A gynaecologist and mother of two boys, Tripti feels that she is more of a referee with these two siblings. She reveals many curiosities of growing children these days. Their questions might not seem to be as innocent as that of her generation. But, times are changing. An in-depth view of a young mother with growing children that might shock us of our complacency in this exclusive relationship dynamics in Different Truths.
“Mom, who were your boyfriends?”
I turned surprised. Would that make me more human in his eyes? I contemplated between being bluntly honest to out rightly dishonest. I ended up with a brutally tolerant option.
“Mom!” For some reason he sounded disgusted. “That’s so boring!”
Did he want to write something exciting like ‘How my mother met your father’! What exactly was he up to?
“How did you know you were going to marry dad?”
“Actually I did not.” I admitted candidly.
He didn’t believe that
“Alright, why didn’t Mausi marry Tauji?” He was trying to find it out the other way. Today, he was bent upon unraveling the secret code that led to marriages.
Mausi in question was my elder sister and Tauji my husband’s elder brother. Just like me and my husband they were batch mates in school but for reasons best known to them and of course to the great relief to both sides of the family, cupid didn’t strike them.
“But don’t you think Mausi is lucky. She has such a beautiful house in Indore.”
“She could have a better house in Glasgow.” He mumbled to himself before adding. “But please don’t tell Mausaji this. He will be upset.”
“If you let me finish my work I might not.” I thought he would run away. But I could see he was still not finished.
“Accha Maa, How will I know I have met my future wife?”
I frowned hard. Should I be fanciful and tell him about ringing bells or the music in the air. Nopes, I needed to disperse such ridiculous thoughts in the infancy. I had to be blunt “You can’t.” I knew you are supposed to answer the questions truthfully but the mother of a ten-year-old curious son can be excused once in awhile.
“Because you are not in tenth!” He knew I had met my husband when we were both in tenth. The whole family plus the extended ones by now knew about this.
“So Bhai knows. Is that why he’s on WhatsApp all the time. He locks his phone too. Maa, you know he keeps talking to Mehak all the time. I think we should meet her. But don’t scold her the way you scold us. Her parents will not like that.” I looked at him scornfully but he stared back undeterred. Just the prospect of marriage had made him wiser, judgmental and yeah bold too.
“Why should we meet her? Let them come and talk to me and dad.” That was the wrong thing to say.
“Mom, don’t be so orthodox!”
Life indeed is a full circle. How many times had I said that to my mother! What you give comes back to you. I counted to ten. No point contradicting a ten-year- old who had made up his mind about something.
“Now, who wants to eat chocolate cake!”
I was rewarded by an excited loud kiss on my cheeks. But if I thought I could bribe him I was badly mistaken.
“Mom, did you have a crush on somebody.” Of all the unhealthy things I might have said to my mom, I never thought of ever asking her this. I was blessed with a good dose of curiosity but it never extended to such malignant levels. If only she could hear this!
“Mummy, batao na.”
Some bittersweet memories threatened to rise but I pushed them away.
“Of course not!” Well, not everything needs to be discussed with your progeny.
“Huh, don’t you think that’s weird, mom?”
“May be,” I tried to sound unconcerned. He eyed me silently for some time. I knew his mind was working over time
“Well then, may be someone had that on you?”
“Crush, wrush!” He tried to sound casual, may be to encourage me into spilling the beans
“Why do you want to know?”
“Aise hin.” His voice was tinged with a curiosity. He threw his arms around me and snuggled close. The sweet scent of childhood threatened to engulf me.
Momentarily we both were lost. Me, in a past of probables, he contemplating a future of probables. But the curiosity of a child had to be satisfied. Some names crossed my mind before I brushed them away. Most of my batch mates were now close family friends and we met quite frequently. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to use them?
“Oh well, I had quite a lot of them.” I boasted.
“Awesome, mom!” He came closer. He could sense a scoop. I sounded more acceptable to him and there was a ‘newfound respect’ in his eyes.
“Did you also throw a lot of attitude, like the girls.” he made an awful face.
“Of course, not!”
“Ok, tell me the names.” He sounded almost proud of me.
“Well, Rajive Uncle, Jain Uncle , Ashu Uncle, Kapil Uncle. They were all my boyfriends!”
“Ugh, mom! Don’t tell me the name of our relatives.” He walked out of the room.
I knew I had let him down.
We were never so curious. My elder son who most of the times behaved as if he was the most grown up and sensible person in the house and looked disdainfully at the antics of his younger sibling the other times, asked me sometimes back.
“Mom, are we living in your time or is it now mine?”
Well, I was not going to admit even to my progeny that probably my time was running out.
I resorted to being a little harsh.
“Of course, it’s ours. You are still studying. The day you start earning it will be your time.”
There, it did make him quiet but then would mine end that day? I hated answering that. Honestly, we never had time to question our parents so much! I could sense my mother laughing but I chose to ignore that.
She was not there when my eleven-year old-son looked at my brand new nephew with wonder. This new birth in the family had sent him into a contemplative mood.
“Mom, do you think you still have the capacity to have babies.”
A yes or no, both would destroy me. I flushed red and tried to look away from the broad grin on my amused audience’s face. I happened to be in the close confines of a car, being driven back home by my driver, along with my kids. This one always thought he was meant to be something bigger than a driver and I hated his guts. A few stern words in English, which this driver whom I later fired could not understand stopped some more serious rapid fire questioning of my reproductive abilities.
Thankfully ‘Three Idiots’ happened around the same time and I found them once delivering an overtly pregnant doll on my bed. I was horrified but spared from explaining the nuances of child birth to my kids who felt that their knowledge was now at par with their gynecologist mom.
