I love birthday parties. Kids play a bit and we all go for dinner. Then I stuff myself with birthday cake. In short .. heaven. A few weeks back was my good friend Jatin's son, Arush's birthday. The platoon and I landed at Get Air. I was at my dignified best as Jatin introduced me to his parents and other distinguished guests. Then I turned around and saw paradise. A stadium sized room that was essentially one big trampoline. Basketball hoop in one corner where kids were bouncing and dunking. Track in another corner where kids were having bouncing races. Little platforms from which kids were diving into the trampolines. Trampolines in front of me .. trampolines behind me .. trampolines to the side of me. All calling out to me. I slid over to Jatin. "Exactly how well can your parents see .. like if I bounce in a far corner .. would they recognize me .. I can change my shirt if you want?". A look of sheer joy and ecstasy filled his face. "I got you man, I got your back .. don't worry", He said as he started bounding on the trampolines. His dad walked over with a stern expression. "Oh Papa .. Nishant here wanted to jump. I'm just giving him company" Said Judas as he jumped headfirst into a crowd of kids. I smiled sheepishly at uncle as I let the trampolines take me. A few blissful minutes later I caught Pratibha hopping onto the trampolines. I figured her heart must have filled with pride at the sight of the two of us valiantly upholding the prestige of the seniors in bounce races and dunk contests against gifted toddlers. She must have stepped in to congratulate us on our effort. Or just ever so slightly .. maybe she jumped in to drag me out. I dashed for the exit. I knocked her over and she twisted her ankle. Folks gathered around. She was in pain. The last time I saw that face was 5 years back when she was about to deliver Megha. I was in pain .. in anticipation of the pain I was sure to receive. She gave me a wry smile and a chuckle. Sweetheart .. she had come on to jump as well. She couldn't resist when she saw us jumping.
I helped her off the trampoline while gently reminding her that these activities are certainly not recommended for people of our age. I mean .. who does that right! I was just giving Jatin company. I wasn't really jumping. "Just get the ice pack Nikku", she cut short my speech. In half an hour it was evident from the swelling that it was no ordinary sprain. One ER visit and a snickering X-ray technician later, she's home with an ankle that's broken in two places and a sturdy boot to kick me with if I ever step out of line. We're all fussing over her. Sona's cooking her tea. Megha's washing dishes and I'm going to be toiling around the house for a very long time to make up for what I did. No wonder she's smiling so much these days.