Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Non Quantifiable Acts of kindness (or whatever)

In the movie Little Zizou, the little boy's technology geek older brother finally confronts his debauched father and calls him @#$%^&" humbug".

The father tell him how ungrateful the boy is and that he had taken care of the boy when he was ill (silence), brought him up (silence), kept him the house (silence) and even gave him a scooter to ride. At the last one, the technology geek older brother breaks into a wicked toothy smile as he dramatically takes out the scooter keys from his front pocket and shoves them in his father's shirt pocket saying something to the effect " so take it back now".

The boys pack stuff, pick up mom's b/w photograph and leave the house banging the door shut on the humbug dad. Feels good ! Retribution for that X@#$CV of a father.

I could not get over that bit for a long time after the scene was over. My brain was in a churn and I was thinking how it is a familiar feeling to return stuff to offending party ( OP) in any relationship - wedding rings, house, love notes, photographs, gifts of love, money..and that kind of squares up the equation. Its like, " here you wanted to be nice, romantic, loving, caring, condescending, kind to me, but now you can take it all back. I am rejecting your favours". But in case the OP has not just 'GIVEN' but instead 'DONE' stuff for you - Noun Vs Verb kind of thing :) the climate changes.

For example : 1) I took care of you 2) I stood by you 3) I was there when you needed me 4) I brought you up 5) I stayed awake the nights when you had Colic 6 ) I paid for your education 7) I tolerated your bad behaviour 8 ) I listened to you - ad infinitum. In such situations there is no way one can say, "hey I am going to do the same to you just now and square up".

These 'non quantifiable' acts of kindness can often be used like weapons in relationships. I pondered more over the next fist of popcorn and realised how I do it, most often telling my poor husband how I have "stood by him" through bad times. I've noticed how that shuts up any conversation. Thats like hitting the stumps since I presume he gets eternally burdened by that statement. I would too. I am sure if there was any measurable device of 'standing by' someone, he would just do it and square up on this for once.

It also set me thinking that I have with much effort in fact, stayed clear from being too often at the receiving end of '"I have DONE this for you" situations ! With of course the obvious exception of my parents. No one ever wanted to do favours for me, luckily so.

My Dad payed a capitation fee for my brother to study engineering & Bro later refused to make a living of it. He is regularly at the receiving end of a regular dose of " I paid for your education", "I took care of you", "I brought you up". " I am still bringing you up" etc.

While I do not at all feel sorry for him it reminds me of another scene where the buxom Parsi mom asks the preposterous kid, "How would you like it if you did not have a mother ?". Preposterous kid says, "I'd like it". LOL !

Friday, March 13, 2009

Juicy Grapes so yummy !

Today was Rayyan's School Fancy Dress show. In retrospect, I rue how soon I give up on Rayyan by presuming he will not measure up. I try so much harder with Ruhi. I am constantly surprised by him these days, which is a new feeling and I so like it ! 

For his fancy dress I dug my brains for the simplest costume that I thought he could carry off and created a 2 line limerick about 'juicy grapes'. He enthusiastically mugged and practiced his lines to call. Maybe I should have given him a longer poem since the other kids spoke so much more and it helped !

He is shit scared of balloons from the day one went bust bang on his face. Yet he bravely made peace with them on his D day. I tried to do a dress rehearsal for several days before Fancy dress but he did not let the balloons anywhere close to him. I was half certain he would refuse to put the balloons on his shirt. But he quietly stood at the back of my jeep outside his school, to let me tape them to his shirt.  He also patiently let the double sided tape sit on his head holding a tiny leaf patch. 

He looked very bright and cheerful till I left him at the steps from where he had to walk alone to the centre of the small stage. He walked up slowly and timidly looking very scared. The balloon on his right shoe fell off and I thought he was about to run back. I quickly moved up from the audience to sit at his feet holding his tiny cold hand. He was absolutely silent for a few seconds as the teacher urged him to speak on the mike. His eyes were locked into mine in a bewildered gaze and it seemed he had lost his voice.

I whispered hard to him "say good morning friends...". He paused some more and swallowed spit. I thought he was going to give up. But then he looked straight at the audience and said his lines loud and clear right down to the sprightly 'thank you'.

He did not win a prize and for once I did not mind it. Its taken baby steps to get here and this in itself is my biggest prize !