Some facts, a little fiction and random facets of life....
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
Life lessons from little people
Sometimes children say and do the darndest things. And help you
learn something new about life and living....
When little man was just over a year old, he ate a cockroach egg. Or at
least, he tried to.
But my husband noticed and hurriedly got it out. Baby probably had a
taste, though. Ugh.
Why did he think he could eat something like that? I realised
children don’t subscribe to our notions of ‘good’, ‘bad’
and utterly yuck--till we actually (like I did), have a mini meltdown
and yell that they absolutely cannot just pick up shiny, brown
objects, just because said objects look interesting!
But then children are so open in their approach to life. So trusting,
for one thing. For a long time, when he was a baby, he would
happily exclaim "Ajja" or ‘Ajji’ (Kannada for
‘grandfather/grandmother') whenever he spotted a white-haired
gentleman or lady. He would hold his arms out with a winsome smile.
The recipients would coo and respond in kind. Till, my husband and I,
with fear in our hearts and thoughts of child abusers on the prowl,
very strictly told him, that no, he must not run after strange
white-haired people; that they can be ‘very very bad’ people too.
Even as we did that, I knew that in our 'adult'ness, we are changing
his view of the world. In our adulthood, unlike him, we’ve lost the
capacity to trust infinitely and innocently.
Little man is growing up now. But he sees something magical where I only
see the mundane. One evening, he and I were walking on a quiet lane
beside our home in Bangalore. Singing nonsense songs and skipping
along, he suddenly bowed and said hello to a vehicle parked outside a
“Why are you doing that,” I said, “...cars don’t talk”, I
proclaimed, secure in my infinite wisdom. “But cars in cartoons
do,” he pointed out.
A little way down that same road, we passed by another home where a
German Shepherd barked stridently at us. “Why is that dog barking,”
little man asked.
“Because he’s a guard dog and he’s actually asking us ‘who
are you', I replied.
Immediately, he went back, stood in front of the dog, and said
loudly: “I’m Ishayu and this is my mom!”
The dog looked rather
taken aback and titled his shaggy head to one side the way dogs do
when they are puzzled. And what did I do? Looked on nonplussed, feeling
my heart melt inside, bursting with the love I feel for this child
who makes me see and experience the world differently.
One morning, just
after he’d woken up, he rubbed his sleepy eyes, and held out his
hand to his father.
“What is that,” asked dad.
“It’s sleepy dust,” said little man.
He’d picked out the grit from the corner of his eyes! Once again,
he showed us how wonderful the ordinary can be.
Ishayu is nearly five now. He is a naughty little chap and often gets
into trouble with me. Yet even if I whack him or rant and rave at his doings, he takes it all in his stride. Then, through
his tears, he holds his hands out to me for comfort, crying “Amma”.
He doesn't hold grudges. And that is when my pettiness makes me feel
miserable and small. Just like that cockroach egg.
One of his most favourite things is to hear stories of what he did as
a baby. He smiles sheepishly then (in a “Did I really do that?!”
fashion). And did I mention that he also loves to watch adults squirm
when we tell them the story of the cockroach egg.
These stories belong to our family treasure house of memories. We
tell them over and over again, to remind ourselves we must embrace
life too; that we can discover a different world, if only we look at
NB: Iwrote this originally for my college magazine (Providence Womens' College in Calicut (Kozhikode), Kerala, is my Alma Mater)