Aarit and I just returned from the play area, where he made numerous trips down the slippery slide. At the distance, Adiv was giving animated descriptions of a snake that was seen in the tennis court, to an audience of 5-year-olds. Aarit would have liked to follow them around, but his brother seemed largely oblivious to his 2-year-old brother. Adiv was more interested in either cycling around, or playing cops and robbers.
Not too long ago, around 1.5 years ago, the layout was quite different from what it is now. We were the third family to have moved in, and around us construction was still on. A steady stream of laborers walked in and out every day, and I was sure never to let Adiv wander around on his own. A very sociable 4-year-old, Adiv found the place boring. He had no friends, and his brother was only 5-months old. There was no play area, and the roads weren't ready either. There was no sound of the big boys enjoying a game of football, or the little ones cycling around pretending to be policemen. Mothers didn't gather around the play area and discuss events within the layout, and you didn't see old couples walking around enjoying the evening breeze. It was during this time that Adiv made a very special friend; Bob.
Bob arrived each morning with his parents, who were laborers working in a nearby villa. He usually wandered around on his own, or chatted up with the security, but one day, he spotted Adiv playing with his cars. He stood at a distance, flashing Adiv a big smile. Adiv responded with, “Do you want to play?” Bob spoke only Tamil, and Adiv spoke only English. Nonetheless, they communicated, and played the most amazing games. Sometimes they were chefs in a restaurant, cooking seriously with Adiv’s cooking set. At other times, they merely raced Adiv’s cars. They’d take a break inbetween and share sweets, and if I gave them something bigger (like some cookies), Adiv would leave to share them with his family. He’d return immediately and call Adiv authoritatively. “Wa da”, he’d say, and then they’d start their next game.
Bob and Adiv began looking forward to these sessions every day. Each morning (school hadn't begun as yet), Bob would arrive, looking fresh in clean clothes, his wet hair combed neatly. Occasionally he brought some of his toys as well and showed them to Adiv. We never really knew what his actual name was. We asked him what his name was and he had responded with, “Bob”. So he continued to be Bob, though my maid insisted he was “Babu”! We didn't’ even know how old he was. Though he was much smaller than Adiv, he seemed to be a spunky kid who knew he way around the layout. He jumped over piles of sand, and ran between villas that were in the throes of being constructed. Unfortunately for Adiv, he wasn't allowed these fun games. So they played their games on our porch.
After a while, when school began, Bob began coming after Adiv returned at 12.30. Adiv was learning many new things, so he’d try and teach Bob with the help of a little slate. “This is A”, Adiv said loudly and clearly. “Repeat”! Bob would grin and said, “A”, before drawing little squiggles beside Adiv’s A. He preferred their games. Eventually Adiv would also give in!
Their friendship lasted for as long as Bob’s parents worked in the layout. Then one day, as suddenly as he had appeared, he vanished. Adiv called out for him loudly. “Bob!!!!!!!!! Where are you”?
“They've gone”, said the maid sympathetically.
Anyway, by then families had started moving in. Adiv began making friends with other kids in the layout. Bob was soon forgotten. Nonetheless, we still talk about his from time to time. I only wish I’d taken pictures of this first friend that Adiv made in our layout.