Thursday, 16 April 2020

The Chronicles of Bubbles and Buttons

“Listen to me, Bubble and Buttons”, their mother said during the breakfast. Like most of the South Indian homes, they were having hot and crispy dosa with coconut and mint chutney. It was their favourite. Strangely, they never got bored of it. Although the dosa batter was made using the same ingredients with same proportions, the taste was different depending upon who made it. Sometimes it was mother, sometimes father. And when they were busy at work, their paternal and maternal grandmothers took turns to make the breakfast. Once they tried to make dosa too. But it was mostly burnt and got stubbornly stuck to the pan.

“I have to say that you both are being very good and well-behaved children during these time of lockdown”, the mother said with a smile. “Tell me, what is your plan for today”.

Since the lockdown, breakfast has become the time to chalk down the to-do list for the day. Their mother always insisted that it is important to have a healthy routine. She has always been a meticulous planner, a stickler for punctuality and very effective in time management.

“Maybe read”, said Bubbles.
“Maybe draw”, said Buttons.

Adwaita aka Bubbles and Aditya aka Buttons are nine-year-old twins who lived in a two storeyed home with their parents and grandparents (both maternal and paternal). The house had six bedrooms, three on each level, with an airy living room on both the floors. While each couple had a bedroom of their own, Bubbles and Buttons shared their space. There was a spare room for guests and the other room was maintained as a recreation space with a home theatre which used to be their aunt’s room. She had moved out of the house last year after getting married to her childhood friend. Although there was enough room for all, the house cannot be called palatial or spacious. It was just right to accommodate eight people!

“That’s a good idea. What else?” their mother continued. Both Bubbles and Buttons looked at each other. By now they understood that their mother had some other plans for them.

“How about cleaning your cupboard? There are lot of stuffs which we have not really looked at for a while. Some needs to be thrown away, some categorized, some rearranged and some, trashed”, she said.

Their mother had this obsessive-compulsive disorder to categorise and label almost everything. She always said, “there is a right place for everything, and everything must be at the right place”. The emphasis was on MUST and they knew that there was no way to escape the orderliness.

After spending their morning by reading and sketching, they reluctantly started pulling one thing after another from their cupboard. Mostly, it included academic books and stationeries. They neatly segregated them from their story books and drawing books.

Bubbles was an avid reader and Buttons was always sketching something or the other. Sometimes, they swap - Bubbles use Buttons’ s Sketch books and colour pencils to draw and Buttons would borrow Bubbles books. It was an unsaid rule, they will not use each other’s’ things without seeking permission. They do not remember when and how that rule was formed. Or who made it.

Although they were twins, Bubbles was a few inches taller than Buttons. She reached out to the attic by stepping onto a chair and pulled a carton. They started rummaging through it.

“See what I found”, exclaimed Bubbles. It was their first journal. At the age of five, their father gifted them a journal and asked them to write about their day. Since they were still learning words, they often took the help of their parents or grandparents to update. Soon showing the journal to their father on Sundays and discussing on what they learnt in school or in their other classes became a routine.

January 01, 2015
Bubbles: Pappa gifted us this diary. We are excited to write every day.
Buttons: Pappa gifted us this diary. We are excited to write every day.

They both giggled at their handwriting and how silly it looked now. They were sure that their parents would have told them what to write although they didn’t really remember much about the day anymore.

“But I don’t understand why we have written the say sentence”, said Buttons thoughtfully. “Funny right”, said Bubbles.

They shuffled through the pages. Day after day, it looked mostly the same.
We went to school. Or we played in the garden. Or we learnt a new poem. And so on. They observed that everyday they both wrote separately in the same page, but always the same thing.

March 15, 2015
Bubbles: Yay! Summer holidays have started. We promise to be good children and we will not fight with each other
Buttons: Yay! Summer holidays have started. We promise to be good children and we will not fight with each other

“At last something different”, remarked Buttons.
“But I don’t remember much of our fights. Do you?” asked Bubbles.
“I am not sure either. I was looking forward to reading our tantrums in the journal. But these are very generic”, said Buttons sounding disheartened.
“Oh, come on, we were kids. I don’t think we knew enough words to write on our own. Let’s be fair”, said Bubbles as a matter of fact. She was always like that. Very practical and often sounded like their mother.
“Hmm… Lets find last year’s diary then?” asked Buttons
“I think we should still read this one”, said Bubble.
“I agree. But I am curious to know when we started calling our journal as The Chronicles of Bubbles and Buttons?” remarked Buttons and they drifted in their trail of thoughts while they rummaged their brains to remember.  

To be continued…

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