* THE ADVENTURES OF WAIWAI *
Waiwai smiling to himself shifted his feet to adjust under the shadow of the large balloon that hovered atop. The balloon that Waiwai had been following from a distance as they drove towards this destination. “Wonderland” Waiwai read aloud the prints on the balloon, yet again, looking towards the sky and raising his arms as if he was supporting it. “Come, let us go, Waiwai”, said Papa as he handed him over a map of the layout. Quickly grabbing the paper, Waiwai scanned through it while on the move and said, “So many colours, just like that adventure board game!” as his foot gained speed leaving the rest of them behind. Daadu and Ma shared a glancing look, nodded their head, realising that they are in for a ride!
Still focussing on the map, to identify his exact location, Waiwai finally raised his sight at the sound of noises. Noises in the form of screams, shouts, cheers, laughs mixed with other roars that came from everywhere. From the ground, mid-air, the sky, around him and even just behind. Waiwai looked around, turned around towards Ma and screamed, “Yay!” Ma used her finger, to suggest to Waiwai to keep quiet. Waiwai ignored and said, “Papa, you have driven us from the house here, now it is time for me to drive”, and ran towards the little enclosure where cars were seen roaring. Papa gathered a few steps to keep up. Ma and Daadu just trudged.
Standing on the outside, Waiwai waited in anticipation to the noise of the hooter for his chance to arrive, and while doing so murmured, “Vroom, vroom, vroom!” Then when then chance came, he rushed and sat in the first car, Papa took the one beside. In fervour and excitement, and with all his ability Waiwai dodged, dashed and drove the few minutes he held the steering. Within all that always keeping an eye on Daadu and Ma, to see who acknowledged his skill.
“Did you see me drive, Daadu?”, Waiwai asked. “That is not driving, it is just moving a car!”, interrupted Papa. Daadu ran his hand through Waiwai’s hair. Waiwai smirked and raced off to the next. Papa gave chase.
Then the sequence followed. Waiwai rushed towards a play area, saw it from a distance, jeered at what was there to offer as the other experienced it, stood in the queue behind people, and yelled just like the rest at the end of each. Took out the map, ran through the people who flocked in the middle of the path, some who stood by the side and sprinted along with the rest. In this rush, Waiwai encountered many escapades. He walked on snow, climbed up nets, swung himself on the lap of a monkey, boarded a train, watched himself change shapes in a mirror, and even winded the caves. There was no stopping Waiwai today! He was putting up a show by himself and just like his curly hair, his energy levels gurgled.
“You come with me, let us sail!”, Waiwai clutched Ma’s hand and showed her the large ship that swayed from one side to the other. “Come, Ma, come!”, he dragged her. Ma was reluctant, but Daadu took Waiwai’s side to persuade her. Waiwai and Ma settled themselves on one edge of the ship, and as it began to gain pace, Ma left Waiwai’s hand, put it over her face and just sank into them. Waiwai sitting beside raised his arms to feel the breeze and shouted, “On top of the world!” As the ship halted, Waiwai this time, held Ma’s hand and walked her towards Daadu and Papa and exclaimed, “It went so high! Still I kept my eyes open!” His excitement was just not the few seconds of drifting in the sky, but more because he knew braved better than Ma. A little sparkle of heroism flickered in his eyes as he raised his eyebrows. Daadu patted Waiwai, as Ma tried to gain balance.
Waiwai’s eyes now fell on the blue coloured twisting blades swirling in the sky, through which people zipped through into water. “Papa, we went from the ground to the sky, now let us go from sky to water!”, announced Waiwai and set off. As he excitedly ran towards the queue, the guard held his hand in front of his face and said, “Sorry, not allowed!” Waiwai finally paused. His rush came to a sudden halt! As he turned back, looking towards Ma, Daadu and Papa, Waiwai stared at the panorama that laid in front of him.
For the first time, in the last couple of hours, he did not set his eyes on a ride, but the motion that unfolded in front of him. Some rolling upside down, some oscillating from one side to the other, some circling, some racing, some spiralling, some lazing, and within all that were splashes of water, vibrant colours stacked next to each other, an effervescence of emotions pouring out from everywhere and different frequencies striking against each other. Waiwai now wanted to see more!
