A mother in her lifetime is asked more questions than a teacher or a doctor. I am not saying this; a research says so. (By the way, do you really need a research to believe this!?)
Questions vary from ‘where are my socks?’ to ‘what is the weight of the sky?’
Moms of the 1970s and 80s or even till the recent 90s had the privilege of tossing away each question with two simple answers: God and Ogre were the reason for everything. For example:
‘Where do babies come from?’ – God.
‘Why is the sky blue?’ – God.
‘Why do people die?’ – God.
For the rest of the questions where God could not fit in to take the blame, Ogre would come to the rescue.
‘Why can’t I play out at night?’ – Ogre.
“I don’t want to eat veggies” a child would whimper. A little mimicry and a few scary sounds to announce the impending arrival of the Ogre, and the grody yet healthful chunk would be quaffed down the food pipe of the picky little soul. The famous Sholay movie testified this and put it on record what mums of the 70s-90s did to kids. If the child would not sleep in Ramgarh, the mum would say “So ja beta nahi to Gabbar aa jayega” (Sleep or gabbar (the Indian ogre species) would come).
Times have changed now. Web 2.0 has brought the world beneath the fingertips and so the burden of the blessing is right there on the shoulder of every mum. We are obliged to answer correctly. If we know it then instantly, and if we don’t know then park it in some corner of the mind, search it online and then come back to answer it. There is high probability that by the time you come back with the answer, a new question would be waiting for you. You may feel tempted to shift everything on God and Ogre but then this guilt of careless parenting or the fear of being judged or onus of misguiding the curious Einstein would make you shrink under your shirt.
It’s easier to answer questions like ‘Why doesn’t the sky fall on us?’ or ‘Why is the moon walking with me?’ (“Because the moon loves you.” You said this too? Ha Ha! We are members of Lazy Mum Club).
What is really challenging is to answer questions like, ‘Why did that guy cross the road on a red light?’ or ‘Why does Pia have a black dog?” or ‘Why did aunty forget to wear clothes?’ …ahem… No idea. Not even Google can tell you why Christine came out in her underwear today.
You may be giving them the best of the answers by thoroughly dressing up your answer to fit into their comprehension, but they would stump you with how they processed it in their mind. My daughter was watching a Disney movie in which the protagonist was an orphan. My daughter asked me. “What is an orphan?”
I replied, “Someone whose mum-pa have gone to God.”
“Why do they go to God?” she asked me with dispirited curiosity.
“Because God calls them.” I tried to be as soft as I could.
“Will you go too?” she was really sad. Her eyes looked at me with hope.
The bug of being right stung me at the wrong moment, which I regret till date. I said, “Yes my dear I will go too but I will only go when you will be of my age.”
While she was processing it in her head, I was gloating over the confidence and ease with which I got away.
She asked me innocently, “When is Nani (my mother) going to God?”
I missed a heartbeat. “What!!?”
How she interpreted it is – since I am already my age, God has good enough reason to call my Mum! Unadulterated innocence, fearless inquisitiveness, I say . Once in a month she asks me this, “When is God calling Nani?” I feel so miserable.
“A child’s mind cannot be re-engineered so soon” – this is said by none but poor me…
Categories: Life Lessons