Some unanswered questions.

On the last evening of my stay at Vancouver, Leela and I watched a cartoon together. She snuggled up to me as we watched. I was flattered as she prefers to watch cartoons by herself and I suppose it was my going away present! Suddenly she turned to me with all the seriousness of a 4 year old and asked me with an indulgent tone: 'So! what do you want to be when you grow old?'

I was too surprised to answer and bought time by asking her ' What do you think?'. Her first answer was an attempt at a joke. She said 'You could be an elephant man!' She associates Bangkok with the elephants she saw and I suppose the mahuts' had impressed her. Then she became more serious and said ' You can be a good tata (at) baby take care.' (Anyway something to that effect as I was already lost in thought). I take it as a great compliment! Leela is an 'original' and I hope Rohini compiles all 'Leela-isms' together.

Then consider this: Nikhil and I were together in the family room. He was playing a game with his toy cars, typically for a 5 year old. The cars were moving at great speeds and with the sound effects of a engine revving up provided by Nikhil. My body was the race track and we were bonding and were having a great time. I was getting a sentimental that I would be missing all this soon.

Nandini walked in and she spoke to Nikhil softly and with sadness about the mother of his class mate. His friend's ailing mother had passed away and Nandini was trying to find the right words to tell him. She said 'J......'s mother passed away' and realising that he would not understand said 'she died and has gone to heaven'. Nikhil knew that his friend's mother was sick.

Nikhil knows what death is, I remember once he saw an insect which was squashed and was very upset. He is a gentle boy and he loves bugs and handles them very gently. He once asked me to close my eyes and put a slug in my palm. When I pretended to be scared he said, 'don't be scared tata, bugs are very nice and they don't bite you'.

As he heard the news, Nikhil became quiet and I could see he was absorbing the news. As Nandini walked back, I could hear him murmur, 'Died? ....why can't she live and go to heaven?' (Nandini tells me that he has a concept of heaven.)

I am relieved that he did not ask me.

Comments

Rohini said…
"kids say the darndest things"!

Glad you are blogging already. Nikhil's question gave me goose bumps.

Leela's latest comment in her loudest voice when we were going up Grouse Mountain in the cable car "I can see Bombay" . luckily she was not offended by the laughter from the crowd around her.
Gayathri said…
I know - they can be so profound and deep and sensitive, you just wonder where it goes as kids turn into so called "mature adults'!
i love Leela's comment - i wonder if she seen/heard the tennis and golf group discussions - her comment about growing up is so very apt for the whole bunch!!! sorry guys - i just could not resist that little jibe!
Gayathri
Vishalakshi said…
i really wish there was an easy way to bring children to terms with death. But I am really shaken by Nikhil's answer. I think like Anshu he associates death with never ever seeing somebody and not the fact of going to Heaven.
I wish we mothers had around 56 hours in a day to compile our kids -isms and i certainly wish i had a better memory. :) this one from leela made me smile and think about what I want to be when I grow older - very frankly i still don't know. i'm looking for the answer. :)
Narsimha said…
Dear Nidhi, I read with interest your blog on your grand children. These kind of reactions from the grand children are what makes you live longer and enjoy the old age life. As parents we never had time or access to such incidents. We were busy making ends meet and more interested in their schooling. Spend more time with your grand children during this age level. you have nomore opportunities afterwards. I have fully enjoyed myself and what is more the kids have conditioned me to be patient. I hope I have bored you enuff. Hi to Tara and bye, Narasimha

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