I was at home, for a week’s stay. One fine day, a family friend paid a visit along with her 4-year old son. After mutual greetings, the lady and my parents started their conversation. Bank-related. I understood none. So, I shifted my attention to the kid who was clearly showing signs of being uncomfortable. That fear of being in a new place, in the middle of new faces, could be seen in his big eyes! I wanted to engage and make him feel better. In such a situation, what else could be better than indulging in a friendly-talk? I asked him traditional questions (with one word answer), “What’s your name, parents’ names”. I didn’t want to bother the poor kid much. So, stopped with a few. He didn’t answer. All he did was to stare at me and his mom! Again and again. As if I was some alien.

When elders were done with talking, I asked his mom,”Aunt, en paesa maatengran? [Why isn’t he talking freely?]”.

She said,”rombha chamathu paiyan! veli manushaa kitta paesa vendam nu sollirkom. Adhan, pesa bayapadraan.” [He is a good boy. we have told him not to talk to third persons. That’s why he is reluctant] She continued boasting about him and his ability to recite ABCD…Z, numerous rhymes in English and Tamil, maths-tables. [I couldn’t stop thinking that only countries’ name, capital, political leaders were left out. For good!] Also, she was proud to say that he always wanted to see cartoon channels, rhymes CDs and would eat and sleep only if they were on TV. Very interested in studies!

The truth: he was never allowed to go out and play, to have real fun. Over protective!

Then, she said, “Kanna, Aunty ku oru rhyme sollu paapom!” [Dear, recite a rhyme for Aunt]

( I was like, Aunt?! me?! No! )

He didn’t.

She repeated. So did he.

Then, She said, “illa na, ABCD sollu…” [if not, tell ABCD..] He stared at her. If allowed, he might have dodged out as fast as possible.

I said, “it’s ok. Leave him”. She said, ” no no. He knows. He will do. Wait”.

She wasn’t ready to give up. Next, “amma sollikudutha step podu” [Show them the step that I taught you] (She stretched her hands and shook her head, as hint)

No reaction at all. I felt sorry for the kid.

I have seen more such mothers who take pride in their kid(s)’s memory power, force children to show a demo in front of their friends (strangers, for kids), unmindful of the feelings of the little ones. Absolutely unfair! Only the wearer of the shoe knows where it pricks! Sooner or later, they should understand or at least make an attempt to understand their mistake and stop insisting children to do things against their wish.

Back to the lady….She was persistent. I thought she wouldn’t stop unless he did something. As if he read my mind, he did, finally. Gave out a loud cry!

That was the end of all the tortures he was put into! That was the moment I decided not to do the same for my child.

Never.

PS: She tried to calm him down by giving chocolates, said good bye to all of us and left.

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