I was the only child for the first 6 years of my life. In those 6 years my mother used to make paper boats for me during the monsoon and sometimes when i wanted to play a little longer in the small plastic tub we had in our bathroom. Those paper boats have always made me happy. I never quite understood how she made them or where she learnt it from. It would baffle me how a few quick folds here and there on a piece of paper and voila, a boat was born. I tried learning from her and eventually i did. But that charm of my mother making me a paper boat will always remain with me. I have sent many boats down a stream of rainwater outside my building while waiting for the school bus to arrive in the morning during the monsoon. I would always request her to make them before we left the house if it was raining alot. I always would let them go and hope they would go on. I never wondered where they went. Many a times i would let go a boat and the bus would arrive. I would race to the window and try and see if i could spot them. Sometimes they would be lying near the gutter further down the street all crumpled up and sometimes they would be floating like a real boat and that would make me really happy.
I have a aunt and uncle who make their annual trip to India from London every year since the last 30 years. My parents would always take me when they would arrive here. They became my favourite because everytime i met them, they would give me a toy and some chocolates. I still have few of those toys. Once, an elder cousin had also come. I do not remember when this was. I was probably 4 or 5. He must have been 2-3 years elder. I vividly remember entering a dimly lit room, where he was sitting on the bed making something out of paper. At first i thought it was a boat! But then he made a few folds and held it in his hands. It was nothing like what my mom used to make. He then threw it in the air and it flew for a few seconds and fell down. It was amazing. He told me it was a plane. I asked him, how does one make it, and to my disappointment he said its a secret. I wanted to know. I wanted to make my own. It was time to go and i picked up his paper plane and went home. It never flew the same way and i always wondered at how he had made it. And over the years, i learnt it from others but it was not the same. I never could make good paper planes like the way i made boats. They never fly.
Today, i made a paper plane for my 4 year old neighbour. He wondered the same way how it flew and how to make it. I taught him but he never really bothered. He was just amazed at the fact that it could fly. My mother made a paper boat for him and he loved them so much that he went home to show them to his mother.
Maybe he will play with them when he takes a bath.