Any stray piece of thought immediately evokes a million questions in his mind. Some are embarassing - embarrasing to me, of course, he doesn't have an inkling about embarrasment except when he is nude. Our conversation goes like this...
- "What does Gandhiji wear when he is taking a bath?"
- "Oh, I imagine he takes his bath just as you do..."
- "In the bathroom?"
- "Won't he be afraid?"
- "I don't think so. He is a big person, like your parents, so I suppose he will not be afraid." (After all, who am I to speak with authority of Gandhiji's fears?)
- "Is he as old as you?"
- "Yes. Oh, I think he is older, like your grandparents." (A few seconds later, as an after-thought:) "He was, I mean."
- "And now? Is he a small child?" (He obviously didn't see what Godse did to Gandhiji at the end of the movie.)
- "No, No, I mean, he is not in this world any more, he... died." (He knows something about death, but it still is a dicey topic.)
- "Are Gandhiji and Mahabali the same person?"
- (Ouch!) "No, no, Gandhiji is Gandhiji and Mahabali is Mahabali. Now, will you get dressed while I get your things ready for school?"
I walk into the kitchen, the questions trailing behind me.
- "Were they both very old people when they died?"
- (Snacks, tiffin box, where was the water bottle?) "Well, I know Gandhiji was quite old..." (Hoping that this conversation and my display of ignorance were not reaching a third pair of ears)
- "And Mahabali?"
- "What are you doing there?"
- "Putting on my shirt."
- "Okay." (Where did I keep that darn bottle of his?)
- "Tell me!"
- (Ah, here it is. Now for his breakfast. A glance at the clock.) "Oh, well, I am not quite sure how old Gandhiji was when Lord Vishnu appeared as Vamanan and sent him to Pathalam."
A swift patter and a half-dressed child appears at the door of the kitchen, with big, round eyes. "Eh?"
- "Eh what?"
- "Did Vamanan send Gandhiji to Pathalam as well?"
Stunned silence. "Will you quit yaking and get dressed? It is time for school!"