Vijay's always had this thing about Papad not being the brightest bulb on the planet. Earlier, he used to piss me off by suggesting that Pickle was the one who was least like the two of us and had perhaps been switched in the nursery after birth. But of late, he's come to the conclusion that it's Papad who we will need to save for.
'Poot Sapoot Toh Kya Dhan Sanchey?
Poot Kapoot Toh Kya Dhan Sanchey?'
After this dramatic announcement from him, I asked him what the heck he was blabbering about. 'What Kaput, Shaput, Man?'
'It means.' He said in a superior manner. 'If your child is good, what's the need to accumulate wealth for him, he is capable. And if he is bad, why would you want to accumulate wealth for him? He doesn't deserve it.' He then looked over at Papad who was playing innocently with a set of toothpicks trying to make them stand up on the carpet. 'But...what if your child is a buddhu?' He announced fondly. 'We'll leave you some money, Papad.'
Papad smiled at him and I glared. Not funny to label your child like this.
I know Vijay's only kidding about this stuff, but Papad doesn't really help the cause at times.
'What words start with Q,' he wonders out loud while doing his homework. And then. 'I know! CUCUMBER.'
Actually a most natural mistake, if you think about it but I don't miss Vijay's head-shaking and quiet murmur 'Don't worry, we'll leave behind the money.'
Or when we were preparing the kid for Show and Tell last week.
'So, this is a pot that is used for planting...tell the class why it has holes in the bottom? You remember, right? So that the extra water can come out. Right? So....why does it have holes in the bottom?'
'So that the mud can come out.'
'No, we just discussed this...so that?...the...?'
'The air can come out.'
'NO! I mean, no, beta...so that the...?'
'The hole can come out.'
'NO!' I all but clutch my hair.
'What was the queschun?'
I've run out of time and bundle him out of the house to catch the bus with the others. Vijay takes another sedate sip of tea and looks satisfied.
But there are times when the little boy comes up with fairly profound insights. I think all kids do, and he's no different. He is sensitive especially to my feelings; he watches my expressions a lot and responds intelligently many times. We share a special bond, me and that skinny little kid and I think he's going to do just fine. He was cuddling with me last week and then a thought struck him.
'Mom. What is more important. I or my Family?'
'Am I important or is Family important?'
'Well...' I struggled. 'What do you think?'
'I think' He pursed his lip. 'That I is more important. Then is Family.'
'Um-hmmm.' I had to admit. 'I think I also feel that way. But what do you think about how your Dad would feel?'
Vijay walked out of Papaji's room. Papaji is a Parkinson's patient and in a condition now where he needs twenty four care and even though we have an attendant, Vijay is up several times a night to help him to the bathroom, and so on.
Papad gazed at him 'I think Daddy thinks Family is THIS important.' He raised his hand above his head. 'And that he is THIS much.' He dropped it down almost to his knees.
'What?' Vijay frowned. I explained the queschun and the answer.
'So Papad.' Vijay said. 'You think family is less important? But if there was no family - there would be no you, right?'
Papad thought about it for a bit. 'Yes, but if there is no ME, then how can I have any family?'
Vijay didn't really have a rejoinder. And I figured I really did agree with the logic that young Papad spouted. You have to take care of yourself first. Your own oxygen mask on before helping someone with theirs. I've often tried to tell Vijay that this is how it has to be - the self-sacrificing can only take you so far in life.
I gaze triumphantly at Vijay. Papad runs off and my husband stares after him for a bit. I figure he must be duly impressed with the child's reasoning and philosophy.
'Hmmm.' He mutters. 'At least he's good at sports. Maybe he'll be okay through Sports Quota.'