The hilarity of Xena's randomness often has me in splits.
Some of my Indian neighbours were planning to get the kids to enact the story of Ramayana at our Diwali party. It was a fab idea as it would get all the kids together, doing something fun and learning a little bit about their culture and heritage. So casting was in full progress and they wanted every kid to be in. I asked Xena what she'd like to be. She refused every single part. I even offered her the part of one of the monkeys in Rama's army, considering her experience and expertise in playing that part on a daily basis, but she said no.
"What do you want to be then?"
"Hmm... Mama, I can be a snail. Is there a snail?"
"Err... there is no snail. There are monkeys and bears though."
"No, I want to be a snail."
"There is no snail."
"Then I don't want to be anything."
"Do you want to just watch the play?"
The director of the play, who is very fond of Xena, was surprised not to see her name in the cast. So she called me up. I told her the whole story. I'm not sure she believed me, because the next time we met her (at a birthday party), she went directly to Xena.
"Do you want to be in the play, Xena?"
I got a 'look' from said neighbour, but I motioned her to carry on the conversation. Xena, incidentally, was running around, holding approximately 25 birthday balloons (I kid you not).
"What do you want to be?"
"I want to be a balloon seller. Is there a balloon seller in the play?"
I burst out laughing, and then put on my best "I told you so" look for my neighbour. She looked distraught. I told her it was okay. If Xena wanted to be in the audience, that was totally fine. Besides, I thought it would be better if instead of being coerced, she could watch the play and then decide if she would like to do something like that in the future.
So rehearsals started, and there was a call for volunteers to sing the mangal gaan when Rama was born, and some other songs as well. One of the ladies asked me if I was going to volunteer since I liked to sing. Me and mangal gaan?? I burst out laughing in my head.
I think Xena's randomness had rubbed off on me. I almost felt like asking, "Can I sing an item number instead? Do you have an item number?"
And I kid you not, this actually played in my head. Instantly.
"My name is Sita
Ayodhya ki rani
I'm too pativrata for you
Main tere haath na aani!"
So that was that. Xena and I were happy spectators of an adorable little play. They even had an 18-month-old play the deer that Rama ran after. The poor baby was totally clueless, of course, which made it all the more cute and hilarious!
On the way back home, Xena said to me, "Mama, can I be in the play next year?"
"Sure, you can. What do you want to be?"
"Can I be a kitten? Is there a kitten?"
"Erm no, you saw the play. There was no kitten. "
"A bunny? Or a slug?"
All right, it looks like we will have to do our own home production next year -- a spoof version of the Ramayana, full of kittens and snails and bunnies and slugs and item numbers.
And oh, Ravana will come to kidnap Sita, disguised as a balloon-seller.