Monday, September 7, 2015

Ishani's Stardom & Grandpa's Flopshow


Something like this was bound to happen to a born loser like me.

As I said the other day,

I thought I would be telling my 'story' to a bunch of 25 kids in pigtails in their cozy classroom, guided by their teacher.

But, no way...

This morning I happened to be the only poor soul to be hauled up the frightful stage, pushed a mike into my hand, and asked to tell my story to a set of 50 senile grandparents squirming in their chairs and looking bewildered...some blind, some deaf, some dumb, and all crazy as coots like me. All I could see was a sea of stunned faces with one half of them asking their spouses, "What is he saying?", and getting a polite nod for a reply.

Like this PGW tale of two deaf men on a London train:

"What did you say?"

"This is Wembley"

"I thought it is Thursday"

"Me too, it is so hot"


Three years ago I had gifted, willy-nilly, a couple of 'Ishani Booklets' to the charming principal, Ms SS, of Ishani's pre-primary school. And got a sumptuous bouquet in return:

I rarely met her after that. And when I got this invite to the grandparents day in Ishani's primary school of which she is now the charming Director, I recalled that I hadn't gifted her any of my recent stories. And I didn't publish any more Ishani booklets after my wife passed away. 

I then recalled that I had blogged half a dozen 'Fables for Clever Girls' some months back. So I edited them up into a file of 25 pages, got it color-printed by my son, got it spiral-bound, inscribed a suitable dedication to the Director, enclosed the thing in a cloth-lined envelope, pushed it into a blue plastic folder, and carried it with me to Ishani's school this morning, ambling in my own casual gait.

And found a huge stage with sound systems and about 50 chairs for the august audience. And was ushered in to sit down in one of the chairs. But I entered the office and found a young lady to whom I delivered my gift packet asking her to please pass it on to her Director, 'after the event'. 

And returned to the audience and hid myself in a chair in the back row.

Pretty soon the band baaza started and I found Ishani walk like an angel on to the stage to deliver her 'welcome' address standing unfazed in front of one of the two mikes. And walk away victorious, with half a dozen other boys and girls of Grade 1 following up. The charming Director was nowhere, the show guided by half a dozen comely teachers. Then there were songs and dances and skits by angelic kids to entertain all of us senior citizens. And the printed program stated that we were then to be guided to the classrooms of our respective wards where we were to mix with the kids and have fun time.

And I was preparing to get up.

Suddenly from nowhere, the Director arrived on the stage with a blue plastic folder in her hands. And I was missing several heartbeats with a throbbing head. And the lady spoke a few extempore sweet words on the importance of grandparents as a species in their loving homes. And then said this (verbatim):

"And here in this audience is a special grandparent who writes and publishes booklets of stories, with his granddaughter in their titles so that she can read them when she grows up. He is a professor retired from IIT Kharagpur. His name is GP Sastry"

And then she delicately opened the blue plastic folder in her hands, pulled out the envelope, opened it, brought out the spiral-bound file, displayed it to the audience, saying:

"Here is his latest collection of stories titled, 'Tweaked Tales for Smart Kids'. I now invite him on to the stage to tell us one of his promised stories"

And I was trying to bend down and vanish.

Then she called out:

"Ishani! Come here and fetch your grandpa!"

And Ishani ran to the stage, curtsied her Director, walked gracefully to where I was hiding (she had searched for and spotted me in the audience from the first moment). And pulled me out with her delicate hands and led me on to the stage...Lead Kindly Light!

And I curtsied the Director.

And she pushed her hand-held mike into my hands and joined the audience.

And I was standing there all alone except for Ishani beaming by my side facing the audience and smiling away.

And I don't recall what happened in the next 3 minutes.

Let it pass.

And I returned to my seat and we all walked away to our respective classrooms guided by our respective grandkids to have some 'fun time'. Everyone else had their fun time...

And I returned home dazed.

Only to the smiles and guiles of my charming D-i-L, Sailaja, asking me how it went.

And I could sense mischief in her smiling face.

And I said, 

"The Director of the school caught me with my pants down"

And she then let the cat out of her handbag that there was a phone call to her from the gracious administrator of the school a few days back asking for the cv of her F-i-L with his correct name and workplace. And asking for a 'set' of Ishani Booklets for display in their school.

And, apparently, she and her fond hubby ransacked my bedroom in my absence, fished out a set; and my son of a gun secretly carried the packet to the school and delivered it in their office.

And I turned out to be the perennial goat.

...Posted by Ishani

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