This story is being posted for the #kbcKaadooMonkeyTales Contest.
“Bhaiiiii, wake up, wake up. Grandma told me that we are going out today.” says Skand to Krish at 6.30 am.
It was 15 August 2020, after saluting and watching Jana Gana Mana on mommy’s phone, Krish and I were carried to the car as we sang “door of the lift goes open and shut all through the day”. We kept asking “Are we there yet?” And to divert us, mommy played ‘spot the car’ as we looked left and right throughout the 45 minutes’ drive to Sharjah Desert Park.
Daddy purchased the entry tickets as the security guard directed him towards the children’s farm. I overheard him tell daddy that the air conditioner in the zoo was not working today. Daddy parked the car while grandma and grandpa very quickly dismounted our prams and waited for us to be seated. Not knowing where we were going, Krish and I smiled at each other as we entered the waiting area. And then all hell broke loose. Oh no…no..no..no…To our surprise, there were strangers in masks everywhere. Krish started crying loudly as an aunty tried to wave at him. How could she? Grandma hurried him out to the open space on the other side of the door. I followed suite but mommy distracted me with the displayed animal figurines, and as always, I got carried away.
As we stepped out, we were welcomed with a familiar sound. Krish was standing by a cage that had I think 1, 2, 3 maybe more yellow, green, and blue birds. I asked Krish, “Hey bhai, doesn’t this look like the little one that sits on our clothes rack every morning singing Good Morning? Krish replied, “Yes bhai, it’s the same. Grandma was telling me that these birds are called budgies and they chirp.”
Krish got down and started running across to another enclosure. Wearing our cool, new spiderman attipas, it felt great to run around freely for the first time ever. Krish pointed at the white and yellow birds paddling in the water and said, “Hey look, that one’s like my bath toy”. Dad was dancing and singing, “Here a quack, there a quack everywhere a quack quack”. Mommy chimed in and added that these are ducks. Moving on, we saw an animal that was tall even though he was sitting down. I told Krish, “Check out his lashes. They are as thick as mine”. Krish laughed and said, “Don’t you remember? We saw this camel on our way here.”
Daddy told mommy, “Let us take them to the peacock”. While mommy shared that the peacock is India’s national bird, daddy introduced him as Lord Muruga’s vehicle as mentioned in our religious scriptures. I only remember him from my favorite song ‘Naani teri morni ko mor le gayi’. He is so vibrant and beautiful. I asked daddy, “I want to hug and play with him. Can we take him home?”. Daddy said, “I’m afraid that’s not possible my son. Just like we feel safe at home, peacocks are happy and feel safe when they can dance around in their natural habitat. We have to learn to respect their privacy.”
Disappointed that I will not get to play with him, I walked away with Krish to the next pavilion which housed another animal that we recognized. Krish jumped singing ‘Lakdi ki kaati, kaati pe ghoda’. But this was nothing like the horse in the video. The sleepy horse was sitting in a corner and soon we moved on to witness some action. Two bleating goats went head on, their horns locked and kicking up some dust which was a thrilling sight.
The elders took breaks, opened the umbrella, and continued to splash water on their face. I told Krish, “I don’t understand what the fuss is all about. I am drenched in my own sweat and it is hot and sunny but look how much fun it is to be here. I am not leaving this place till I get to touch the animals.” Krish whispered in my ears, “Hey Bhai, I just heard mommy ask daddy if we can go back. Daddy said yes, their cheeks look like tomatoes now. Let’s go home. Can you believe it?” I responded, “Don’t worry bhai, I have an idea. I will run around this place distracting daddy. In the meantime, you stall mommy with more animal questions.”
As we went along, we saw cluck cluck chickens, cock a doodle doo rooster, bah bah white sheep that were not black. Loving the moo, Krish kept pouting at the cow. The final stop had a rather confusing animal that resembled a horse. Krish asked, “What’s that mommy? We haven’t seen this animal in our books or videos.” Mommy said, “That’s the hardworking and loyal donkey. It is a member of the horse family and has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 years.”
Mommy gave us our water bottles as we settled into our prams. Enriched with more knowledge about our favorite animals, it was exciting to see Old McDonald’s farm come to life. Krish and I look forward to more such adventures with our family.
ps: The other day, I found my 18 months twins conversing unintelligibly. Upon further research, I came across the phenomenon called Cryptophasia where twins invent their own language that only they can understand. Fascinated by this, I often keep wondering what is going on inside their heads.
All characters; Krish and Skand’s camaraderie and their fascination for wildlife represented in this story are real but their conversation reflects a figment of my imagination from little Skand’s view.
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