Momentary Return To Innocence
twenty-four hours, my three year old son suddenly rediscovered
his childhood. The age of innocence found a place again in
our humble abode (and in his scheme of things), if only as
a temporary arrangement with this brat who lives to defy the
innocence ascribed to his age. That my child is precocious,
I had made a passing mention sometime back. That most children
around his age are both precocious and clever is not news
to any of us adults, but that the parents find it difficult
to come to terms with it is often overlooked. We've all heard
tales from shocked parents about their children teaching them
a thing or two about the ways of the world.
about his return to innocence? After several months of indulging
in his latest passion of immersing himself in the veritable
cacophony that Bollywood dishes out, my son (after a huge
hiatus) returned to the innocent delights of nursery rhymes!
Or he certainly did so yesterday. If only the change was for
just one day, but I was ecstatic. These are rhymes I personally
recorded for him, or collected from various sources and strung
them together, and he has grown up on those. Or was growing
up quite fine until his ears picked up the most jarring of
notes from Hindi movies and something within him stirred.
Our days have never been the same again.
says that's the peril of introducing children to anything
too early on in life: at the age of five months, our son would
soak himself enthusiastically in these hundreds of nursery
songs on tape or the ones I sang and read out to him. It was
but natural that, tired of these juvenile strains, he looked
beyond to stretch his wings and get a taste of the real world
at three- what better way to vault headlong into this rebellion
than to do something as un-puritanical as enjoying music meant
he saw Shahrukh uncle do his histrionics atop a moving train,
his soul went out to him. Since then, anything that this God
lips-syncs, moves him. A few months later, he saw Hritik uncle's
jellyfish like movements in some other movie, and since then
this other song has become his anthem. Over these past few
days he has picked up a few more of the latest, including
the appalling Kaanta Lagaa (but I am glad that unlike his
father, it is the song and not the video that turns him on!),
which he keeps humming merrily all the time.
me is his clandestine sources; where could he possibly be
picking them all from? His mother doesn't watch TV; his father
watches his news channels and that is about all I know; my
domestic aid couldn't be least bothered about watching anything
remotely Hindi. The only window I can think of is the father
and son sneaking in a few moments of fun with the multitude
of spicy music channels floating on air; nothing else would
explain the glint in their eyes when they emerge together
from the TV room- the news around us these days is certainly
not recipe enough for mirth!
the same, the one positive fallout of this is his nearly having
given up watching any TV (which even otherwise was minimal)
because he cannot bear to have his music system switched off
even for a moment. We criminal parents have to literally tear
him away from the booming speakers every morning for school.
Bedtime is another potential negotiation-ground where both
parties try and strike a balance with the switching off time.
The deal is usually in favour of the older (but not necessarily
cleverer, more cunning) party, but mostly in lieu of a hundred
other promises taken and secured then and there- strike your
parents when they are dropping dead!
is irksome about a child listening to music? At least, he
is not vegetating before a cartoon channel. True. But what
do you do when he has tasted the intoxication of the 'repeat'
function on the remote (the same remote that the mother still
finds intimidating is now this little one's most trusted companion)?
Five different songs playing one after the other can be tolerated;
the same song being played ad nauseum is, well, just that:
a nauseating, head splitting, sanity shaking experience with
no respite in sight (respite to the auditory senses would
have been more appropriate here, just that mine have long
since become paralysed and absolutely numb to anything that
remotely sounds like music).
his day-long sojourn to those infantile pleasures of nursery
rhymes in the above context, place my temporary return to
sanity in the same context, and see if the two link up. My
mind is incapable of putting two and two together: Shahrukh
uncle is back this morning with thousand bangs, and the bang
is happening about a foot away from my ears. And my head.
lining, as must be there in the darkest of murders our children
commit (isn't looking for that ray of hope the only way out
of any parent-child deadlock?), is that somewhere in the middle
of all this, he is learning a bagful of tricks that will stand
him in good stead all his life. The most obvious is that he's
developing a keen ear for music; but also, when he thrashes
his toys against the floor in perfect synchronisation with
the music in the backdrop, I know he's learning his sense
of beat and balance; when I see him unfazed by the repetition
(over and above the repetitiveness and tuneless nature) of
the songs, I hope he is picking up skills to tackle the unending
nagging-to-death blah blahs of his future spouse; when he
trades his music time with three extra books to be read out
(over and above the four routine ones) in bed, you know he
will be a skilful negotiator on his job interview table! His
future looks all right. Amen.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004