The other day while talking to some extended family members, one of them said that since I was going to visit the Second Born and be with him for a week, I could cook for him, and for his friends too. You know the maa ke haath ka khana (food made by mother), the taste of home-cooked food that can never be recreated elsewhere and all that blah blah that is hyped so much. Little do people realize it is not motherhood that makes the food a mother makes tasty, it is the fact that she is YOUR mother and YOU have come to associate what she makes with her affection for you. Of course the fact that she has been slogging for years at the same job and is probably an expert at it cannot be discounted.
Anyway, leaving that digression aside and getting back on track, I repeated that conversation, about cooking for him, to the Second Born Son, as we sat gobbling the Maggi noodles he had made for me on the day I landed at his place. He said,
“But you have come to MY place. I should be making something for you!”
If you remember, I had written about a role reversal that had happened when I visited the First Born (link). It was no different this time here at the Second Born’s place. Ping me when you are hungry, I will order something for you for lunch, he says as he walks out of the apartment. And oh, the hot water for your bath is in the bucket in the bathroom. Then again, What do you want for dinner? I will take you to this place which has some awesome food. Next comes weekend plans. What do you want to do during the weekend? I tentatively suggest I’d like to go to the Botanical Gardens, but perhaps he will be bored, I say. That doesn’t matter, he replies, I will take you. But then we couldn’t for a different reason altogether, instead we roamed the craft village, Shilparamam (link), and took quite a few pictures of the place. I even found a couple of birds on the trees there, impressing the son with my ability to tune into their sounds and also spot them high on the branches. Next, there are the hours we spent at the mall. He walked with me in and out of shops as I tried outfit after outfit, not in the least bit ruffled, in fact suggesting that I check one more of the shops that I had missed. Well if you think I marveled at his patience, you’d be right. Never, not once, did he hurry me.
I have people, especially men, remark that there is some age when boys do not want their parents in the vicinity when their friends are around. Frankly speaking, I have not known such a stage. When was that supposed to be? His friends used to be in and out of our house in his student days, and I had always been part of their group and conversations. I have also been dragged off to movies along with them. This time too he took me for a movie and dinner, with his friends.
Oh yes, the sons have their faults, like any other humans. The messy rooms at times look appalling. But they have also learned to tidy things up on their own. My offer to do that is turned down, and unlike the typical Indian mothers, I don’t press the matter or interfere in the way they function. A little untidiness (even lots for that matter) never hurt anyone, is what I feel. And even if it did, my role in all this was over long back. The lessons had been taught and now it is up to them to apply it as they choose fit, in their lives. Another thing is they rarely remember to call. But then I have no complaints, because I call them up whenever I want to. It is the same, isn’t it? Besides, anytime I ping them, they respond immediately, if they possibly can.
When I look back and ruminate, I can think of a lot of things that we have done wrong as parents. And yet, we must surely have done some things right as parents too, to enjoy the concern and care of our children.