I vividly remember the first time I saw her. It was love at first sight for me. I embraced her tight, she didn’t resist. I breathed fast, she breathed faster. She smelt fresh. I asked her if she knew me. She remained speechless and continued staring at me point-blank with her beautiful eyes. In fact, speech was a faculty she had yet to develop. She was, after all, not even one. She was the most adorable thing in the world for me, my niece- Diyasha.
Over the next few months, we drew closer and became the best of friends. When mobility on the floor was what she yearned, she never really crawled. Instead, she pushed with her feet and slid on her stomach. Our favorite haunt was the drawing room table and we played countless games of hide-and-seek around it. A wild glee was on her face each time she spotted mine, never mind the innumerable times her head bumped against the edges of the table in trying to ‘seek’ me. She never gave up until I called off the chase.
The vertical dimension must have made her curious. She scaled them and attained new heights, quite literally. She gradually learnt to stand erect with support from anything she could manage to hold on to. Getting bolder by the day, she would try the stunt of letting go of a support and balancing on her tender feet for a precious few seconds before latching on to something else. This was how she took her first steps…eventually discovering it was better than sliding on her tummy. She soon mastered the art of balancing unsupported. Coupled with her tiny steps, she had taught herself to walk. What an exhilarating moment it must have been!
It was now the turn of her voice-box to utter meaningful words. Tea was the first to be conquered, followed by countless others that kept adding to her fledgling vocabulary. We no longer had to talk her language, she was talking ours. She began to beg for curd after lunch each day. She worked her charm on us and almost always had her way. Soon she was the most talkative member in our house. She even learnt to croon aloud, her favorite sessions occurring each time she was perched atop the potty.
She learned to read and write. Countess pages were sacrificed to her insatiable demands. She learnt to draw and color, concoct stories and strike poses picked from TV. She learned to dance, chat over the Internet and make friends with everyone. Soon she’ll learn much more than we’ll ever know.
Diyasha is growing real quick. Sometimes I wish she wouldn’t.