Some days ago, my 4 and a half year old nephew had come over to our place for a week as his baby-sitter was out of town. With his mum busy at office, the responsibility of keeping the tot busy through the day was on my shoulders. The day had to start with his favourite cartoon serials and end with a walk outdoors with my pet dog. And during the walk, the most viewed object and discussed topic would be the Dhoom bikes!
The moment we would step out of our building compound, our little hero would busy himself spotting the said bike and then plead, ” WIll you get me such a bike when I grow up?” And, I would say sure, but first you need to grow up, as tall and strong as your dad and uncle only then will we think about the bike. And that would start the chain of our conversations. It would transport him to a dream-land where he would grow up and his dad would get him his favourite bike….sleek and black. And then, he would go vroom!!!
“When I get the bike, I am going to drive it at full speed….like this”, and he would run at full speed, his hands in the handle- holding position. Once, I told him, that we must never drive at such a speed as that could lead to problems with the law….in kid-lingo, the police would catch hold of him for speeding . For which he replied,”but, Aamir Khan drives the bike at full speed in the film!” I reasoned,”Aamir Khan is a thief in the movie and he happens to be chased by the police and that is why he drives his bike so fast.” Pat came the reply,”Okay, then, I too will become a thief when I grow up and then I too will drive my bike at great speed! YES, I will become a THIEF!! Yayyy!!” Much to my embarrassment as well as amusement, our little guy ran in circles announcing to the world and to himself that he would grow up to be a thief just like Aamir Khan and go vroom!
I really didn’t know where to look and how to stop our hero in his tracks. Later on, when I narrated the story to his mum, we had a hearty laugh and beamed with love and admiration at his imagination and his innocence and most of all, at his keen observation! We weren’t really worried about our little guy fulfilling his dreams of becoming an out law, but we were amazed at the impact the film had had on such a young mind! The guy, at his age, knows the names of all the famous stars, knows the songs and the dialogues, although he doesn’t know what the hell they mean! He knows exactly when, in a particular song, the hero kisses the heroine or makes a romantic move! And this, when he is busy with his school and studies the entire day and watches the idiot-box for just an hour or so in the evenings! And if at his age he is so much affected by films, what is going to happen when he is in his teens?!
Only time can tell if our little hero outgrows all this humbug or gets pulled into the whirlwind of our hindi movies. But, one thing is for sure, the dream of his Dhoom bike will stay for some more time, till another film makes it to the box-office and brings out with it a new and better attraction to lure young minds.