My little niece Amala was a super entertainer. As a child, she always ran. I think she didn’t know how to walk. And she ran like a big bouncing ball – never straight. And the little girl had a tongue right round her neck. She used to come up with such startlers that every time she opened her mouth in the presence of strangers, we used to get nervous. Like that day, when she stood leaning against her mother, looking with deadly calm at an elderly aunt whose one eye was permanently closed. Little Amala’s silence was like the calm before the storm, and I began to get nervous. And then, she raised her right arm slowly and deliberately, in a Heil Hitler fashion, folded her fingers except the index finger which she pointed in the aunt's direction, - and dropped the bombshell. “Looks like our chicken’s eye,”, she announced loud and clear. (One of our hens had died the previous day of some disease. It had gone around with one eye closed for a couple of days before it died). “What did she say”, asked my aunt, whose ears not quite tuned to the American twang. I don’t remember how my sister got out of the situation.
She was a little older when the family, sitting around the dining table, were discussing Morarji Desai’s urine drinking habit. Suddenly, I noticed that deadly calm settle on Amala’s face, and waited. No tension this time ‘cos only the family was there.
And then it came. “Ichayan”, said Amala, addressing my father in that typical musical tone reserved for him. “I have a doubt”. There was that full stop in her tone and expression at that juncture. She looked very serious. “ How did he drink his urine? Directly or indirectly?”
My father nearly choked over his food laughing.