Sunday, May 27, 2007

Knock, Knock, Who's There?

I was posted in Mumbai (then Bombay). We had invited my boss and his wife for a quiet dinner at home. Strict instructions were given to the five-year-old Hari to 'Behave yourself, or else...'

The boss and his wife came in at the appointed time. We exchanged pleasantries. Hari, who was playing in the children's park, came in a little later and was going in for a wash when I suggested, 'Hari, won't you greet uncle Agarwal and auntie?'

Hari did so, in a sing-song way that was his style those days. Mrs Agrawal, as is customary, exclaimed, 'How chweet!' and asked him about his school, teacher, friends etc. One thing led to another and she asked him to sing a song. He declined. Instead, he said he would play 'Knock, knock' with her.

She did not know the rules of the game. Hari explained the rules.

"I'll say Knock, knock," Hari said.
"Who's there? you are supposed to ask.
"If I reply Amos, you will ask, Amos, who?
And I will reply A mosquito, come to bite you."
"That would be the punchline," I added knowledgeably.

The game started.

'Knock, knock,' Hari said.
'Who's there?' she was a sport if there was one.
'Andy,' replied Hari
'Andy, who?' she enquired.
'Andy bit me again!'

Hari had got Mrs Agarwal’s attention.

'Knock, knock,' Hari said.
'Who's there?' she asked spiritedly.
'Lucy, who?'
'Loose elastic drops your socks down.'

One more, it was Mrs Agarwal’s voice.

'Knock, knock,' Hari said agaim.
'Who's there?' she knew the way it goes.
'Agar,' replied Hari
'Agar, who?' she enquired.
'Agarwall na hota to ceiling gir jata.'

I will be failing in my duty if I do not record that the benevolent Mr agarwal did not hold the incident against me when the next round of promotions was due.