Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pioneers at the Breakfast Table

This post was sent to me by Moushumi Chakrabarty a very accomplished journalist, writer, anthologist and a poet based in Ontario, Canada. She is a mother of two girls whose anecdote she shares with us. Its a funny Motherhood moment and all of us with small kids, now we know what is coming.....


Pioneers at the Breakfast Table

It's the gasp that gets your goat. The other day I was yawning down the stairs, yet to indulge in the first sip of Java, when I realized that my two daughters were whispering and snickering. One's a smart-alecky fourteen, the other, at ten, is just beginning to grow those claws.

"What?" I bark, weaving my way through the kitchen floor. Every morning, the coffee percolator seems to be moving further away from my grasping hands.

Another snigger, a snort of suppressed laughter and widely innocent eyes. I ran my hand over the remaining strands of hair. I was reasonably sure no horns were poking out through my scalp. I distinctly recall brushing, flossing and then rinsing out my mouth. Though my memory was not knife-sharp, some things couldn't be overlooked. I looked southwards quickly. Yes, thank God, I did remember to pull up my pj's before coming down to the kitchen.

With a sigh, I plugged in the joy-giving machine and leaned forward with as much enthusiasm as I could muster.

"So, will you two tell me what's the big deal?"

The bubbling of the coffee always made me feel expansive. I could see myself sitting down with these two at the breakfast table and spending quality time with them. I read somewhere it's very important to do so. Otherwise they may, at some later stage in life when you've become famous, suddenly start giving interviews to the tabloids. A brief horrific vision flashed before my eyes: a tabloid screaming with "I was a lonely unloved child" headline.

Enid Blyton's children did it, as did a previous President's daughter. I'm not saying I could be either of the two. But in these decadent days, it's best to be prepared for any eventuality.

"Mom, were Barbies around when you were a child?"
I raised my eyebrows while pouring out the coffee. My favourite mug philosophically accepted another layer of the staining liquid.
I pondered a while, sipping and inhaling at the same time. Then I decided that honesty is the basis of all relationships that matter.
"Er no, not exactly. You see, Barbie dolls are a very recent phenomenon. We used to play with rag dolls…"
A shriek of laughter jolted me badly.
"Rag dolls, oh my God, you poor things!" Ritu, my youngest offspring splutters into her milk and cheerios.
A dim realization crept up on me that it wasn't sympathy she was offering.
"What's so funny about rag dolls?" I ask belligerently.

Sipping the Java gives me a shot that gallops through my sleepy synapses. Curling my lips in disdain, I elaborated, "You people can't even imagine how much fun rag dolls were. For one, you could bend them any way you wanted to. Even if your little brother decided he didn't think arms ought to fall straight, it was ok with the doll. She still smiled and accommodated him. Nowadays, these delicate dolls, one twist and a body part snaps. Pah!"

Mimi, the older one piped in, "We're, like, doing this Pioneer thing at school? It's really cool what you guys played with and stuff."
"Pioneers?" I screamed in horror. "You youngsters have no idea about history timelines. Pioneers were way back, don't you know that?"
My heart was exceeding the pace it raced by during a Richard Gere movie. Something fundamental in me had been touched.
"Aw, cool it, mom! Which year were you born anyway?"
This from the infant whose dirty diapers I willingly changed.
Taking a deep breath, I announced shyly, "It was…1966."
Like I told you, the gasp was the killer.

Bio - Moushumi Chakrabarty is the author of 'Fighting for Women's Rights: The Extraordinary Adventures of Anna Leonowens'. She lives with her family in Ontario, Canada, as well as on


Asha said...

LOL @ Pioneer!!
Don't worry Moushami,I am a fossil too!;D
I know kids say the darned things to us.Enjoy and one day you will miss all these,very soon in your's and my case when they ship out to college!;D
Happy Mother's day to you.

Kodi's Mom said...

if this is what the future holds for me....I can't wait! (gulp!)

Praba said...

What a neat mid-afternoon coffee break kinda treat reading this post! thanks for saving a trip for my one and a half shot non-fat latte! :-)Thanks Moushmi and Sandeepa!

Thank goodness - one of my friends got my daughters some vintage raggedy ann dolls to play with - now they'd know what I am talking about when something likes this comes up! :-)

I want to write about one little rag doll that's an integral part of our lives - will get to it soon - sorry about the suspense factor! :-)

Kay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kay said...

:) Thanks Moushumi! A nice laugh, early in the morning! My daughter is almost 8mo now, your post creeps me out, when I see what lies ahead. :)

indosungod said...

Moushmi I will be in your shoes pretty soon. Nice to know what to expect! Richard Gere eh? Me too!