He ran up to Daadu, put his hand in his pocket, took out his glasses and turned to Papa and said, “Can I go up there?”, pointing his finger towards the vibrant roller coaster. This time he waited for his turn, not in anticipation, but in expectation. He cleaned his glasses, wore them and very carefully seated himself on the first row. As the engine started rolling, Waiwai this time did not look at Ma and Daadu, but to the other side. He held tight, and kept his eyes open. He did not scream, but peered. The higher it went, the more diffused the surrounding became. The more it gained speed, the faster it revealed. The more it twisted, the clearer is became. Waiwai smiled cheekily, as literally, now he obtained a 360-degree view of the place that unfolded upside down.
As the carriage halted, Waiwai sprung up, moved through the crowd and hugged Daadu and said, “This is the best science class!” Daadu reacted, “Science?”, Ma rolled her eyes and said, “At school you don’t feel like studying and now it feels like a class!” Waiwai, dragged Daadu, seated himself on the bench, took out the map and said, “These are just not different colours, it is like a map of the Earth! See it has rides distributed based on land, sky and water! This is just a miniature version of atlas. Do you see?”
“Now, that you show me, I can!”, smiled Daadu, adding to Waiwai’s excitement.
Waiwai, continued, “And within this Earth we can also study about different states of matter. The liquid state - where people play in the pool, the solid state - where we dressed as an Eskimo. Only the last state I could not find!” “But Daadu, it is just not that. I learnt about oscillating in the ship with Ma, friction in the cars with Papa and even went against gravity by myself in that ride. This whole place is like installations of what we learn at school!”
“On science day, we put all our experiments occupying the entire ground. No installation is related to the other; tt is only arranged based on classes. Just like how here some are based on age! Everyone who comes to visit, they just walk in the space that is not occupied by experiments. They see from a distance, come up and try the experiment. If they like it and once it is over, they just make a sound! Just like they exclaim here - ‘Yippee’, ‘Hurray’ or ‘Woo-hoo’... just like how I did, Daadu. Like the science day even here no one waits, everyone just anticipates. All are always in motion!”, exclaimed Waiwai as he paused to breathe.
“And motion has an equal reaction!”, he immediately added with a chuckle, looking towards Ma. Then turned towards Daadu and continued, “So, everyone here is colliding, striking, pushing, running, hitting, passing, avoiding, obstructing and contesting with each other as one moves from one experiment to the other. We are reacting just like little atoms” Exhausted with his own enthusiasm, Waiwai rested his head on Daadu’s arms and softly claimed, “Papa was right, it was not driving!”
As Ma and Papa took their seat beside Waiwai, Daadu further enquired, like a student himself, “Where do you do installations in science class?” To which Waiwai replied promptly, “We do during the science exhibition day! We do it for a day, this place across the entire year!” Waiwai took another peering glance at the ‘exhibition’ in front as Ma and Papa took a peering look at Waiwai.
Hearing his reference, Papa turned his head inquisitively towards Waiwai, as Daadu responded, “Why was he right?” Papa’s inquisitiveness now turned into surprise, as Ma shook her head to the encouragement.
“You remember helping me make a volcano last year during science exhibition? I just learnt to ignite at the bottom, for the lava to pour out”, Waiwai enquired and stated at the same time. Daadu, nodded in confirmation.
“I don’t know how it works. I only knew what happens at the end. Like that I just moved the steering, I did not drive. And like me everyone here is swimming in water, rotating in the sky, jumping in the air, rowing the boat, riding a horse, and even skiing on snow. Everyone here are just completing the experiment that has been exhibited. We just participate to know the result. That is what is exciting here, just like science day for the visitors. Is this what is called thrill, Daadu? To do something in a short time, without knowing how it is done?”
The question brought a laughter out of Daadu, and a little chuckle from both Papa and Ma. “So, are there any other experiments you want to complete?”, asked Ma.
“I was thinking if the school can take us to the zoo, to teach us about animals, why cannot they bring us here to teach us science? I will learn better!”, replied Waiwai mischievously holding onto Daadu’s arm.
Ma passed a stern look and to that Waiwai immediately looked up towards and said, “Daadu, I found the third state of matter. Vapours are coming out of Ma’s ears!”