I had been putting this interview off for a while. I normally think of it when I am driving the car to school and that's when I am confessing to Anjali that I have been forgetting to do it. 'Every time we are in the car you think about it,' she pointed out.
Then yesterday evening she barged into my room and said. 'Interview.'
I said '2 minutes'.
And so it went on until I had to start.
Q. Now you're 7. How do you feel?
A. Because its your favorite number.
Q. So what have you done in your 7 years?
A. Gone to Goa, I am not scared of getting into the water now at the beach. Also for the first time I called more than 2 friends for my birthday.
Q. What do you like the most?
A. Tinkle Digest. Nanna and Amma.
Q. What's the happiest thing that happened last year?
A. Diwali mela at school. It was so much fun for me. Haunted House. So much food. Diyas and masks.
Q. What's your favorite food?
A. Liver. (After a lot of thought.) Maybe ice cream.
Q. What do you like to read?
A. Suppandi, Shikari Shambhu, Eena Meena, Myna, Moh, I have a dream, Ramu and Shamu, Other funny tales. Princess Adventure books. All adventure stories.
Q. You like adventure?
A. Yeah. All about bravery it is. And my favorite tale in that was Runaway Rajah.
Q. What does bravery mean to you?
A. Being bold. Not being scared. You can face anything. Lizards also.
Q. Do you think you are brave?
A. Maybe not. Sometimes I think I am. Sometimes I think I am not. When I see lizards I am all freaked out.
Q. When do you feel you are brave?
A. Once na, I made some ugly lizard with the clay. All of them was scared, Amma and all. I was just saying what is so scary in this.
Q. Is it ok to be scared?
A. Yup. There's nothing that says you cannot be scared.
Q. What makes you happy?
A. Being at school with all my friends. Going to birthday parties. Because you get so much cake to eat. I asked for 2 pieces of cake in Harsh's birthday party.
(We digressed a bit here.) I always wanted this, that ad, one whole box is there pencils, stencils, all the stationery. I want a box with all those.
Me: We'll get it.
A. I also wanted the world map so I can learn. And I can play Atlas with other kids.
Q. What makes you sad?
A. (Makes a sad face.) Mostly nothing except if someone shouts at me. Or like on my birthday Shiny broke my crayons. Or when my friends go out of town and don't come back for a long time.
Q. What is it that you don't like?
A. I don't like all girly stuff. Pink. Too girly. All those make up games. Too girly.
Q. What makes you laugh?
A. Jokes don't make me laugh out loud. Sometimes. But if someone tickles me I laugh. Under my armpits. On my tummy I don't laugh.
Q. How's life?
A. Great. Sometimes I am sad
Q. How do you like school?
A. I like it but sometimes I don't feel like going.
But when I go to school I don't feel like leaving. After you go to school I like it. We talk.
Q. Who are your best friends at school?
A. Mansi, Samaira, Saketh and Harsh.
Q. What do you like about them?
A. Sakesth is nice to talk to. But sometimes he says he is thinking. How to help scientists etc. He shakes his fist like this. He does not want to be disturbed.
Samaira is very talkative. Can't stop talking.
I like Harsh because he is sort of funny. Makes funny faces like this.
Mansi is is always talking. Like me. And is always playing games etc.
Q. How did you like Goa?
A. Great. So many beaches. I liked the resort, the sand and the greenery. I'd have like to stay in cottage but our room was also nice.
Q. What makes you angry?
A. (Thinks for a long time.) I don't know if I ever get angry. Sometimes when Amma shouts.
Q. What do you think of money?
A. You always ask me this question. Money buys things. I saw this game called Talking Angela and she said don't worry too much about money because money can't buy you love. Its good to have. But its not everything. You should be happy with what you have.
Q. How much do you want?
A. I don't use any money from my account. So, as much as I can collect. (Pretty clear here.)
Q. How can we collect money?
A. I keep finding coins. People give me sometimes. I also have two dollars.
Q. How can adults make money?
A. By working.
Q. You have to work?
Even I have to work. If I don't look around I'll never find any money.
Q. What are the three things you'll ask god if he were to appear?
A. That I could fly high as a bird.
That I have lots of friends. Every day I have 100 new friends to play with. And more.
That I could do whatever I like to do.
Q. What 3 things would you like to do first in 'whatever you like to do'?
A. That I could go into the TV and meet all the characters like Mickey Mouse. I'll be friends with them. I can meet all of them.
That I can be an ant and go around the whole house, how its like to be an ant
That I had lots and lots of robots and they could do anything, even read me stories. They can do acrobatics. tell jokes.
Q. What dreams do you have?
A. In one dream I was doing something. Me, Donald and Goofy were walking in a clubhouse. It was round. We walked out of the clubhouse and I slipped and we slid fast in a cart. Very fast. Bzzzz. We fell into the cart.
