The other day, I read meril’s post on kids. And I have been thinking about it. I have always loved children. I just couldn’t comprehend her point of view about the whole issue. I mean, how can someone possibly hate kids? They do become difficult-to-manage at times. But that doesn’t mean they are all little devils. They do all kinds of mischief, try to break up everything they can put their hands on; throw up tantrums, etc, etc.
But that is exactly why they are called ‘children’. It is all part of growing up, learning new things. We were all like that once. You... Me... everyone. You can get them to do what you want or stop them from doing what you don’t. It’s simple. It is called ‘diversionary tactics’.
And the world’s best diversion is food. Ever seen kids eating cream biscuits? It’s funny. They first split it open. Lick the cream out. Just the cream. Hmm... And stick it back. :) Probably won’t eat the rest. Every single child does that. Invariably.
Oh man! I’m deviating from the topic too much. Started writing this to share with you guys something that took place a few years back, when my cousin brother was one or two years old.
He was in one of his real bad moods that day. Crying, crying and crying. He extended his arms out to me and I took him up. There must be some way to distract him. I tried all his toys, took him out, sang him a song and fiiiiiiiiiiinally the sobs subsided. We were standing in front of the mirror. It was his favourite game to play hide-n-seek. He would screw his eyes tight, hide his face on my shoulder and then suddenly look up and burst out laughing as if he had fooled the other baby in the mirror. We played the game for sometime. I guess he became tired after a while. He simply stared at my reflection in the mirror and then turned to look at me. Then, slowly, he put his right thumb in his mouth, wrapped the other hand around my shoulder and as if he were terribly, terribly weary, rested his head on my neck.
Every motion ceased around me. I could even feel the breeze on my face and the warmth of his breath on my neck. He was sooo small. So tiny and fragile. It was total surrender. No, not surrender. Trust…complete trust. I felt a sudden surge of love and affection for him. I had no wish but to make him happy.
The qualities of a child...the innocence, the curiosity, the ability to find pleasure in new discoveries, the determination to try until he succeeds, the spontaneity... (Called ‘kuttitham’ in Malayalam. Is there an exact English word for that? )… it’s not the same for all children. Some kids are more childlike than others. And if you could put all those qualities of all the children of all the world together, then it would be him. He was my baby. My own. I would stop at nothing to protect him. I wonder whether a man would ever feel that way.
I had never quite understood what Marquez meant when he said:
‘—one does not love one’s children because they are one’s children, but because of the friendship formed while raising them.’
I think, I do now.