Then I notice some handwriting on the long bar of the see-saw. I look more closely and there are long paragraphs of stuff about a word that rhymes with "pushy".
I'm glad the daughter can't read yet.
Large traffic department sign above the road to Calangute has the now-familiar adage "Safety on Road is Safe Tea at Home". It also says:
Night Soil Tanker xxxx
On the island of Divar in the Mandovi River, we have stopped in the village square. More to the point, I'm waiting out in the blast-like sun while wife and son are chatting with a friend in her (no doubt much cooler) house. The bus-stop immediately in front of me is marked "Fetorim", and just as I notice that idly, a bus pulls up with "Gigi" where you might expect its destination.
An old man gets up from the stop and scurries to the front entrance of the bus. He is bent nearly double. He smiles as he clambers on board. Is he happy to be going to Gigi?
Margao has what looks like a new cricket field, just outside the massive stadium that's used for international matches. The road we are on skirts the field, where there's a match going on. Men in whites, a bowler sprinting in, crack of a well-hit shot, the batsmen sprinting along to take the score to 49/0.
And in this corner of the field -- and only after a closer look do we realize it's actually a separate, marked-off area -- there's, of all things, a baseball match in progress. Men with one ungainly glove on one hand, pitcher winds up, batter takes an almighty swing but misses the ball completely, the only thing missing is the usual animated umpire behind the catcher, signalling "Strike!" with a flourish. All the players are in yellow and purple uniforms. Batter the same, oddly enough.
Some hours later, with the evening shadows starting to saunter across the two fields, we pass this way again. The cricket match is still in progress. The same white uniforms, some looking a little browner by now. The baseball match is still in progress too. The same yellow and purple uniforms.
Only ... I rub my eyes. This time, it is women inside those yellow and purple uniforms.
The PM is here one day, to inaugurate the Goa campus of BITS Pilani. Now I have faint memories of BITS Pilani, of course, from having spent five years there getting a degree. So I think I'd like to go take a look at this new campus.
Though note that it isn't really "new" -- it has been around for two years, has 1200 students and is getting ready to admit its third batch of young hopefuls. What the PM does, therefore, is merely a formality.
Still, I'd like to take a look. Two days after the inauguration, we show up at the gate to the campus. The security guards will not let us in. "Where have you come from?" they ask, "who do you want to see?" I mean, this is an educational institution, are folks not allowed to simply wander in to look around?
Look, I say, I graduated from the parent institution some years ago, I know nobody here, I just want to see this place.
"Do you have an identity card?" one guard asks.
I offer him my driver's license. He brushes it aside. "An identity card from Pilani," he says, leaving me open-mouthed.
I graduated from there 25 years ago, I say. You seriously expect me to carry my student ID around wherever I go, even if I had graduated last year?
"Wait," he says, "I'll call someone."
That someone actually repeats the conversation, down to asking me if I have the identity card. Perhaps nonplussed by my spluttering, he says he'll call back. Ten minutes later -- who has he called to check what, in that time? -- he does so, and directs the guards to let us in.
We're laughing at the whole thing by now, and it is a spectacular campus. Stunning views of the river, lots of green, nicely designed buildings, friendly students.
But it has to be said: give me Pilani, every time. Last time I checked, people could still simply saunter in.