There was a time when for my older son heaven on earth was personified by Infiniti Mall. He was like a country bumpkin let loose in a city. The rides, the escalators, the lights, the crowds – everything was new to him, and he expressed his confusion in the most atrocious display of tantrums imaginable.
Then gradually, as the familiarity increased, the fascination reduced. Infiniti Mall remained the ultimate treat and bribe, but it was more a matter of convention than anything else. The charm of the Mall gradually began to fade, and he no longer even enjoyed the rides he once craved for.
Last weekend marked a watershed in his relationship with Infiniti Mall – when his father asked him if he wanted to be taken to the Mall, he thought a bit before saying no. Hearing him, his younger brother piped up, “Infiniti Mall nai jana hai.” – again, a new – both normally take sadistic pleasure in contradicting anything the other says or does.
What the kid wanted, instead, was to play football. It was drizzling slightly when went down, so all we could do was to kick the ball to each other in the lobby. But the rain soon stopped, and we went out. Neither of us had ever imagined that kicking a slightly deflated ball on the slippery ground could be as much fun as it actually was. Splashing through puddles, catching the ball just before it bounced into the mud, squealing when the ball hit a puddle and send spray flying – not for a long time have I had as much fun on a Sunday afternoon. When it started drizzling again, I sent the kid into the lobby, but insisted on staying in the open ostensibly so he could kick the ball better, but actually because I loved the feel of the cool drizzle on my flushed cheeks.
I had fun. And I know my son did too. So much, indeed, that when his father asked him today, “Do you want to go to Infiniti Mall?” in the evening, he replied, “No, I want to play football.”
Bright lights and loud music can temporarily seduce, but it is the simple pleasures that endure. My son had to go through that period of infatuation, before he realized that it was simple thrills that give the most joy.