<%-- Page Title--%> Slice of Life <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 123 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

September 19, 2003

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Son in Love

Richa Jha

My son, aged two and a half years, is in love. As with adults in love, he can't think beyond his paramour, (ABC) towing the clichéd drill of eat-sleep-breathe 'her' (at least we know he's straight!). You may have heard of people doing crazy things in love, but none as incredible as a toddler waking up bright-eyed upon a certain name being whispered into his ears. That's at 6 in the morning. Five days a week. For an indefatigable tot who hits the bed at midnight, it is a remarkable feat.

His teacher at the new play-school (she is the object of his affection and attention) has done strange things to him, albeit with noble intentions. But in a mother's overworked mind, such sublime intents do not register. At another time and place, in an uncivilised world, we could have exhorted the Supreme Power to intervene in this voodoo web, the jaadoo tona, but not here.

(Readers, you remain cautioned. You may find traces of Bollywood and Star Plus in this paragraph.) My son, who knew no other set of arms that hugged him, or laps that rested him, fingers that cut out shapes for him, a voice that sang along with him, legs that danced with him, or a face that read out to him, has now sold his soul to the D. Pardon me for my obnoxious parallels, but when a mother's heart bleeds, it also spews venom. (End of paragraph.)

The day we took him to his new school (horror of all
horrors, according to my son, it is ABC's ghaur -house in our mother tongue), I expected him to holler. After all, new faces, unfamiliar surroundings, so I went prepared to spend a good three hours there. But something just happened to him as he stepped in. Entranced, he walked straight into her--yes yes, her arms, and that's it. He didn't look back then, he hasn't looked back since! The amused hubby detected that trickle down my cheeks.

To my chagrin, it appeared as if this mother has stopped playing any meaningful 'developmental' role in her child's life. And clearly under ABC's spell, everything that he had 'learnt' in his life time, was now getting so surreptitiously attributed to her! So it is she who's taught him all the nursery rhymes, the colours, the shapes, the good mornings, the politeness, everything. My son, in a little less than a fortnight, sold out, completely? I was inconsolable.
“Oh comm'n. Grow up! ABC is just his teacher. We've all had our fair share of crushes on teachers…and beside, this is just the beginning. …”, The Hubby tried to help the other day.

“What do you mean?”
“Wait till one day he starts walking in with his girlfriends, or the daughter with her boys!”
“Oh, that should be alright. I'll be a liberal mom. Just you wait and see”.
“Seeing you like this, I have my doubts! What happens the day he meets the right girl? Twenty, thirty years from now? His world will revolve around her, don't you think? Who knows, we may become creatures they'll try and avoid like plague, and…?”
“Stop. Such things will not happen with us”.
“Then, for such things not to happen later, you'll have to learn to accept now that your child has stepped into the outside world”, that was The Hubby at his cerebral best. He made sense.
And that is when he dropped the M-word.
“Purely as an exercise, can you now imagine how my mother, or father, would have felt the day I walked in home with you, and announced you to them? You know, out of the blue, they realise that you, not they, are my meaning to live, the reason to rebel ”.
“But that's not true. You are, you still are, very much theirs”, I protested.
“So you see…?”, The Hubby smiled back.

BOOM! Suddenly, all this carefully nurtured illusion about being indispensable to your child's existence lay shattered, yet, it also reinforced my faith in the parent-child bonding. No girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, friend can ever possibly replace the parents, can they?
So too, for the ABCs of the world. That is reason enough for me to smile! All is not lost, then.


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