With my children my reputation is of one who can be depended upon to tell truth and nothing but the truth. Of course it can be the same with others too, but then they should first be able to recognize truth when they see it.
There was never any subterfuge when dealing with them, only facts presented in an age appropriate manner. This meant they trusted me absolutely and took my word above everyone else’s, even the L & M’s. That’s because the L & M was wont to tell them made up stories to make them laugh. The children, would turn to me for verification, and I on my part would answer their queries with silence, trying hard not to laugh and give the game away. In case they insisted, I told them they were being teased by their Dad. Even though it was all in jest, and I enjoyed the L & M’s jokes, I just could not bring myself to fool the kids in any way.
And yet, there is that one aberration of many years ago, an exception to the rule as it were.
The Second Born was around three and a half or four years of age at the time. We were in residence at the Sevoke Road cantonment area. Officers went to Gangtok off and on as part of duty. When they returned they brought back the special chocolates available there. L & M too had brought some for the sons. I put them in a container which was stowed sway in a cupboard in the kitchen. Only a few were kept in a tin on the dining table.
One day the Second Born came into the kitchen where I was making lunch and asked for chocolates as there were none on the dining table. I don’t know what came over me just then, whatever it was, I found myself telling him, with a straight face too, that if he closed his eyes and prayed, God would drop him a few chocolates from the sky above.
He swallowed my tale without a second thought, and immediately closed his eyes and joined his palms together in prayer. In the meantime I quickly opened the cupboard, took out a few chocolates in their wrapper and dropped it on him from above.
A huge smile was plastered on his face when he found the chocolates on the floor. Did I stop with that one time of fooling him? Nope. The whole thing seemed so funny to me that I did it again, for the next couple of days. The L & m and the First Born were told the details and all of us agreed it was absolutely hilarious and rather cute too.
Then came a day when we were all watching television when the Second Born wanted a chocolate. I’ll pray, he said, getting off the chair and standing in the regulation posture for chocolate to drop from above.
I was in a fix. The chocolates were in the kitchen. I was in no position to ‘play God’ as the kitchen was the room furthest from the TV room. So I told him,
No. no. No chocolates now.
Umm… No.. not here.
Umm.. God won’t like, you know, drop chocolates in this room.
Why won’t he?
You have to go to the kitchen and stand at the usual spot. That’s the only place it works.
Off he went, down the corridor towards the kitchen. I was dying to laugh, but ran after him as fast as I could. I almost didn’t make it in time too. Due to what seemed a longer waiting period, he became impatient and opened his eyes before I could shut the cupboard door.
The innocent child that he was, he didn’t seem to suspect a thing! But, I had had enough of it. So I confessed to him that I had been playing a joke on him the last few days. It wasn’t God, but Amma dropping those chocolates on him. By that time the First Born too had joined us in the kitchen, grinning from ear to ear.
The Second Born though seemed unfazed by the revelation. In fact he looked positively upbeat about being fooled. He gave the widest smile and said,
“Ohhhhhh! I thought it couldn’t be God dropping chocolates from the sky! There is no hole in the roof for them to fall through!”
All hail logic and reasoning! Nothing like it.
Now look closely at the picture above. Doesn’t it look like the Mamma Myna has pulled a fast one on Baby Myna? “Open your mouth wide, and look up and a worm will fall into your mouth from above.”
©Shail Mohan 2015