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We had guests at dinner the other night and as usual my little daughter was more than keen on giving her mum a hand. So while I was rolling out chappatis and roasting them on the iron plate, she would stand right there beside me, with a plate in her hand so that nobody else could take chappatis to the guests at the dinner table but her. All melted with this sweet gesture of hers, I don’t forget to plant a kiss on her forehead every time I bend to place the chappati on her plate. Obviously, this little act of service invoked words of praises for the little one from the guests on the dining table too. But for some reason, during her journey from the kitchen to the dining table in the living room, she stopped twice at a spot and returned back while holding the chappati laden plate carefully in her tiny hands. Instead of taking the easy and the direct route, she decided to circle the entire table before serving her beloved chappati to the guests. After a few trips, from the kitchen to hall and back, in the same pattern, my husband and mom-in-law instructed her to shorten her trips and showed her the direct way. “This way, this way, come from over here”, “No, not from there, from here”, everyone began instructing her which in turn dampened her spirits. I decided to take a peek outside and hence again with a kiss on her forehead placed a chappati on her plate and followed her. Well, there was a tiny pool of spilt water on the way she had abandoned previously and hence from the fear of getting slipped she had decided to take a wiser route.
After I had enlightened the dinners about the reason of her delayed service, everyone cracked up laughing, hugged the little one and apologized to her. One of the guests even called out at me and said, “Your daughter took the way less travelled, she is one wise girl.” Wise she was, since that little pool of spilt water was not a matter of concern for others and hence it went out of their notice but because my daughter knew of her shortcomings she did not blindly follow others and decided to take a way best suited for her.
But that little incident was in more ways than one, a preview of what the coming years had in store. It made me question myself, will I always support her decisions- even the ones that would be unconventional in nature? Will I encourage and not bog her down in her growing years to think differently? Will I bother to peek behind the decisions she takes and weigh the reasons in fair light? Most of all, will I even allow her to make her own decisions? Well, that, as a parent- I would always be concerned about her till I breathe my last- is by no means an overstatement. But not allowing her the right of taking decisions or discouraging her if she wants to do things in an unconventional manner does not make me a wise parent either. What if I have a Math class on mind and she wants to chill out at home and sincerely learn some music on internet? What if her class mates are all busy with that science exhibition and she decides to opt out of it all together in favor of learning German? Phew! Those are definitely ‘different’ choices. In the coming years, she might come up to me, all armed with ideal explanation of her ‘off-beat’ plans, looking at me with those eyes filled with hope that plead out, “Please support me, mom.” Will I back her?...
Well, yeah, hell yeah! I would go all out there not only support her but be a part of her endeavor in her learning process- thereby learning a few precious lessons myself. After all, there’s nothing in the world that could bring an easy, effortless smile on my face than simply watching my daughter happy!
And if that could take for me to shun conventional, rationale thinking- then be it so. For I am sure by making her own decisions- however, unconventional- I will allow her some precious moments of self discovery and personal happiness. And that is where the true essence of unfettered childhood lies. True meaning of Khuljaaye bachpan, ain’t it!