The setting sun in the backdrop of the pier greeted us as we left the fair near the seashore. The crowd however was still hanging about, looking at the sunset, sitting on one of the few benches on the roadside or chattering among themselves. At the entrance to the fair, a young boy sat on the pavement, his wares in front of him, showing off to his skills to those who stopped to admire. The crowd was hard to please, but one of them wasn’t. As soon as she saw them, she tugged on my finger and pulled me toward the boy.
Giving my daughter a smile, the boy dipped the plastic hoop into the soapy water he had in a tin and blew slowly but with surety that the bubble won’t break. It grew till it was the size of a big balloon, and then, straining free of the hoop, floated for a moment in mid-air, the light shining through and making the colors dance. It wouldn’t have popped for a while, but my daughter, curious and excited as she was, touched it. Pop! It sprayed a little on her face.
“Daddy, that tickles!” she said, looking at me. And then, pointing at the hoops in front of the boy, said, “I want.”
Five minutes later, we were on the lawn opposite the fair, she holding her brand new “bubble hoop” as she called it. It was in her favorite color too, pink. I watched as she dipped the hoop into the soap water tin, and looking at me, blew into it. One, two, three, four… the bubbles, small and colorful burst out from the other end, dancing in the light. I clapped, but her smile was wan.
“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” I asked her.
“Bubble not big,” she told me.
“You’ll get big bubble later. That boy has been doing it for a long time. It’s okay. Your bubbles are beautiful. See,” I told her, holding her close.
She was adamant though. She continued trying for a while, and I watched her, sitting on the lawn. But the big bubble wouldn’t come. As we walked home, she turned back and saw the boy near the entrance. His bubble was still big. And he was showing off to another young boy now.
I knelt on one knee and looked at her. There was a twinkle in her eye, as if she had just got an idea.
“What is it, sweetheart?”
She looked at me and then at the boy again. Smiling expectantly, she pointed at him.
“Can we take him home too?”
(© 2nd April 2015)