” How do I look?”
As my elder girl turns to the younger one, for her much respected opinion, I remember my own childhood.
” Try another watch- golden colored,” says the young fashionista, assessing her sister’s ensemble, with narrowed brows.
” Aww..are you sure?”
” Yes. It coordinates better with your dress,” comes the firm reply.
The strange way in which the power balance changes in a moment!
In all other circumstances, the elder one rules, whether it is answering the query on Umbridge’s middle name ( Oh, chechy, are you sure it is Jane? Of course! Go check- Dolores Jane Umbridge and I read it years before, huh!) or clarifying a map location (Mumbai is not in the middle of Karnataka, you goose!) or even picking up the ice cream flavour (chocolate, chocolate and it is chocolate.)
I watch with a hardly disguised glee, as the elder one, becomes putty in two dexterous little hands .
” Your nail polish is red, and the dress is green and red. What about the red footwear?”
The Devil wears a little frock in my house! She will definitely graduate to Prada in a few years too.
My elder girl looks at me helplessly.
” Practice your speech now. The footwear can wait,” I say, officiously.
” Respected Secretary General and Fellow Delegates from across the world..” she begins, and then stops as suddenly.
” Mom, are you sure I should not change my footwear?”
My little girl giggles. Ah! The power of suggestion!
” You are a Ukranian diplomat elaborating on the country’s economic crisis. No one will look at your shoes, dear,” I scowl at the betrayer-in-arms snuggling close to me,looking as if butter would not melt in her mouth.
” The debt pile ..,” I prompt.
” She should wear red,” declares Ms. Anne Wintour in the making. She flicks a dust speck off her frock.
The diplomat changes her shoes.
” And now,” she declares her policy openly, ” I will violate the ceasefire agreement, if you open your mouth till I finish my piece!”
Peace reigns in my house.
My little girl falls asleep as various solutions are presented to the honorable members of the UN.
The diplomat leaves with a grin.
” Ma, when she wakes up, tell her I think she has great fashion sense!”
And that is how, I reflect somberly, global problems are solved within the family. Acceptance and tolerance of differences and strengths, indeed.