Bowled over!

Summer vacations and family functions have always seen me bowled over.

If at all I ever decide to write a book, I will simply document my experiences in a niche area, bestowed upon me by my family and neighbourhood, through my formative years.

My subject will not merely be unique and entertaining but can serve as a guide book to many shattered souls who have earnestly tried to keep fussy little kids well fed. Summer vacations, get-togethers and family functions have always seen me bowled over. 

Discerning mothers, cousins, aunts and grandmothers not necessarily in that order have followed the unwritten dictum of handing over a large bowl of hot gooey mix of rasam and rice laced with ghee to me to feed the guest-brats of various parentages.  The haloed bowl would be handed to me at least a hundred minutes before the stipulated mealtime so that I could feed the kids, put them to sleep and then all of us could polish off the feast of the day without the bad-tempered brood around.

Once the act of bowling me was over, the adults in the family would deem me invisible. Left to fend for myself, I formulated my own methods. Forewarned is Forearmed. Hence, on my way out to the terrace or the garden with the bowl of food, I learned to carry chocolates, some odd knick-knack, a ball, a sheet of paper besides parking a pencil on my ear to keep scores and use the props as an incentive to coax the kids when they refused their morsel.

 Suitably armed, I would holler out to the kids. They invariably turn a deaf ear the first time around. Mimicking court summons and calling each name thrice works at times. The first one to make an appearance would be promptly collared and crowned as captain and conferred with the authority to round up the rest of the toddlers. Then, the ball would be set rolling – literally and figuratively! 

The kids would have to run and fetch the ball and then they would be rewarded with a morsel of their fodder. Once the novelty of this exercise died a natural death, other activities would be improvised in order to feed and reward them. The end of the second strategic phase would have me invoking imaginary beasts, trolls and beggars and then plead with the monsters to not to take away the wilful brats till the bowl was polished clean.

At the end of each enterprise, I always make a mental note to disappear or at least appear to be suitably busy to protect myself from the impending persecution. However, experience, reputation and my destiny invariably conspire leaving me bowled over and over again!

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