If you know Adiv, you know how friendly he can get. As a parent, I wish he'd be more wary of strangers, but he is relentless in his attempts at befriending strangers. He begins with a smile, and then begins mimicking Iron Man. He puts on his invisible Iron Man suit, takes on a serious expression, and stomps forward. Then he aims his hand at the stranger who is either immersed in an interesting book or engaged in serious conversation. A few grunts, big smiles and "I am Iron Man" later, he has succeeded in making a friend.
The return trip from Chennai was no less eventful. I hoped he'd sleep, after which Ro and I would fish out our books from my bulging bag. However, he was excited about what the "food man" would bring. After drinking some juice, he noticed a man on another seat watch a movie on his laptop.
He jumped off my lap and said, "I am going to see a movie."
He slowly inched his way forward, smiled, said Hi. Soon he was on that man's lap watching Three Idiots. The friendly man was even forced to give him his headphones. So when the songs began, Adiv sang along loudly. The man responded by clapping. "You sing really well", he said. During the course of the movie, they even played boxing. Adiv eventually got tired and came back to us after announcing that he'd been boxing with the "scary man." I was horrified.
Adiv is just as friendly with people who visit the house; the vegetable vendor, the security guard with a notice, the gas man, the store man who brings groceries, and the occasional bank representative. The man from a bank who made an dishevelled appearance this afternoon, didn't seem particularly keen on chatting with a two-year-old. He merely wanted us to be done with the signatures, so he could finish his work and head home. Adiv smiled, spoke loudly, and sang a few songs, but he got no smiles. Finally, as a last resort he took him a small eclaire and said, "Want a small piece? We share?" That brought a smile on the man's tired face. Adiv ofcourse didn't wait for a response, and the eclaire was in his mouth in a second. Nonetheless, the man seemed to be in a better mood after that.
The bank representatives in Chennai (while we were visiting my parents) were more forthcoming. One of them even sat down on the carpet, so Adiv could show him his cars. They played for a bit, drank juice (after saying "Cheers"), spoke (the man got quite emotional when he told us he'd never been given toys like this to play with when he was a child) and left amidst elaborate goodbyes. An older man who arrived much later was less friendly, but when my Dad left the room to get a cheque, Adiv pretended he was a ferocious dinosaur. He growled and crawled to the amused man. When he smiled, Adiv asked him what his name was, and if he could sit with him.
Though i like it that Adiv is friendly and has no inhibitions, I'm sometimes uncomfortable. It doesn't help my paranoia, when I see him bond with a strangers who offer him chocolates and attempt to carry him. So now i've begun giving him the talk. No taking anything from strangers. No going with strangers. I'd like to protect him from the bad world, I need him to be safe and not so trusting.