Yesterday, our boy, Paarth, turned 3. That wraps a full year for him and what a journey it has been for the little one. Last year, on this day, we were spending precious moments at the magnificent fairy tale land in Bruges, Belgium. More on the witches and fairies of Bruges later but it gave me a chance to reflect on Paarth’s year and a half in London. He visited nearly 10 countries across Europe, spend some quality time with his grand parents in India, picked up a cute little British accent and finally ended up moving back to his homeland, the U.S. of A.

In our eyes, he is and will continue to be the same, one who screams at will, jumps around like he is on a perennial bouncy castle, and is constantly in motion. Only his interests have shifted from Thomas and Friends and Peppa Pig to Dinosaurs, from “Oh dear” to “Oh my Gosh”, from “may I please watch TV” to “put! the TV on”, and from “please Daddy” to “go away! Daddy”. He continues to spend an inordinate amount of time chatting and acting like dinosaurs, and has an amplified social quotient of a stand up comedian; so much so that, parents in the park now distinctly remember him as the “Dinosaur” kid.

Moving to the US as a second generation Indian, I used to wonder about the first generation American Indian kids. Their language, mannerisms, communication; everything seemed so different from the kids across the pacific. Growing up in India, we were anything but formal, did not speak a word of English, and got cautioned by our parents quite frequently more often resulting in a slap on the face or a hard pat on the back. Of course, it was much less comfortable too. There was the immense heat to deal with, the constant swarming of the mosquitoes, the wet rains and play sessions with your neighborhood kids like there was no tomorrow. Couple this with the lackadaisical attitude from our parents, it made for one rollercoaster of a journey.

Over here, everything seems different! And now, with Paarth born as a first generation American, none of those challenges that made our lives colorful seem to exist. There is more comfort, no mosquitoes to deal with and no more playing in the muddy puddles unless you have your wellies on. Playing with your neighbour’s kids almost feels like planning for a washington state dinner with the president. You need to find a time that works for both the kids, is mostly indoors and concentrated to a room, and unlike the state dinner there is not much room for jokes or faulty lines. It all seems directed, if not by a superior human being but by lesser mortals like us. Us, who had the polar opposite of all these experiences.

So, here is hoping that Paarth is going to imbibe at least some of my childhood experiences. Someone, who doesn’t believe in formalities, someone who continues to be eternally social and someone, who livens everyone’s spirit with his vibrant screams, doldrums and idiosyncrasies.

Here is hoping, son,

that you cherish the best of both the worlds

That you will continue to bleed blue as much as you will love the eagle

That you will adore idlis and dosas as much as cheese sandwiches

That you will love to get soaked in the rain as much as wellies and rain coats

That you will leave a trace of your British accent for eternity

Here is hoping, son, that you have a wonderful next year

A year filled with surprises

A year filled with learning

A year filled with mistakes

And a year filled with new friends

Here is wishing, son,

that you will continue to be our darling child

One who lifts our spirits with your unending talks

One who makes us nearly deaf with your deafening screams

And one who lights our hearts with unalloyed love and energy

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