For the longest time, Ayaan had no time to spare for his ever-growing soft toy collection, gifted over the years by friends and family. They were all stuffed into a shelf in his cupboard and largely ignored. All except the Noddy doll that was his sleep companion till he turned three and then was ruthlessly discarded.
But then about six months ago, they were discovered. It started with him needing some company for his weekend TV viewing. So a random selection of soft toys would be dragged out from the cupboard and made to sit facing the TV for the duration of the permitted cartoon time after which they went back to spend the remainder of the week in the cupboard.
The next evolution in their status happened when he decided that some of the lucky ones would get to share his bed at night. So a new ritual was added to bedtime – that of picking the three fortunate bedfellows. Only they were not cuddled and hugged as you might expect. They had to sleep under his pillow…
The next step was to christen some of the favourite ones. He was gifted a white teddy bear for his last birthday, who he insisted was actually a polar bear so he got named Pola. The other favourites included Dogga, Frogga and Pengua (no prizes for guessing the animals) and just when I was despairing of any creativity in the naming process, Icy the Giraffe.
Once they got names, they became an integral part of our lives. We had long chats about their doings and their naughty behaviour, which resulted in one or more of them being banished back to the cupboard. They came vegetable shopping with us. Pola accompanied us to Ayaan’s first visit to McDonalds. Pola, Pengua and Frogga went to see Up with the father-son duo and due to a relatively empty theatre, even got seats of their own.
Ayaan clicked some portraits of his friends as well. Say hello to Pola:
Dogga is the Snoopy in the TV watching picture and Frogga is buried behind Pola in the same picture.
Anyway, it was inconceivable that the friends did not accompany us on our mad holiday and that too as hand baggage. With visions of our baggage being doubled by the numerous soft toys, he was told that he could pick any three – so Pola, Frogga and Icy made the cut while Dogga and Pengua were left behind because they had been naughty boys. Much was made of them throughout the trip. They each got a hand baggage tag of their own and made their way into and out of the baggage xray machine under the watchful eyes of a certain boy.
In Bangalore, they went to the park and got to ride on the merry-go-round, the see-saw and the swing. (They were also chucked down the slide but that happened too fast to be captured on film).
Two new friends also joined the gang – Whaley and Beary. They were actually presents for Tarana but were quickly appropriated by Ayaan and can be seen here with the others watching on while Ayaan enjoys his daily hour of internet games
In Jaipur, we lost Frogga – lost being an euphemism for being chewed up by the dogs. By the time, we got him away from Beanz, he had lost both his eyes. We gingerly broke the news to Ayaan who shrugged it off by saying that Frogga was a very brave boy since he didn’t cry.
And so we came back to Mumbai, having lost one ‘friend’ but having gained two. These days, he seems to be growing out of his interest in his soft toys. So I thought I better get this post out there before it becomes another one of those lost memories :)