transaction takes place. Then, she scribbles some lines on her notepad, tears the page off and hands it over.

A: Here is your bill, sir.

And she moves over to her next guest. And I sit there holding the ‘bill’, proof of a transaction, however imaginary.

In less than two minutes, an attribute so ambiguous was so easily contained in the realms of a slip, compact enough to actually fit into my wallet! A will grow up, eventually become more worldly, and may not take my ‘order’ next time I meet her, but still, at THAT moment, she managed to leave a part of that innocence with me.

Next time, when I hear a five-year-old talking gyaan like he is turning 50 (and in process, making me feel so bloody dumb!), I will have a look at that paper. It will reassure me that raw innocence, though rare, is still alive and kicking.

So c’mon. ASK me what innocence looks like. And I know EXACTLY what to say!

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