ife and times with the younger son

The younger son and I have a very affectionate yet exasperating relationship. He is a boy with a mind of his own. He can be very loving and caring and yet can show an extremely mean and stubborn side in a jiffy. It all depends upon the rapport you share with him and of course his mood. He is also very matter of fact and never afraid to speak his mind. Wonder where he gets this trait from! 😉

So he accompanies me for every small chore outside the house. He can talk incessantly about cars and since he is way more knowledgable than me about cars, I have picked up a lot of details from him. 🙂 He also watches a lot of movies and shows that I watch and we end up discussing a lot of topics including food, cooking, animals, children and what have you.

The other day the younger son and I watched the movie Highway together. I didn’t like the movie so much the first time that I saw it but the second time around I enjoyed it more. There were portions in the movie that are difficult for a child to decipher. And it was interesting to see him deconstruct the contexts. It is sometimes so intriguing to see things from a child’s perspective His horror that the person who kidnapped her was the one she ended up liking or things like how could she drink water off the handpump made me delve into my own childhood memories when no one drank bottled or even filtered water. He listened with awe as I launched into my own tales. We also talked about inappropriate touch, poverty and many other social issues , the intricacies of which he cannot fathom much just now. He also curiously launched into many questions starting with Aapke zamane mein (in your times) to know about those weird days when there was no cable, smartphone, internet! These conversations are so much fun and so enriching.

The other day, as he was having his evening snack which he makes himself and chatting with me, he told me about this beautiful story that he read in school. He told me he loved the tale. You can imagine my delight when he told me the outline of the tale and I realized it was Idgah, one of my favorite stories written by Munshi Premchand. I remember feeling the same angst and mix of emotions when I had first read that story perhaps at his age. Such is the magic of storytelling, it transcends generations. I was energized to know that he would love to read more of Premchand’s stories. Elated actually! Then he mentioned how he was struggling with a question where he had to write what he would do if he were in that poor boy’s place in the story. My younger son was baffled because he did not know the challenges of the poor boy or his grandmother and their needs and hence could not put himself in the boy’s shoes. And I can see why he felt that. My own middle class roots have seen a time when buying new clothes, gifts or vacations were events. We had to save for them. Not any more! Now, we make our children spend sensibly or be thrifty to give them good financial habits not really out of deprivation at home. Hence though he empathizes, he can’t actually really know the struggles.

He was also mentioning to me that the teachers check the tiffin each day to ensure that children do not bring any junk food in their tiffin boxes. As is wont to happen, a child or two ends up having chips or something similar and then the teacher reprimands them saying that the child has a lazy mother. I was horrified to hear that comment. I explained how it was unfair to blame the mother (it could be the father, househelp or a grandparent handling the tiffin duties). The mother could be sick or out of time on that day and he agreed. See how quickly women label other women and then inculcate the seeds of their thinking in young minds. As it is most chapters that we read in their books paint a certain picture of the mother hardly keeping up with the changing societal roles of mothers. It is another story that my son mentioned that every single child says that it is their mothers who are incharge of the dabbas in their homes. So the responsibilities haven’t really changed now, have they?

Many questions for me as well after these conversations. But children, they really enrich you every step of the way. Share your experiences.

Pic courtesy: Shutterstock

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31 Thoughts on “Life and Times with the Younger Son

  1. Ah! A refreshing insight about the lovely chemistry that you and G enjoy, Rachna.
    I’m in a bit of a shock about the teacher’s reprimand though – if it’s because they’re lazy, then yes. But there may be plenty of genuine reasons, right? I don’t understand why people are so quick to jump to conclusions.

    As I’ve always said, S and G are in good hands 🙂
    Sid recently posted…AbductedMy Profile

    • Thanks, Sid. Yes, it was quite shocking to me as well. Just one of the things we do without thinking and don’t realize how terrible it is. All the judgments we heap on kids. I even told my son that you people should tell ma’am (gently) that it is wrong to say that. But I guess it is too much to expect a child to openly say that to his teacher.
      Rachna recently posted…Life and Times with the Younger SonMy Profile

  2. Lata Sunil on June 27, 2016 at 11:28 am said:

    Same is with my younger son who spends lot of time with me. He is my travel partner, shopping partner, walking partner and he is good company. I am just worried that he may soon grow up to be a teenager and I will miss our times. But, hold on to the precious times.

