Monday, 11 February 2013

A Get-Well Package for Me



Poetic and practical is the get-well package that Apple has brought me. Only we adults can think of just a clich├ęd get-well card. Apple is more original. 

What I get is a complete get-well package aimed at my burnt-beyond-recognition finger. The package takes care of many emotional as well as mundane aspects of being un-well. 

As I look at the red card that dangles on a red ribbon, read the reassurance on it, and admire the painted bouquet of pink and mauve flowers where a heart is precariously perched on a petal, Apple asks me to rummage inside the envelope. 

I grope inside and scoop out the first item, a scale.

I feel excited. It is like treasure hunt and I want to know what I will find next, so fumble for more and this time take out another exciting object: a ball point.

I can now not only practice drawing straight lines-something which I could never learn- but can also rediscover the joy of writing with the good old ball point. And this means I can now live in the real world and log off the virtual world. 

Oh the joys of email and facebook sabbaticals!

My treasure hunt hasn’t finished yet. I hunt again and take out a flower. It’s a plastic flower and Apple tells me she has plucked it off her hair band.

"If you want to make a card for someone you can stick this flower on the card to make it extra special." Apple gives me a lesson in creativity.

Thus while I start dwelling in the real world, instead of a few hurried emails I can also concentrate on making some special cards for the people in my life.

I look for more and find out a drawing that to me looks like a map of some long forgotten treasure island. Maybe if I concentrate hard enough and decipher all the symbols, I will finally discover the coveted island that has remained elusive so far.

There are two more nuggets of gold in this treasure trove- Apple’s photograph and her letter.  

“I put in the picture so you can look at it when I go back.  It is an old picture and I am not looking very pretty in it, but it will keep you company,” she tells me as I look at her picture.

And there is a letter.

The contents of the get-well package show not only Apple’s thoughtfulness and creativity but also her foresightedness.  

It’s a cold day but I feel all cozy inside. And my finger feels so pampered. 

Thank you, Apple…love you loads.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Gender Specific


Mobby has a way of getting up in the morning and making pronouncements about the things that had been bothering him the night before.

And on one particular morning he wakes up and immediately gets into a sitting position.  Something apparently weighs heavy on his 3-year-old-mind. 

Without even rubbing his eyes, he declares: “I don’t want any baby sister, give me a few more brothers.”

Amma is worried. She thinks ‘Is Mobby making a prediction of sorts?” After all, there are no imminent signs of any baby.

Baba knows that his younger son always has a well-thought-out logic behind every pronouncement. So he probes with “Why not a baby girl?”

Mobby, it seems, has reached the important conclusion after much deliberation. Throughout the night, he probably has been weighing the pros and cons of having a baby sister. 

His well-considered response is based on empirical findings:  “Because amma is a girl and she is in the kitchen all the time. She doesn’t even play cricket. I want brothers because they will play with me and not work in the kitchen like amma.”    

Mobby is quickly imbibing some of the culturally accepted traditional gender roles; six year old Omar, however, has made a few more observations.

One day Omar asks me, “Have you seen those two cats…the black and the white one?”  I know Omar is talking about the two stray cats that prowl our house from time to time and love to bask on my car roof.

“Yes, they are cute.”

“Cute! That’s not the point. You know what…they are husband and wife,” Omar informs me.

Omar is at the stage where he has figured out one thing: according to the standard norms and conventions, at a certain stage in life human beings start falling under the category of husbands or wives. And he is now applying this principle to all other species.

“How do you know? And who is the wife?” I ask.

“The white one is the wife, and the black one is her husband.”

“I see. How did you figure this out?”

The white one doesn’t do anything; she is always just sitting on your car.  But she is pretty.”

“So?”

“So wives don’t do anything because they don’t go to any office, but they go to beauty parlors and look pretty. Just like amma, you know. While husbands go to office and wear black coats. The other cat is active and he is black as if he is wearing his office coat.”

While Mobby thinks his mother is too busy and working all the time, Omar has graduated to the stage where he considers unpaid house-work as no work at all.  

My feeble attempts at gender sensitization remain just that--feeble.