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Few days back I went to see my maternal grandparents. They live in a small village seventy-five kilometres away from the nearest city. As a child my fondest memories were that of the summer holidays we spent at my grandparents place taking hikes, visiting the vast paddy fields and evenings lying under the blanket of twinkling stars to listen to the stories our grandfather told. This visit was very special for them since my six months old baby was accompanying me and they were going to see their great grandson for the first time. We were welcomed to the rustic house with loads of hugs and teary eyed blessings. We spent the whole day talking. Mostly me giving them the details of my delivery and raising the little one. My grandfather couldn't help notice that I was worried about my baby's delayed milestones. He said, " Have I told you the story of the little boy and the mango sapling ?" A long pause followed by a smile told him that he has my attention. He continued, "There lived a farmer and his family on the outskirts of the village. They had an orchard where he grew mangoes and bananas. One day his five year old son asked him to take him to the orchard. So the farmer agreed. Both father and son spent the day surveying the trees. The little boy asked a lot of questions picked up a few fruits to take home. Seeing his enthusiasm his father offered to give him two saplings. One banana and one mango to plant and grow in their backyard. Now the little boy was very happy. Soon he will grow his own fruits. He wanted to grow the sweetest bananas and mangoes so that one day he can show them to his parents and friends.
The next day onwards the little boy started watering the saplings, airing the earth from time to time and occasional manuring. The saplings thrived under his care and watchful eyes. One year passed. The little boy was growing impatient. Both the plants were growing well but there was no sign of fruit. After the second year, the first fruits appeared on the banana plant. They were of great quality and taste. And from that point onwards the plant bore many more bananas year after year. But even after the third year there were no sign of fruits in the mango tree. The little boy instead of enjoying the fruit of his hard work was more worried about the mango tree not bearing the fruits.
Years passed. Finally after the sixth year, the first fruits appeared. The little boy's happiness saw no bounds. He went running to his father with the news. That night over dinner, the father and son eat the home grown mangoes but something was still bothering the little boy. He finally asked his father, "Dad I think there is something wrong with the Mango saplings. They take a long time to grow and bear fruits." The farmer roared with laughter on the innocent observations of his son. He replied, " Oh but my dear Son this is a mango tree and that is banana. How can they fruit at the same time ? Mango is so different from banana. They look different, the trees are different, their requirements are different, their taste is different. The only thing common between them is the need for care and nourishment. With the right care they grew at their pace and bore desirable fruits. You wasted your time worried about something that is not even there instead of enjoying what is already there."
The story finished here but my grandfather continued, "every child is different because every womb is different, every mother is different, every home is different. It is unfair to compare one child with another. There is only one thing common between every child that they all need love and care, unconditionally. Have faith in your little one and let him be. Childhood is effervescent. Bask in the spectacle of their innocent nuances. They will become what they are meant to be, when they are ready."
After spending four days of uncontaminated bonding of four generations, we finally waved goodbyes. I collected some great memories yet again and unburdened myself from the unnecessary urge to equate my little one with the rhetorically perfect kid in milestone charts.