    • Yep, they are such good company. The elder son is too but he is much busier now with his studies, projects and multiple other stuff. The younger one slips right in and is my companion in so many pursuits. Oh yes, just about 4 years to go and he will be a teen as well. Sigh!
      Rachna recently posted…Life and Times with the Younger SonMy Profile

  3. This is such an endearing post. Conversations with the children are fun. They are growing up in such different times that our childhood lifestyle is almost alien to them. It is only by talking to them that we can give them some idea of where we are coming from, why we think/act the way we do. That is of course, if and when they think about it. But talking is the best ever way to bond. I love to watch films with them, specially the ones that have been my favourites. I remember watching Chak De – by the end of the film they were both up on the sofa jumping up and down cheering India (Of course I was watching SRK!!).
    Obsessivemom recently posted…When Chalk and Cheese decide to mixMy Profile

    • Thanks, Tulika! Yes, you said it perfectly. It is difficult to ‘experience’ something that you have no idea about. Like you pointed out, sometimes I feel like an alien with my older sensibilities and environmental compass. The merging point is that we talk to each other. I am open to hearing what they say and they to me. Oh yes, Chak De, such a delightful movie. It is delightful when they enjoy something we had enjoyed. Like Sholay and Mr. India, they loved it so much.
      Rachna recently posted…Life and Times with the Younger SonMy Profile

  4. These little talks with the little ones are so enlightening. My little one has similar traits and I love her for being who she is and not afraid to express what she feels. -I watched Highway, NH10 and Mardaani (the censored versions that was broadcast on television) with them and there were so many questions. I am thankful for those movies because they help inform them in a meaningful manner about the many threatening experiences that many children have to go through. And you’re absolutely right about how they can empathize but still not exactly understand what poverty means or why it happened in a certain manner in ‘hamare zamane mein’. Loved to know more about your little one. May he be blessed with enough of everything.
    Rekha recently posted…Evening Prayers and Childhood MemoriesMy Profile

    • Thanks, Rekha. I love reading about children too including your updates. How much we learn from each other and our children. You are so right. Sometimes, movies let us explore topics and thoughts that we perhaps otherwise won’t. Children are like little sponges observing, absorbing and just taking it all in. Thanks for your warm wishes.
      Rachna recently posted…Life and Times with the Younger SonMy Profile

  5. This is so adorable to read and reminds me a lot of me and Gy, as you can tell 🙂 She is a constant barrage of questions. Man, I get tired on some days!

    I have that constant ‘aapke zamane mein’ convo too with her 😉 It’s as if we lived in the stone ages if you hear them speak. A bit appalled at the teacher calling the mother lazy! I’ve had to do something similar when unwell or when I woke up late thanks to a late night. Labels are so easy to slap on and so tough to remove. Wish people would remember that. As long as we keep talking to our children and help them understand their roots and the values we teach them, they’ll do just fine. They may not have complete empathy with people who have lesser but they will learn compassion, which is very important.

    As always a lovely read 🙂
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Must vs Want: The to-do conundrum #MicroBlogMondaysMy Profile

    • I can tell. 🙂 I know. I do too. Or worse switch off and then have them question you or rib you. Ah yes, exactly, I get that same feeling that I belong to the dinosaur era. It’s quite funny actually. I know about the teacher — such a stupid and downright demeaning thing to say. If I were the mother, I would have something to say to her. You are right. We need to keep talking to them. And I am sure that they will be self assured and will know right from wrong.

      True again about that compassion bit. I saw that in the younger son when he related the tale to me. I can’t tell you how happy I felt. How I have wanted them to read and enjoy something in Hindi. This was just so perfect for me. 🙂

      Thanks for your lovely comment as always, Shy.
      Rachna recently posted…Life and Times with the Younger SonMy Profile

  6. 🙂 A nice walk down memory lane for me…with the added bonus of that lane extending right into the future, via the present. It is fascinating to see the reaction of another generation to the previous one – simply because of the many changes we live with and take for granted.

    That dabba tale would happen in Vidur’s school and yes, horrifying that the teacher judges publicly. How humiliating for the child. I experienced their wrath when I sent him a sandwich on a Saturday.

