‘Catch up on lost growth?’ asked Specky, ‘What does this mean to you?’
I pondered on the query and then said with a smile, ‘Me? I’m already over-grown from all sides… without symmetry, almost like ginger roots.’ So I wondered aloud if there was still any scope for catching up left. The next few minutes were all about how everyone is busy catching up on something or the other which obviously had to have malicious gossip about friends, relatives, the past, and even the imagined future.
‘All this is entertaining,’ I observed, ‘but hardly contributing towards any sort of growth. Right?’
‘Ah! Catching up is pure entertainment viewed from one angle and simply scientific from another,’ said Specky.
Then, as wives normally do, Specky dived into her explanatory mode where the voice is calm, eye-contact sustains, as the content attempts to grip your attention. ‘Some kids,’ she said, ‘lag behind in growth. And this isn’t just physical growth. Their mind too needs to be nourished well. The truth is that kids need proteins and nutrients in their pre-teen years.’
‘Right,’ I replied, ‘after all they need to get into life at some stage when the race to catch up hots up. I mean, look around you. Isn’t everyone just racing like mad and trying to meet a mind-boggling range of targets? There are exams where passing means nothing unless you’ve raced well and reached ahead of others… then there are races to get the best job or the coveted position… there are races to earn more to be faced… the future is so full of such races that kids who are denied their right to grow when they are in the age-group of three to nine, can suffer miserably.’
Specky looked at me as if I had suddenly suggested a way out of a dungeon. ‘This is the answer that I was looking for,’ she said. It was, of course, now my turn to stare in disbelief… but I let it pass as it isn’t every day that I get such energetic bouts of applause from her.
‘Good,’ I said, ‘Good food helps.’ I was trying to sound as scientific as I could and anything beyond two laconic words like ‘good food’ was all that I could assimilate from my terribly limited scientific knowledge.
‘You’re right,’ she said. I actually pinched myself hard, because with this second applause, I was now on a rare hat-trick in a marital relationship where an applause was like googlies that create history.
‘Really?’ I stuttered. I mean, look at the way our discussion had shaped… it appears that the universe was bent upon declaring me a winner without knowing anything about anything. I did feel like Ruby from the ‘prodigal science’ episode in the education history of Bihar. Specky, for a brief moment, appeared like the infamous Bachcha Chacha who had decided to thrust Ruby to capture the topper’s crown when all she wanted was to pass an exam.
‘No, you aren’t Bachcha Chacha,’ I muttered.
‘Bachcha?’ said Specky, ‘yes, they are all bachchas in the three to nine age-group and all they need is something really nourishing.’
‘Something like Horlicks Growth Plus?’ I asked. I had bowled my ball and was literally waiting for it to turn into a deadly googly that will finally win the match for me… and I almost fainted when she smiled.
A smile, let me tell you, is like the silence before the entire stadium rocks with applause… and this hypothesis was proven correct that day because Specky said, ‘You’re right. This means you also read the ads in the newspapers. This is what makes you a complete reader!’
Look at this! This isn’t just a hat-trick but a couple of notches above, rendering even this sublime cricketing phrase into a mere cliché. I had not just a hat-trick under my arm but endorsements too were pouring in now… ‘You know, this is a specialized nutrition product designed by international paediatric experts for children who are lagging behind in height and weight. It contains high quality whey protein with added nutrients that are known to enable children to catch up on lost growth. It has been clinically proven for visible growth in children in 6 months,’ said Specky directing a look of admiration in my direction.
I’m sure Horlicks Growth Plus must be doing a great job with kids because even a mention of this name helped me score my first hat-trick and helped even me catch up on lost growth, so to say.
03 July 2016