No, this isn’t a picture book title we read recently. But if you are planning on using it as one, go ahead. Make sure you treat me out to breakfast though. Dinosaurs made a grand entry into my life with Jurassic Park; times when I was a teen and adventure soared high in my heart. But a real forest bustling with reptiles and carnivores, coming to life with insects and savage smells was hardly my calling. It all looked crave-worthy only on big screen through the eyes of Steven Spielberg.

Fast forward to the present day. Dinos never crossed paths in the past two decades as I have two girls. But what is a girl without any exceptions? If you haven’t made a guess yet, my little one who was over the moon about unicorns until day before is suddenly all feelers for Dinos. Why, don’t ask, I don’t know. I don’t want to know. Thank God, these creatures don’t live anymore, lest a demand for a pet Dino would be put on a non negotiable.

So, yesterday, after four months of hibernation, we made a historic trip to the mall. And as we hushed into the car, all dressed but masked up, set to launch onto the highway dashing into a dazzling sunset, my seat squeaked. As I moved my butt, my palm chanced upon a little piece of paper that read, ‘Best Mumma’s Seat’. Before I could declare her the best daughter, my eyes happened to notice a huge Dino spreading in the background, sniffing at a potted plant. Oops, I thought. Was that me?

Given my recent fettish for a handful of plants that form my prized possessions; that gave me hope during the lockdown and that are now my dear babies, I could see her sketching a Dino, bending over and sniffing, exactly like me. But to think that I am a Dinosaur was a different story altogether.

Disappointing as it felt, the little monster sold me the idea, it was only a background thanks to her newlyfound love for the extinct creature, not her mother. But I decided to take it with a pinch of salt. Huffing and puffing like a wolf in a shut car, and stress testing the driver to my right, it occured to me, ‘To my 8-year-old, I am the dinosaur in the room, or the car or the balcony; huge, extinct and yet the largest exhibit in any museum. Who cares about the elephant in the room anymore? It is left to die of fruit infested with fire crackers, isn’t it?’

On the brighter side, I decided to file a patent for coining a new phrase, ‘dinosaur in the room’. As I cheered myself for such genius, I wasn’t aware, there was more to come.

In about 20 minutes, we made our grand entry into the mall. Tears welled as all qualms and spiritual realisations shattered. And those wise thoughts about owning truckloads of clothes that didn’t see daylight since the onset of 2020 vanished in a matter of milliseconds. We attacked shops like locusts in India; like this was our last day on Earth and we were to move to Mars the very next hour. It feels seriously shameful to confess that just going to the mall made all of us feel real and back in the world. Small talk with staff and dabbing sanitizer incessantly while checking-in and out of stores felt as thrilling as discovering the moon. After an evening well spent behind our masked faces, it was home sweet home.

As an excited me ripped open the shopping bags and began displaying my most feminine night wear in a teal-baby pink combination, the 12-year-old hit me like a missile.

“The print and colour look like some grandmother’s underwear. Also like the lady wearing the nightgown in Tom and Jerry, the one who keeps chasing Tom!”

This was followed by hysterical laughter that set me ablaze, like a dragon spitting fire. The 8-year-old quickly resorted to repair the situation and cooled the heat of the moment by convincing me she loved my choice. She did score a point there as opposed to the fashionista who brutally ripped me like dismissing me as the most lousy contestant on Project Runway. For once, I had moved out of my comfort zone and picked onion pink over navy blue, only to be called a grandma!

What a roller coaster of a day! Growing up, I wasn’t such a child friendly individual. I never felt the urge to cuddle cute babies or play along with younger neighbours. Now, I know exactly why.

P.S. Feeling like a dinosaur in grandma underpants! That’s like living history and wisdom, all at once; although geography and silly jokes are more my kind of subjects. But life is full of surprises. And nothing can hurt you more than your own growing flesh and blood. Pun totally intended.