    Hugs to you and your sons, may you always share this bond!
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Inspiring Quotes and life advice from cartoon charactersMy Profile

    • Oh yes, Vids. Fascinating is the word! I totally agree. How humiliated the child must have felt. It is so wrong for the teacher to talk in that manner attaching labels to the mother. Thanks dear. Hugs back! That is the best wish possible.

  7. Anita on June 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm said:

    An interesting conversation which gives a glimpse of your wonderful parenting :). If he wants to read ‘Premchand’, WOW! My daughter enjoyed most of ‘premchand’ tales during her junior school days (mostly read as bedtime stories by me), although, she couldn’t relate to the struggles and poverty. As usual, enjoyed reading the post (twice over 🙂 )

  8. Such a lovely post. Enjoyed reading it. Its a special bond with your younger one. you obviously care more as he/she is younger but can not show it openly as you think it may make the elder one feel less cared.
    Sapana recently posted…Is Ghodiyu or Indian Hammock Safe for Your Baby?My Profile

    • Thanks, Sapana. Interesting but not true. Almost everyone feels that the elder one is my favorite. I think l share a unique relationship with each one.

  9. Lovely to read about your chemistry, Rachna.. I’m actually not surprised at the teacher’s remarks. The society, most of it, actually thinks this way..and it’s sad that these seeds are subconsciously being planted in the minds of our future generations..ofcourse, have parents like you helps but not everyone takes the time out to indulge in a conversation with children like you or some parents might do. Well, I hope I have a good chemistry with M when she grows up..
    Nabanita recently posted…#ViewFromMyWindow – Women At WorkMy Profile

  10. Nice to have such an agreeable child. And a lover of Premchand too…I can imagine your elation ? The ‘aapke zamaane mein’ tales never end, I still occasionally have those convos with mom, and it’s lovely to listen. 🙂
    Dashy recently posted…To Magic, with loveMy Profile

  11. I miss those days when my kids used to accompany me on my errands 🙁 Now the elder one is working and the younger one is studying abroad. It gets lonely at times, but such is life, enjoy your kids company while you can 🙂 Sweet post.

  12. Children are the best of friends and your post reflects it so well Rachna!

  13. Aapke zamaame wala comment was cute and Idgah? I love Premchand’s writing. I have read Mansavosar and all that as a little girl. You are right that children these days have unique perspectives. They are smart and well -versed that we were during our times 🙂
    Parul Thakur recently posted…Gratitude List – June 2016My Profile

  14. This is such a sweet post. Love the relationship you share with your lil one. It’s true, conversations with kids are so insightful and it’s always interesting to know about things from their perspective.

  15. S is just entering this phase where he loves having conversations with me and he keeps asking me what did you do when you were 4 years old. He is mostly shocked that we didn’t even have TV and played the whole day.

    You know I love reading these posts you write about the boys. They are both so wonderful, which is no surprise because they do have an awesome Mom. Lots of love to all of you.

    As for the teachers comments, I am not surprised. You know I have written so many times about this phenomena of a women dragging another down. There can be so many reasons for a choice a person makes, yet most of the times the worst one is assumed and judgements are passed.
    Jaibala Rao recently posted…2016: IntermissionMy Profile

  16. Great post! I could relate to it at so many levels. Idgah is one of my favourite stories too and I love Munshi Premchand’s writing. I can’t wait for my daughter to grow up and read his works.
    I agree that our children may find it hard to understand what real struggles with money can be. I remember once telling my daughter that we should not waste food as there are so many people who do not have enough food to eat. It was very difficult for her to imagine that there may be children out there who do not get food. She had so many questions and was almost grief-stricken at the thought.

    Some teachers can be very insensitive and many of their actions affect children without them even realising it. I guess the gender bias as you say gets instilled unwittingly. Only yesterday, my daughter drew a picture of Ganesha eating laddoos and then she went on to make Mrs. Ganesha eating and also cooking laddoos. I was not happy and asked why can’t Ganesha cook his own laddoos and pat comes the reply, “But Ganesha makes chicken and biryani!!”, much like what happens in my kitchen. 😛
    Priya recently posted…Poha & date kheer & 3 poha recipes for babies, toddlers, kidsMy Profile

    • I am now looking for more simple stories of Munshi Premchand for him to read. I can imagine how your daughter felt. It is good that they have nothing they really need but at the same time, it is so difficult for them to know how most of the world lives. That anecdote about Ganesha was quite funny. 🙂

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