Over the weekend we were cleaning my daughter M’s cupboard and I found an alien shoe box and shoved it into a corner. Grumbling about the junk M manages to accumulate. M sat on it. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak! It shrieked and startled us both! We both exchanged looks and her expression was so cute and funny I broke into giggles. She grinned and sat on it again and…squeeeeeeeeeeeak! And again. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeak! And again. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak! Then we took it out of its prison and it squeaked indignantly out. Ah her old favourite squeaky ball. I remember having picked it up from a pet store when she was less than two! It’s one of those doggy ‘fetch’ balls. I fell in love with it because it was this bright pink colour with cute little bones popping out from it. Simply adorable. And I remember her playing with it for hours together. Playing exactly the way a doggy might have played. Asking me to throw it and then fetching it herself. Over and over and over again we did it. Until its squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak filled my being and I could not hear anything else any more. Perhaps out of frustration – I might have put it in a box and shoved it into her cupboard.
Now that we had rediscovered it – we fell in love with it all over again. We played fetch for some time. And its familiar, happy squeak filled the room. It had this funny way of squeaking. You press it and it goes all squishy and shapeless then gradually it expels its squeezed breath going sqquuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaak un-squishing itself eventually. It should have been annoying of course, but I don’t know why it was so funny. M and I giggled and giggled and rolled on the floor unable to contain our laughter. Then her eyes lit up with mischief and we thought of a hundred whacky things we could do with the ball…
Her grandpa was having his mid morning siesta. We quietly sneaked into the room and tucked squeaky under his pillow. Then we stood there trying not to break into giggles while we waited from him to turn and for squeaky to do its thing. And turn he did in a few minutes.
‘Squuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaak’ it went loud and clear. Grandpa sat up confused and startled – not just by the squeak but also because of two totally whacko girls standing there and giggling like there’s no tomorrow!
Grandma was our next victim.
She was in the kitchen grinding dosa^ batter. We squeezed in squeaky’s cheeks and threw it at grandma yelling “catch patty*” before she could react it she caught it and it went ‘squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak‘. Startled she screamed “eek” and threw it away and ‘plonk’ it landed on the freshly ground dosa batter. Grandma was of course livid that we messed up her dosa batter! She whacked our butts – while we shamelessly giggled and giggled.
The maid was next.
She was swabbing the floor with her back to us. We quietly placed squeaky behind her – knowing that she would step on it. And she did. And it went “sqquuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak!”. The maid went “aiyooo yamma diiiiiiiiii” and so on. We of course giggled and giggled.
Her dad came in then from a meeting. We did not even need to discuss the plan. We just knew what gig to pull on him. She cajoled her dad into coming and opening a certain game site for her. And sweetly dragged him to the computer chair. By then I had placed squeaky there. He sat and it went ‘squuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak’ and we went giggle giggle giggle.
The entire household was giving us tolerant smiles. No one of course was really amused. It was like grin and bear it. M and I kept breaking into explosions of laughter all day as we recalled each of their expressions when squeaky did its thing.
Now squeaky has mysteriously disappeared from our sight. No marks for guessing who could have hidden it away! But what the hell…all that giggling helped. Whoever said that laughter is the best medicine is absolutely, completely, totally right.
*Grandmother in Tamil
^ Dosa – Fluffy rice pancakes