Tale of 7 Elephants

Reading the ultimate gift a parent gives his child

Reading the ultimate gift a parent gives his child

My bonsai man has developed a habit, and an endearing one at that, of listening to a bed time story. But it is not a story that he wants read from any story book. He wants to hear A particular story that is retold to him in episodic way. I have heard, read and known of many extolling the virtues of reading to one’s child. I think that is easy as compared to whipping up stories like any other long-running soap writer would endorse.

This is how a typical day ends. My Cubby Cat crawls into bed with his favourite toy (usually one from the bulldozer family!) and then he’d want me to lie down next to him and then he’d say to me to start the “elephant tory”. And the story begins like this:

Me: Once upon a time, there were…

Son: …7 elephants

Me: …living in a jungle in…

Son: Africa!

The elephants were “Mummy Ele, Papa Ele, Gullu Ele (that is him)…” followed by the 2 sets of grandparents.

The elephants in Africa do the same thing that my son did that particular day. Mention his playmates, mention the mischief he was up to, sometimes add in the cameo of his aunt in Chicago (and she is not an elephant, she is a ‘duckie’) and sometimes adventures like meeting a lion or a crocodile!

7Elephants1 3It is high literary content, I dare say. My favourite style. The starting is the same. And then the new story unfolds. While recounting all the balderdash, I have imagined the hard-bound paper-back of the ‘7 Elephant’ series and newspaper articles with comparisons to J K Rowling! The stories also have underlying messages like kindness, sharing, bravery, obedience to parents etc.

I am lying next to my son, who settles on his stomach, listening to what the 7 elephants are up to. If I expect my son to understand all that I keep saying would be asking too much. He is about to turn 3 and probably is building his own visualisations to what his Papa is saying. Truth be told, creativity usually is at an all-time low at the end of the day and I have thoughts of dinner and conversation with the wife running in my head. On the other hand, the soft bed and dark room feels very comforting.

Often I have lulled myself to sleep with my voice, only to be woken up by the half-sleepy voice of my son, “Papa… Papa… elephant tory?” And then, I plod on again with the plot I was concocting.

There have been occasions, when I have been delirious with sleep and my 7 elephants have entered my radio station (where I work), got into debates with clients, witness heated discussions with sales and sometimes been a part of a local or global happening! My 7 elephants are pretty well-travelled.

There is no great point here that I trying to make. Just that I enjoy the closeness with my toddler son and that for some reason, he wants to listen to me talking about wildlife. These are moments I cherish. These are moments, I feel worthy as a father. These are moments that are close to my heart, more so as my son and his mum are away visiting his grandparents and I have 2 and a half weeks more to go before I see him and ‘mess’ with him. But then, I am brushing up on mythology and all else, so that when Advait and I are together, and when he demands to hear another pachyderm adventure, I will be ready to regale him. If I do not fall asleep, that is.

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About Dev J Haldar

Employee to his 3.5 year old son | Mediaman | Academic | Food Writer on BurpAndBelch.com | #Batman Believer. Follow Dev (@TheCalmDev) on Twitter or read more of his articles on his fatherhood blog Father-o-logy.

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4 Responses to Tale of 7 Elephants

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