This post about is my young friend Mani, the fifteen year old son of a neighbouring farmer. Of course I’ve met him earlier, but this time at the farm, we’ve been inseparable because a) it’s his school holidays; b) I am, it seems, irresistibly bonkers and c) there’s always strange but attractive foods emanating from our house. We planted a whole berm of vetiver and verbena together (to prevent soil erosion) and helped Raju with the vegetable patch for Navadarshanam (hurrah! in three months, we’ll be selling them vegetables!). And as we bonded over one broken and one whole spade, I heard all about his interests and aspirations.
Interest 1: Dead things. I had to hear about every dead thing ever of his acquaintance (and of his sister who she spent one morning with us), starting from a squirrel in their school and ending with the monkey that they and their friends buried with all due ritual by the side of the lake. I was ready to be buried myself by the end of this. Why are children such ghouls? I am currently reading the eighth Flavia de Luce and she certainly runs true to form.
Interest 2: Tamil. This is strange indeed in a Kannadiga.
Aspiration 1: To go to a cinema and watch Bahubali Part 2 from morning to night, which you can apparently do for the princely sum of Rs 75, I forget where.
Aspiration 2: To grow up and become whatever his father wants him to become?! I just hope he gets through school first. He’s a really nice kid. And he found a way of extracting plants from plastic grow bags that makes it easy to reuse them. You can’t get brighter than that in my book.