But he was still an adolescent fumbling with the facts of life and strangely they had a knack of arising at the most inappropriate time and places.
“Mom, I understand that we have your genes, after all you are the one who has given birth to us, but dad! How do we have his genes?”
The absence of sex education in schools loomed large in front of me. I tried to ignore the snorts of laughter coming from the driving seat as I unsuccessfully tried to cover my embarrassment under the Mendel’s law of inheritance but he remained quizzical as ever. Did we ever put our parents in such ’embarrassing but non-compromising’ situations?
Once I found him in a foul mood. He had been scolded by his dad. As I tried to draw him out he burst out crying,”Mumma, you didn’t get a good husband!” I appreciated his concerns but as a kid we were definitely more tactful especially when it came to stating the obvious to our parents.
Mom had a reason to be disapproving of my parenting ways. According to her, I was too impatient with kids. When my three-year- old son, did not understand how to write in Hindi I took him to a special educator. She was aghast.
“Even you didn’t like to write till you were five!”
“So what, I didn’t write letters ulta pulta (topsy-turvy, upside down), like a mirror image.”
“No dear, you would write the whole full sentence, ulta pulta.”
“You should have taken me to a doctor. I could have turned out to be autistic!”
“But no, you turned out to be a doctor” She grinned triumphant. “Learn to have a little patience”
Well, it was difficult to have one. Life was not easy especially with a mobile, a laptop and a now 4G service everywhere.
These kids! The more mobile, computer and TV they watch, the more inquisitive they become. May be our brains had enough fodder, playing ‘The Hang Man’ in the classroom, to Pithu garam in the playground. We played all those now extinct games like Kho Kho, passing the parcel, dog in the bone to the all-time favourite Stapu.
At most these generation Y or Z can play is “Truth and dare”. So truthful are they about this that I guess soon the next generation CBI would incorporate it into their system. Maybe it would even replace the narco-analysis.
I recalled the conversation I had with my son the other day….
He was unusually quiet. I hugged him but he remained as morose as ever. Even Pokemon and minecraft could not pull him out.
“Hey babes, what happened?” I cradled him in my arms.
“Kuch nahi mom, must have fought with his girlfriend.” His ‘know it all’ elder brother added cynically
“Mom, he is always teasing me with Tanisha” He was ready to burst into tears.
“Did I mention Tanisha?” His elder brother grinned unapologetically.
“Why are you always pulling his legs? He is too young for girlfriends.” I scolded him. For that matter even he was young for girl-friends but I withheld that.
“Come on, Mom. He is not a baby. He is in sixth. You don’t know how they are.”
Been there, done that; only he didn’t know that.
“He is such a baby, so sissy!” He looked scornfully at his younger brother cuddled up in his mom’s arms
“I am not girlish!” That brought some reaction from the dejected child lying in my lap. ”You saw that, mom. He keeps calling me gay! Just because I put my arms around him when I am sleeping.”
“What is gay?” I squealed in surprise. I was so careful to avoid the word whenever the kids were around.
“When boys like boys not girls. And you know they even get married to each other.” He took pride in his knowledge.
“And it’s illegal in India, though not in the USA.” He boasted uninterrupted
“How do you know that?”
“You only tell us to read the newspapers.” He looked irritated at me. “Mom, you are getting menopausal.”
“Now what’s menopausal?” I was ready to hit the roof.
He had the grace to look embarrassed. “Actually, the other day you were telling mausi that your head of the department (HoD) is so irritating, forgets everything, keeps snapping at everyone unnecessarily. Mausi said that she must be getting menopausal.”
I fumed but could only say, “You should never eavesdrop.”
“And you call him a baby.” His elder brother suddenly quipped in. “Babes, tell us what happened in school today.”
The two brothers were at loggerheads again. Seriously, one child made you a parent, two a referee!
With difficulty I sent the elder one back to his room. I guess it was about time I met Ponty Chaddha’s mom. I should know how the brothers behaved as kids.
The younger sibling was once again pensive, deep in thoughts.
“What happened darling?” I probed gently, ashamed of my wayward thoughts.
He was encouraged by my display of emotion and started awkwardly. “Actually Mom , some days back we were playing truth and dare in the school bus. My friend Harsh dared me to tell the name of the girl I had a crush on. I didn’t know what to say. They all look so much bigger than me. How can I have a crush on them?”
“Oh, my poor baby!” For a change I was happy for his small frame.
“Then Mini came and told everyone that I had a crush on Tanisha. Mom, you should have seen Tanisha. She got up and went to sit somewhere else. She has been throwing so much attitude since then. She has even blocked me.” He was almost in tears. My heart went out to him.
And that was not all.
“And now Mini is blackmailing me. She makes me do all her tasks. If I refuse she says she will tell mam that I have a crush on Tanisha.”
Just look at the girls these days!
“Why don’t you tell her that you can do your own talking?”
“Mom, I am in sixth, not in tenth like big brother!”
Indeed. Tenth class was a major landmark in our family!
“What kind of girl is this Tanisha?”
“Oh! She is so intelligent. She always gets full marks.” This was totally in contrast to what he usually told me on the day of result. He always maintained that nobody got good marks in the class.
“May be this Mini has a crush on you.” I said that before I could stop myself.
“Yeah, even I think so!” He jumped in sudden excitement
“Look baby, it’s alright to have a crush.”
“Really mom! I thought you wouldn’t understand. It happened in your time also?”
His time or my time? Crush or no crush? Oh dear, we went all over again…
Pix from Net.