I realized something as I began writing this.

I can no longer call him a newbie. As they are eager to point out, chronology is just a number anyway. By all other criteria, he is a veteran.

I met Sid Balachandran a few months ago, on a mutual friend’s Facebook wall. Yes child, that’s where you meet new people nowadays. You don’t need to wash your face or comb your hair; you need not get out of your decade old Tee that a dog wouldn’t sniff. You just land on a virtual space looking like something the cat dragged in and knock everyone out with your sparkling wit and pointed rejoinders. Easy as pie!

But I digress, my cardinal sin, of course!

So, there be Sid and there be I as the inimitable Jack Sparrow would say . Both going hammer and tongs at the poor friend whose leg we were pulling with mighty success. The rest, as they say, is history… held together with some very pointed pins (a humble item both of us have a soft corner for).

Curious and piqued by his ready wit, I went hunting for his blog. I landed on I Wrote Those. And man, oh man! Was I in for a treat!

He weaves vivid stories. I haven’t read a single story from him which did not make me feel as if I was in the midst of all the action and drama. When he chooses to don his humor hat, he has me guffawing until I am gasping for breath. When he talks about parenting challenges in his Daddy Journals, he totally makes me fall for his two- year old whom I call Cuteness (Pic submitted at the end of the post as irrefutable evidence).

He is a work- from- home father in India… the land of the hypocritical conformist. In my eyes, that decision is akin to cocking a irreverent snook at the busybodies who, incidentally, wouldn’t know a well turned simile from a mud puddle. This alone puts him miles… MILES… ahead of the ALSO RANs. My admiration, mind you, is not easily won. I horde unabashedly it like a miserly merchant with little button eyes sitting on his soft cushions planning on gypping some miserable peasant of his hard earned. Oh yes, totally!

To have a man like that write for Serenely Rapt makes me feel absolutely and insufferably smug. If you haven’t visited his blog yet, all I can say is, no wonder you look wan and sickly!

Thank you for letting me have the pleasure of hosting you on my Online Abode Sid. As you know well, I am thrilled to have you here. I shouldn’t be surprised if my market value jumped through the roof after this post goes live.

The rest of you will please stand in queue after this. I am sure I will be able to find a few crumbs of time for you sometime in the next decade.

Before the rest of you (Et tu Sid?!) lynch me for going on and on, here is Sid Balachandran in person! Read this post and tell me if you don’t wish you too had a work- from- home dad.

Tighten your seat belt, he is going to take you swooshing down memory lane! Hang on there!

 As a work-from-home father, I’d like to think that I’m more involved in my little one’s day-to-day activities than most other fathers can afford to be. (Did I hear you gasp at the work-from-home father part?)

With the gorgeous (did I add sticky, messy, humid, and sweat-inducing?) Indian summer already here, the little one is home a lot more than he usually is, courtesy of a two and half month long summer holiday for his play school. Of course, this means that a large part of my morning is now dedicated to “reliving my childhood” with him doing fun activities.

Whilst there are days I’m inclined to stick him in front of the TV or the iPad and just let him zone out, I’ve refrained from doing so. At least so far. Truth be told, some days are harder than the others. But I’ve pledged to keep technology-related activities to a minimum and teach him things that I used to do for fun. Yes, they were activities from almost three decades ago, and probably stuff most kids will frown upon and dismiss as silly these days. But at two-years old, fortunately he doesn’t oppose me. Not vehemently enough anyway.

Probably the most fortuitous thing about being a parent is the opportunity to reminisce. About your childhood, about the dreams and most of all, about the fun times. The little things that you did when technology was still in its infancy. The days before the i-gadgets of the X-boxes. The days when your definition of fun was probably a whole lot different to what your son’s or daughter’s will be.

We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play.

~ Charles E. Schaefer

Fun is something very arduous to describe. So I won’t even attempt. But what I’d like to do is share a tiny list of activities that are largely indicative of what constituted fun for my band of merry friends and I, growing up. I also suppose I speak for a large part of my generation when I say, “For us, fun was….”

  • Hiding in a flimsy fort made of pillows and blankets, which could literally be knocked down if someone bothered to increase the speed of the ceiling fan.
  • Watching mischievous Jerry being chased around by crazy Tom. Of course as we grew older, we started to feel sorry for Tom a lot more because we realized what a pain Jerry was.
  • Blowing warm breaths against the car window on the cold, winters night and using your fingers to draw a smiley face.
  • Ascending and descending stairs in hops, skipping a number of steps
  • Switching on the pedestal fan and talking into it just to hear the strange robot voice.
  • Walking between tiles on the floor (or the road), skipping the joints in between each tile. If you missed, you lost. Even if you were just competing with yourself.
  • Ringing the cranky neighborhood aunt’s door bell and running away like you had her dog chasing you
  • Playing card games like UNO and Go Fish, whilst secretly crossing your fingers behind your back hoping for lady luck to be on your side. Also whilst muttering all kinds of magic spells under your breath hoping the others lose.
  • Jumping up and down on the bed like its a trampoline, all the while practicing round-house kicks and vicious punches at imaginary villains
  • Holding your index finger or thumb over a lit up torch light, just to see your skin turn red.
  • Closing the fridge door slowly to see the lights go out.
  • The excitement in hearing the ding-a-ling of the ice-cream van
  • Jumping from sofa to sofa, pretending the floor is made of hot, melting lava
  • Pretending the flimsy 30cm ruler is your invincible sword of destruction.
  • Climbing the neighbor’s mango tree for a clean shot at the juicy aams.
  • Watching multiple drops of rain slide down a closed windowpane as if they were having a race.
  • Board games like Ludo, Snakes & Ladders, Monopoly….the list is pretty endless.
  • Making strange little shadow creatures in front of the fluttering candle during power cuts.
  • Playing hide and seek and trying to find a place that you’d never be discovered in. Sometimes not for hours 😉
  • Pretending grape squash was red wine
  • Scaling the door frame and pretending we were Spiderman
  • Thinking the moon followed your car everywhere
  • Blowing up an empty Frooti carton, only to jump on it to make the loud, “kaboom” pop that shocked people
  • Bursting the plastic bubbles on the bubble wrap
  • Sailing well-constructed paper boats in the muddy puddle when it rained
  • Using wooden cloth clips as make-shift finger nails
  • Reading a scary book (which we totally were not meant to be reading) by a tiny light of the torch under the blanket.
  • Silly car games like iSpy or the Signboard or the Number plate game.
  • Pretending to fall asleep on the sofa or in the car so that you’d be carried to the bed

One of the best childhood lessons that I’ve carried on throughout my life is that the opportunity for fun is everywhere. Location or the number of people is never the challenge. All you need is to look for the chance and unleash your creativity. And now, I must take your leave. For little Ri is impatiently waiting by the pedestal fan for us to begin our “Robot Song”. But I’ll leave you with this parting thought and image of little Ri.

It might help revive some of your “fun” childhood memories.

Evidence Submitted. Isn’t he the Cutest ever? 🙂