I had many other dreams.
I had a scary dream once., I was in Mythily atta's house. Nobody was there at home. A witch came. she said I'll kill you. I said don't kill me, give me sometime. One week. She said she would give me a week and gave me some clay to play. After one week I was scared. But I had deep sleep that day so she didn't come because I didn't get any dreams. Only in light sleep you get dreams.
Q. Who told you that?
A. I read in children's encyclopedia..
Q. What do you think of people?
A. Nice. They are very nice. Some are not nice. One day I went to fetch my shuttle cock that fell next door and asked an uncle who was there. He made an angry face and said so angrily 'Ellipo. Ledu teesukolevu' (Go away. You cannot take it.).
Q. Did you get scared?
A. I was scared. I ran away. I didn't show him my face crying. I turned my face away. On the way I started crying and came home.
Q. Are you angry with him?
A, No. Not much.
Q. What people do you like most?
A. Friends. Everyone.
Q. What do you like doing alone?
A. Watching tv. Doing art and craft. cards. Writing letters. Origami.
Q. You write letters?
A. I wrote to Harsh. I wrote to Tinkle.
Q. When did you laugh the most recently?
A. Nothing. I laugh small. I know once I laughed loudly. It was an ad and the boy's father says pray to god, the mosquitoes will go away. Then the mother lights this fast card when he is praying. When the boy opens his eyes there are no mosquitoes. Then the father says Dekha! Macchar nahi kaatenge. And while he is saying that he leaves the balloon and it goes phusss.
Q. Who makes you laugh?
A. Sarvajit. You.
Q. What do you think of yourself?
A. I'm quite funny. and the way I am, I feel quite strange. Sometimes I feel like, who is this Anjali. How did the earth come. Why am I like this. Who made this. Does god really have powers, Is god really there. Is the devil there. Why do they pray. Why do they light diyas.
Q. Do you like nature?
A. Yes. if we didn't have plants, no oxygen.
Q. What do you think of adults?
A. Adults are quite strange. Their studies are over. But children have to study. So we have teachers at home and at school. Teachers everywhere. I like that adults have no one to tell them anything. Also they don't feel shy.
Q. What are the funny things that adults do?
A. They are different from us. They are very different from us.
Q. Do you feel shy?
A. Arre. I don't know.
Q. You know even adults feel shy don't you?
A. Yeah. But I never saw it.
Q. That's because they hide it well.
Q. What was your happiest moment?
A. Children's day every year. Every child will say that.
Q. How can we be happy?
A. By smiling.
Q. That's all?
A. Yes, when I feel happy I smile. When something sad happens I do my favorite things like skipping, watching TV, reading, anything you like. Do it for sometime. You start forgetting and enjoy yourself. You start getting happy.
Q. What do you do when people are mean?
A. I tell them they are being mean. Or I tell someone else. Or (laughs) I get angry and don't tell anyone.
Q. What do you think of me?
A. Funny. You tell me all stories. You do good things.. like being a father.
Q. What about mama?
A. Good. Though she shouts at me sometimes.
Q. What would do if you were the Prime Minister?
A. I would say don't cut trees otherwise that's it.
Q. Why don't you want trees to be cut?
A. Because if they cut trees they only won't be there no. So better not to cut.
Q. What will you do for children?
A. If I ever saw any child working, I will ask who is the owner and tell him don't make the child work. Say no to child labour.
A. Because children must enjoy life and study.
Q. What is the meaning of life?
A. A place where you have feelings, where you have to do things, something like there's something to do everyday. Not just staying up in heaven.
Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A. I said an archaeologist.
A. I want to dig and find bones, hidden palaces, new dinosaurs.
Q. What do you think about this world?
A, It's nice very. I do like it. I don't want people to pollute the world. All the people will suffer.
Q. How do you think adults should be with children?
A. They should be kind. Nice. Many are nice. But some of my friends at school say that their mother or father slapped them. That shouldn't happen. If they make a mistake they will try again so why to hit them for no reason. If they hit them nothing is happening. You are just making the child have pain for nothing. They may get good marks or bad marks, nothing will happen. All that will happen is it will hurt.
And adults never say sorry also.
Q. How do children feel when adults behave like this?
A. Of course they will feel bad.
Q. Anything else you want to say?
Q. Do you like giving interviews?
A. A bit. Not so much.
So that ended the interview with the seven year old. Thanks Anjali for your time and for your patience. And for your honest answers. I agree with you on many things - that we must work and enjoy that process, that happiness is our responsibility, that people are by and large nice, that life brings something new everyday and mostly that adults should be a lot more kinder to their children and to themselves. I like the fact that you want to be an archaeologist though I wonder where you got this idea from.
Have a good time young lady and we'll catch up after a few months to know of some more discoveries you made.