There is what one may call the Somersault Theory of Growing Up.
There is a time in your life, when being able to do somersaults is supreme. You dont care what you are wearing, you dont care who is watching, but you revel in doing somersaults; by yourself on bars, gate railings, carpets, anywhere. And you get a lot of joy.
Then there is a time in your life, when you start minding p's amd q's , as they say. You still somersault, but you are very conscious of what you are wearing, how you come across to people , and you sometimes worry about your peers and what they think.
Clearly, there is again a final part of growing up, when somersaults are an indulgent history , which brings a smile to your now occasionally sagging face, and you wonder if you can somersault at all . And if you could, would you somersault at all , traumatizing your downstairs neighbors , and cause untold breakages at various places in your house ?
While it is very clear that I am firmly ensconced in the third category, I was greatly delighted recently , to meet Luci Shail, who, appears to be hovering at the cusp of the first two situations.
Luci Shail, all of four, is the subject of a delightful canine blog, owned by Shail Mohan, who is commonly referred to as her Mom. I've been fortunate in being associated with Bozo, another canine blogging friend in Mumbai, and have very keenly followed Luci's activities and growing up as depicted by some lovely stories and photographs by Shail.
Luci, a powerhouse of energy, instant decisions, and great determination, lives in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. We had the good fortune to visit the place recently, and my daughter and I decided we had to meet Luci.
Whatsapps, FB messages, telephone calls etc led to a great meeting one afternoon as we got a unplanned tour of Thiruvananthapuram, thanks to staying at a place far away from Shail's place.
A quiet lane, and we hesitantly pushed a latched gate. The sound was so small , I am sure even our car driver did not hear it. But we could suddenly hear an almighty barking somewhere, and a smiling gentleman came out to welcome us. It was kind of embarrasing that the first query we had was not about him and Shail, but about Luci, as the barking continued in the background .
Very soon we were seated, and Shail came in with a harnessed Luci , who probably knew exactly what was happening. People had cameras, like her Mom, and she hoped the birds wouldn't be interfering during this visit. She came to us, wagging away her tail in excitement, looking up to be scratched and rubbed, wandered in great excitement, and then quietly lay down, no doubt secretly listening to all of us waxing eloquent on her. Once in a while she would get up, the excitement was too much, and then she would kind of move around a bit, and then rub her face against your feet, and asked to be rubbed. It was like she was participating in the meeting of the bloggers.
We had some great tea and typical Kerala snacks, and Luci intially got up to inspect things , and then pretended not to be interested. However, she did show interest when the daughter held some chips in her palm, and invited Luci to imbibe. All the while, Luci was on her amazing exemplary behaviour.
I actually expected jumps up to my shoulder, general excitement and shaking of the body as if brushing off water drops , with Shail commanding her to get down, and stay down etc. Luci , as I have known from reading about her, is a very strong willed, determined, active, and vocal person, who doesnt hide her feelings, but simply tells it like it is, and lets go.
But I think she is kind of growing up into the second somersault stage. She knows who to ignore, who to worry about, and she is concerned about how she comes across. She doesn't throw herself around wildly in company, unless of course , she sees some neighborhood cat in the vicinity. It is possible, that like all kids , she enjoys being troublesome in the house , and chewing up things , and running with mud feet on the clean floor. But she is old enough not to do it when folks visit . She knows they may write about her.
Almost an hour of chit chat with Luci amidst us, and we get up to leave. We must have a keepsake foto with Luci. She reverts to her original self as we stand on the verandah steps. She has spied the gate, and someone outside, a vehicle too, and she needs to know whats going on. Shail has the harness on her , and makes her sit for the photograph.
A lovely canine teenager , now coming of age, surrounded by folks who admire her. The camera clicks, and we have lovely memories of our visit to store away and remember. Shail presents us with a hamper of some excellent traditional kerala chips, made from banana and arbi, and Luci knows but pretends she does not. Earlier she might have got agitated, impatient and sniffed around the bag , and now she simply knew what was inside without sniffing.
Very clearly, an exponent of the second somersault stage. Not strong minded tantrums, no loud protest barking, and on her best behaviour in front of visiting folks. In her first somersault life stage, she chewed spectacles . I rest my case :-)
We all think she has a very royal demeanour. She has that royal look in her eyes.
But like all royals, she knows where she must conform to rules, and where she can let her shiny golden hair down. A pucca sign of being in the second somersault stage.
We drove back home to see the sunset from our balcony. There was a ping on the phone.
A notification on facebook.
Our visit with Luci was documented. And posted .
And we clicked and smiled as someone poured a cup of tea.....