Little Women

Picture 208

“So,” I ask, with a typical amma tone, preponderant pepper mixed with affectionate salt, “what do you want for your birthday?”

My little girl, wiser than her years, looks up seriously at me. That look is so knowing that  I get that odd feeling yet again-that a very dominating great grandmother from my maternal clan has reincarnated right into my home.

“Chocolates?” I ask nervously.

“That is usual,” she responds. Then she flicks an imaginary bit of dust from her dress.

This one ruled for eighty years, I surmise, narrowing my eyes.

“Barbie?” I try again, feeling as if Mable teacher was sitting on the cot. Only difference being that Mable teacher sat on a chair behind a very heavy table, and I had been six at that time.

My seven  year old sips her milk.

“I have many of those,” she is perfect in her coolness.

I break into a sweat. No one does that to me, no one, never- except this little soul- perfect in her making.

I reflect on all life lessons learnt-

What did the sacred books say?

That Children choose their parents.They are part of God’s design to teach you what you still have to learn.

I look at my wise little teacher with respectful eyes .

She takes pity on her mother.

“Amma, you give me a bath today, ok?”

I am stunned, tears sting behind my eyelids.

As I hug her, I whisper, “Has it been such a long time?”

Of course, later, we also shop for chocolates, Barbies and a tent made of pink plastic.

*********

“I hit it against the coat hanger,” she says.

Amma looks askance at the angry red bruise on her arms.

“Walked into it with eyes closed, I presume?”

My Dr.Livingston looks at me with great patience.

“I wear spects, ma,” she condescends with all her teenage authority.

By the time my brain crows, sarcasm, sarcasm, she disappears behind a book.

“What do you want to say?” I try my amma skills.

She pretends not to hear.

“What are you trying-not to say?” I try my Scorpio sense.

She answers.

“That I hate it when you take me for a kid,” a murmur arises from within the pages.

I grin happily. I have much, much experience of that particular salvo.

I  had trained with my mother for this boxing experience. Man, was she a tough teacher!

I go silent. It is a very tough thing for me actually.

“Mom, you are plotting something,” she answers, quick on her uptake.She is my mother’s granddaughter, after all.

I laugh. She laughs.

After five minutes, we agree that she gets to attend the inter-school camp. Provided that my young adult promised not lose her spects and  not to walk into coat hangers there.

“That is truly the best birthday gift,” she says, smiling. “That you trust me enough to let me go.”

What did the sacred books say?

That children….

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