Akshay Tritiya : Make a Wish

My school was around ten kilometres from home. The bus ride was full of fun with all my friends. Whenever I saw an ambulance on the way to school, I always made a wish. Ambulance were a rare sight in those days. When the ambulance was spotted, I used to cross my fingers. It had to be uncrossed only when one spotted a black car. That was even tougher than spotting an ambulance. May be that is why I do not like black cars. Even my Rolls Royce Phantom, will never be black. This crossed finger continued till school and was opened only when we had to do some writing in our notebooks. Sometimes, we used to uncross the finger if we saw a Red Ambassador , not a maroon one. I think the wish was like 'I get good marks' or that the ' Question paper is easy' or ' Let me get selected for the school Annual Day play'. My world depended on those wishes. The wish was never shared with anyone..  neither with the bus best friend, the class best friend, the school best friend, the neighbour nor the class partner.

The eyelash which was on the face is called a wish. As a child, even a single eyelash was important. A class mate would spot it and give it you on the back of your palm. I had to close my eyes, make a wish and then blow the eyelash away. For most of us, it would not blow away at once. So as kids, we kept improvising and were never stuck in life. We would blow at the wish thrice and then ask the friend when the eyelash, which was called a 'wish' in a reverential way, blew. The wish would be to 'watch the film which my friend had seen'.

We used to see the bird 'Myna' and make a wish. It was "one for sorrow, Two for joy'. If I saw one Myna, I would keep looking for a second one or else my day would go bad. The second one had to be spotted in the same second but I used to cheat by a few more seconds. If the teacher shouted at me in the first period for a text book missing or home work not done or an incorrect answer given, it was because of that one Myna. As children, we just blamed the little Myna who must be looking for a friend Myna, just like us. We never blamed people for something not happening in our lives. The Myna was discussed for a full free period in school. There was a whole story about the number of Mynah and what one would get on spotting them together. Like 'Three for friends and Four for boy' and so on. When you spotted two Myna together, you would give a flying kiss  twice with two fingers only. Sometimes the Myna used to come on the classroom window and we had to give the flying kiss every discreetly, without making any noise. Outside the class rooms were flowering plants all around the school building. Where in Mumbai do I see that ? Never valued it that time. My children refuse to believe that we had a pond in the school and vultures and eagles used to come there. Eagles used to snatch the Roti/ Puri from our tiffin boxes. We would scream 'Cheeeeel', which means eagle in Hindi, and run.  I do not even bother to tell them about the bigger pond outside the school wall and the one near the boys school. Their concrete reality is very different from my childhood. 

In Mumbai, a friend told me that we make a wish when we are passing under a railway bridge and a train goes above us. Mumbai with its three railway line network, one sees local trains all the time. It is not too difficult to be on the road in a vehicle when the train is passing above. But the unpredictable Mumbai traffic, makes you really rely on your luck. Today, I had the good chance of being under a railway bridge, but I missed the passing of a train by mere seconds. Shucks!

Today is Akshay Tritiya, a day to make wishes, a day to make your wishes come true. A  very dear friend has taught me to write all my wishes and put it at the temple in a nice envelope, as if you are sending a letter to Bhagwanji/ God. I religiously follow that every year. After putting this year's list near God, you can open your previous year's list. Check all that has been fulfilled. There is so much more excitement in opening the previous year's wish list than writing the list for the New Year. I put a tick on all that has been accomplished. Then I total the list and do a percentage to check my wish list effectiveness. The Math lover in me loves doing this as much as I enjoy my nightly Sudoku. I keep reading articles that the brain needs soothing and calming things at night, so I should not do brain activity which makes me more alert. But Sudoku is my stress buster. I get totally involved in Sudoku, and then the summer heat and the hot headedness of the day disappears.

Now as adults, we say things like " If wishes were horses"  and  " Oh, How I wish " . Making a wish while blowing the birthday candles is forgotten in the camera flashes.
Come on, give in to the little child within you, and make a wish!


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