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Feb 6, 2012

Swap The Parents…


Every generation comes with its own frame of reference that is often interpreted as radically improper to the one before it. Defiance is an old tool that changes hands every generation and I am sure the script would be no different when you grow up…


Dear Riddhie,

Looking back at the incident which I am going to narrate now, I would be surprised if you do not grow up to be as brash and rebellious as I had once been. But let me tell you something, swimming against the current slows you down, it also tires you and most often you find yourself being dragged against your will. However, what is important, is to know where you want to be when you get out of the water. Anyway I shall save the lecture for another time and begin narrating the first chapter of your new found free-will with this letter of mine.

It was the Sunday of January 22, 2012 when we stepped out of the house to do our weekly grocery shopping and run a few errands. Your mother dressed you up prim and proper and ensured you were warm enough and well fed. Our destination wasn't really far from the house and before you knew it we arrived at the mall. Like always, you were generally excited with all the lights and glitz and people around and kept throwing smiles at unsuspecting people and we kept hearing random 'awwwwwws' every now and then.

Your mom wanted to check out some clothes and accessories outlet and seeing you all at ease, we decided to take our chances and stepped inside that relatively crowded place. The first 20 minutes went by fantastic - you kept smiling and spent time looking at the display of colors and fabric around and kept to yourself. Your mom in the meantime found a few things she liked and kept trying stuff on as I sat with you outside the try rooms.

However, as time passed, you began running out of patience. You started with low whining and within minutes were crying at the top of your voice. First you wanted to be released from the stroller and just as I did that, you wanted to be out of the store at top speed. The next couple of minutes we spent playing the game of getting you back into the store. I kept running after you to pick you up just as you would step out of the store and carry you back inside and you kept slithering out of my arms to rush outside just as eagerly.

4-3 This would have worked fine for some more time if your mom hadn't decided to wrap up her shopping and call me in to check the final selection and of course to pay for the things, which meant that you had to be confined back to your stroller and this certainly did not go too well with you. I am sure everyone in the store had a story to tell when they got a dose of your full vigor, all volume, speaker blasting shrill screams for letting you out of the stroller straps. With no other option to save us further embarrassment, we conceded to your behavior and let you free again. It was a matter of seconds that you made it clear that you did not like it inside and were all ready to run outside again. I am sure by the time we paid up and picked up our bags and stepped out everyone else inside was already praying for us to leave.

The moment we were out, you wanted to take a walk on your own. You shrugged my hand away, pushed your mother's fingers aside and started walking ahead of us, half crying, half irritated, stomping your feet, throwing your arms around and showing us your anger in all possible ways you could express.

Not only this sudden swing in your mood took us by surprise, we were equally shocked to see you wanting to follow your own instinct. However, we were in for a bigger surprise a little later in the day. On our way back I had to make a quick stop at a store to check some travel luggage and having experienced your displeasure on being put in the stroller we decided to just carry you in our arms. As we entered the store and put you down, you decided to run away again.

Your mom asked me to go ahead while she kept an eye over you but you had other ideas. Across the aisle where we stood there stood another couple checking out wares in a show window. You left your mom's hand and walked up to this other couple and started tugging at the trousers of the guy there. Needless to mention that these people were startled as well, but one look at you and they decided to play along a bit. The guy held your hand and you possibly gave her the best of your smiles and then to our sheer shock turned around and waved at us and started saying 'Ta-Ta, Ta-Ta' (your synonym for a bye).

This entire scene perhaps lasted about two minutes. You were unwilling to come back to us and eagerly wanted to go away with your chosen set of new parents. As your mom stepped by to pick you up (Yeah, though tempted, we still did not let you go) you started crying at the top of your voice again. To a bystander, we would have appeared as two 'bachchaa chors' attempting to steal someone else's child.

We did not waste any more time after that and packed you up in the car and drove home immediately. That night as you fell asleep by my side, I kept playing the events of the day gone by in my head and wondered at what would have led you to behave the way you did. I guess more than the shock it was also heart breaking that one of these days you would actually walk ahead, do a 'Ta-Ta-Ta' and move out and then your mom or I won't be able to run after you to pick you up and bring you back.

Well, until that happens...(sigh)...I would savor all I can and enjoy every moment and every new trick that you pick up including all such days where you decide to test our parenting skills.

Love,
Dad.

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