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If there is an award for love-filled patience, I’d like to give it to the father of the little boy who lives next door. I think they live nextdoor. It could be of course that they are visiting the boy’s grandparents.

Anyway..

That little boy, I am guessing he is either four or thereabouts, is one hell of a talking machine. He chatters non-stop. Probably he is the kind of child who wants to share every single activity he does and/or thought that crosses his mind.

From my room I hear him call ‘Accha!’ (Accha is dad in Malayalam) every few seconds. He follows it up with questions and information. His words are unintelligible to me by the time it travels to the third floor. I don’t get any of what he is saying in his childish voice. What I do get and clearly so, is his strident call to his dad, ‘Accha!’

His dad answers him patiently each time the boy calls. ‘Entha da?Entha is ‘what?’ and da is a an affectionate term used for little ones (or sometimes for adults too as long as they are younger to you). The boy prattles on in answer to his dad. Perhaps he finds his dad’s attention wandering, or it may be just that he wants to bring his attention to something new. ‘Accha!’ I hear him say again, a few minutes, sometimes seconds later.

One evening I must have heard the boy address his dad at least thirty times in a span of a very short time. Every single time his son called, the dad answered, patiently, lovingly. In many homes he’d have been harangued to silence by an impatient parent for disturbing them so consistently and continuously. But not this dad. He took each query from the little one and answered it with the seriousness it deserved.

Later one day, I heard him talk to his grandma and and another day it was his mom replying to his insistent prattle. The love and patience in their voice was unmistakable. He is one lucky child, I mused, feeling happy for him. I remembered with remorse my own impatience with my brood. It’s my wish that all the children in the world be as loved and patiently nurtured as this little boy nextdoor.

©Shail Mohan 2022