Father and son..

Hurray….Babloo shouted..Hurray….Papa shouted to himself. He didn’t want anybody else to hear, especially his wife. She was becoming way too concerned about what he taught their seven year old son. She had changed a lot. When he used to talk that way before, she used to giggle and now, it was all different. She wanted him to stop talking that way. She said, it was worse than how Calvin’s dad talks in the cartoon strip.

This day was different. He was going to the airport with his son to receive a relative and she would be coming to the airport from work. So, Papa and Babloo got into the car and started their journey.

Papa was bursting to talk, but was waiting for Babloo to initiate. This was very easy because a seven year old is always inquisitive and curious about everything. But Babloo was engrossed in the video game. Papa grew impatient and initiated it.
Papa – Babloo, look… Vidhan soudha.

Babloo looks up from video game and looks at it. His attention shifts to the trees and statues, instead.

Babloo – Papa, whose statue is that?
Papa – That is Ambedkar, Babloo
Babloo – Who is Ambedkar?
Papa – He is the guy who wrote the constitution.
Babloo – What is a constitution?
Papa – It is a text book for the people who go to Vidhana soudha
Babloo – Oh, do they have exams too?
Papa – Yes, babloo. But they can get in only if they fail.
Babloo – That’s so cool. It’s so easy.
Papa – No Babloo.. On the contrary, it is difficult

Babloo – Oh…Papa, where is Ambedkar pointing to and why is he turned that way?
Papa – Once he asked to organise a surprise inspection on the people inside the building. The inspector came till there, but couldn’t find where to go. So Ambedkar showed him where it was.
Babloo – Who’s this, papa?
Papa – That is Netaji Subhash Chandra bose
Babloo – Why is he showing his hand upwards?
Papa – Because that is the north – Afghanistan and other areas. Subhash said that he’ll build an army from there and so, he’s showing that way.
Babloo- Oh.. Where is north?
Papa – High up in the sky. After this layer of sky, there is the next city on the map and then it’s sky and so on..
Babloo – So, north is very high??
Papa – Yes, beta.
Babloo – How did Subhash go there and come down back to India?
Papa – You’re young son. There are certain things that you’ll learn in due time.
They crossed cubbon road and Babloo saw a lot of army officers.

Babloo – Papa, is there a war going on?
Papa – (holding his hand) Why, son? What’s the matter?
Babloo – So many people in uniform..
Papa – That…I’m going to tell you. But promise me you won’t tell anybody.
Babloo – I promise.
Papa – The army men are here to maintain the people in the concentration camps.
Babloo – Are there concentration camps now?
Papa- Yes, look at his yellow building (and he pointed to the building where he took a left turn to join Domlur.)
Babloo – Really?
Papa- Yes, have you ever seen people going inside or coming out? It is a concentration camp.
Babloo – Which war did these people lose?
Papa – They lost the second world war.
Babloo – But they look so young. Isn’t it fifty years since that happened?
Papa – Life was different then. There weren’t so many vehicles and so no pollution. When there is no pollution, people don’t age.
Babloo – What do these people do inside?
Papa – What?
Babloo – I heard that people in prison are made to do some work. What about these?
Papa – These people are employed to build the airport road flyover.
Babloo – Oh.. Papa, don’t they try to escape?
Papa – Some inmates escaped, and wanted to live a cool life. But they were made to join the software industry.
Babloo – What is that?
Papa – It’s a place similar to concentration camps.
Babloo – People from army are there too?
Papa – Yes, but they dress in plain clothes..

Babloo looked outside. He was hurt. He didn’t know where to go from here. Knowing that his mother was an army person in plain clothes and that his dad was a prisoner of war on the same day was too hard for him. He said he wanted to sleep in the back seat of the car.

Papa let him sleep and Babloo sobbed. When they reached the airport, Mama noticed something was wrong and asked Babloo what happened. Papa looked in shock and disbelief and looked around as Babloo narrated their conversation.
The army professional was screaming – ‘All you had to do was let him play the video game and listen to radio’ The prisoner of war was running away. Babloo looked on helplessly.

Say no to war!


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