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Saturday, March 2, 2024

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Aththamma’s Story – 2 | Diyamanti Galpoththage | Otahuhu

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‘Oh dance dance to my ten guitars and very soon you know just where you are.’

A biscuit, cup of steaming hot coffee and I was listening to the 1967 song by Englebert Humperdinck.
My life was seemingly serene and blissful.

I got a call from my son saying that his family (that includes two of my granddaughters) would be arriving in Auckland at our place for the weekend. So, I was sure to be overwhelmed by pleasant hopes, dreams and activities that I love.

When I think of my granddaughters my dreams are all full of twinkling stars that dot the night sky and a baby moon glistening in pale silver, rising slowly in the faraway sky. My thoughts are so light and carefree that I get transported back to my childhood days.

So my granddaughters visited us from Whangarei, one girl just turned three and the little one,about 10 months old.

In the morning, our three year old granddaughter did some puzzles with building blocks and then was jigging up and down beside the window sill looking at rain drops falling on our hedge and the grass in our lawn. She watched with inquisitiveness the weeds that poked out of rain-slick grass. By bedtime she was tired of her day’s activities and was ready for her favourite bedtime story. She wanted Aththamma to read for her.

The story for the day was about Farmer Ted.

I started reading the story, adding a few things of my own, just like the way my grandfather did when I was a kid to which we listened in awe at bed time.

Farmer Ted was riding his tractor down a hill. Then suddenly he could not apply brakes and the tractor was speeding faster and faster and ended up in the pond at the bottom of the hill.

A little girl and a boy saw the tractor speeding down the hill from their bedroom window. They quickly phoned their neighbour to bring her horse for the rescue. Their neighbour was a kind hearted person, always ready to help. So she came with her big horse, tied it carefully to the tractor. And the big horse pulled and pulled. At last the tractor was pulled out of the pond.

Farmer Ted was very happy.
‘Why?’
Asked my granddaughter.

So I had to explain before proceeding further. He was able to get his tractor out of the pond.
The little girl and boy too were happy.

Why?’ Asked my granddaughter.

I replied, because they were able to help Farmer Ted when in trouble.
And the neighbour too was happy.

‘Why?’ Out came the question why.

I replied, ‘the neighbour listened to the little girl and boy, brought her big horse and helped Farmer Ted to pull his tractor out of the pond. Helping when a friend is in trouble is a good deed.’
‘There you go, I have finished reading your book.’

‘Thank you Aththamma, Good night,’ our little girl said, rubbing her eyes.
She got up to switch on the white noise machine which she used for sleeping.

Then as if she forgot something, she looked at me and said, ‘Aththamma I want my mama to say goodnight to me. Then my Pachchi'(she calls her Appachchi, as ‘pachchi’ in her baby language)
Then it was my turn to ask why.

No answer from our little granddaughter, as she was keen to say good night to mama and Appachchi and go to sleep, sticking to her routine.

I imagined that our little granddaughter probably wanted to go to sleep and dream of things that brought color to her world. So, by saying good night to mama and Appachchi would have made her happy and her dreams safe. She would have been keen to dream of her favourite chocolates, Farmer Ted’s tractor, Aththamma’s kiribath which I made for breakfast, also maybe to see cows that moo near her day care centre and what not. I was sure she was dreaming away of dinosaurs and super heroes too, of which she was fond. The dreams that painted their childhood in a myriad of beautiful colors!

Just like our childhood dreams were painted with fairies, pixies, elves from Enid Blyton Books and kuda hora and monkeys from Sybil Wettasinghe books.

By Diyamanti Galpoththage – Otahuhu

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