TODAY -

Changing nature: my perspective

Sophia Khumukcham *

Scenes from film - Imagi Ibungo
A Father-daughter scene from digital film - Imagi Ibungo



(Before, I go ahead with my write-up, I would like to declare that this is not an academic paper therefore certain terms used may be just for convenience. Ignorance is regretted.)

I have always heard, been told and learnt that with age, human beings assimilate aggressiveness, irritability, anxiety and such similar traits into their personalities. This' apart from other "misfortunes" that old age brings for you. So, in a way, I always seem to carry a big baggage of fear within me- about getting old.

I happened to be home just a few weeks back and this time, I had spent considerable amount of time with my family, unlike my other trips back home, which are decided impulsively and for few days. Over the years, I have not been able to spend some good quality time with my parents. So, I decided this time, let me be with them in the house where I grew up, where every corner brings back good memories. So cancelled all the picnics, trips, etc that I had planned out there.

Undoubtedly, my parents have extra grey hairs and wrinkled lines than the last time I saw them. Lovely, they look after forty years of togetherness. One big change that I happened to notice was they readily gave permission to my nieces to play Yaosang!!! It's news to me for we never knew what Yaosang was in our childhood days except on the first day when we go for our nakadeng.

That's the only Yaosang we knew. My nieces were allowed to be on the balcony throwing waters at the passer-bys, their friends coming and putting colours on them. Wow, this is just not my parents!!! I don't know whether it was my jealousy or my curiosity to ask my parents- why this discrimination?

We sat down on our favourite staircase leading to our verandah, a place that houses many good moments and discussions of our big family for tea and yaosang papad (as we call them). I began, "So Baba, what do these kids have that they deserve to experience Yaosang unlike us?"

Baba raised his eyebrows and gave me this ironical smile which he does when he doesn't like something and I detest it so much. "Because they are my children's children." He further emphasised that children should be given that open environment, to let them experience, to help them make decisions, in fact to let them grow without any inhibitions.

"Excuse me, Baba but we were also children. We were never given such an opportunity.". "You were born in a different era, so was I, so was your Idhou. If we refused to change with time, we deprived ourselves of a good future, of a good life. For example, we were never allowed to go for movies but I allowed you all. Your older siblings never attended college outside Manipur, you younger ones did. Isn't discrimination?"

I kept quiet and continued listening to my changed father. To this, my older niece got my Baba's medicine as it was time for it and told him that she didn't score well in her Mathematics test. Baba just patted her, a non-verbal way of saying that it's fine. I can feel the bonding of understanding there, a bonding of trust. She then sat down to massage Baba's feet and listened to our conversation.

Baba continued, "I want my grandchildren to have judgement of their own, a perspective towards life, not a forced one but something that they have developed themselves. This can be possible if they are allowed to breathe." I argued that it is also possible that we let them breathe what we want them to "breathe".

"Possible. But remember you are dealing with brains that are born in this technology era. They will eventually come to know as there are other sources available to them. Didn't you try getting those photo books when I banned them at home?" I became all red. He was referring to my Photo romance!!! He knew it!!!

He told me there is never a rule to raise a child, never a standard formula to bring up your children. Why? Because we are all unique, have our own unique ways. My niece then reminded Baba that he has to go for a neighbour's wedding ceremony. She brought out the chandon box, put the neatly pressed pumyat-pheijom on the chair and went ahead to get more tea for Baba. Baba got up to get ready saying this is not the end of the discussion.

Well, with guilt feeling I confessed to myself that I never did all these for my Baba. Discrimination for Baba by his daughter? I never had such a relationship with my parents like the one I just witnessed at that particular moment.

Satisfied and proud I was, of what my father and niece taught me over that brief moment, a chapter of life and I pondered upon that old age definitely is not something I should be scared of. It's something I should look forward for it will make me greyer with wisdom ;)


* Sophia Khumukcham is a regular contributor to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at sophia(dot)khumukcham(at)gmail(dot)com>
This article was posted on April 01, 2012.



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