March 05, 2009

One for the 'Ages'

I sat across the table with my husband at a restaurant that we decided to stop by after months to have Mumbai Style Chaat. My little son, Samvit, was perched upon an old restaurant-style high chair next to me. We enjoyed the spicy snack while the lady at the neighboring table kept watching Samvit's antics as he made weird noises and kept himself busy with the tissue papers and ketchup packets. I could sense a question coming my way.

The lady asked - "How old is he?"

"Fourteen months". Fourteen months? Woah. Where did I pick that up from? I could have simply rounded it off as One year. Why did two months count? I realized Id picked up this way of saying my child's age from friends and other people who project their childrens' age in months.

I remember meeting a mother of a little girl at party and when I asked her age, the lady sighed and said, "Oh she is twenty two months.. such a brat already!". It took me a moment to decipher that. I realised she could have easily told me her daughter would turn two shortly.

How the months slowly fade away, I really don't know. At one time a child is thirty six months and the next thing you know he is four years old. And then before you know it he is in his teens. And before he knows it, its the late-twenties. And before his kids know it, its already mid-forties. And when its time to retire, phew, sixty plus!! No, Im not going to venture describing anythign beyond that. I dont think I'll make it anywhere close to my fifties anyway....!!

Let us

I still vividly remember my History teacher way back from seventh grade... Short, fair, neatly worn hair and a voice that made heads turn. Like most teachers, she had a favourite statement.... "Don't assume things I did not mention... Assume almost implies making an ass of you and me!Ass.U.Me. Get it?" At that moment it seemed funny and really nothing but just another remark from a teacher who was furious at her students.

But today as I look back and think about it, it makes way much more sense than I thought. And now, as it seems to emerge from my mind, it comes generously coated with all the ambiguity life has to offer. All that is certain, enveloped with all that is uncertain and intangible.

It may sound puzzling at first to know the way life leads us through its rather monotonous ways but yet gets us to milestones that we seek. And on the way, we encounter so much, that makes what we can call "life". One very nice quote I remember at this point is, "Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans". So true. You assume so many things and make plans but life takes you in an entirely different direction.

The reason this thought came to me was due to a simple incident that occurred not too long ago. On just another unusual day, we woke up, did all that we had to do and the day went by. We were invited for dinner at my aunt's place in Bangalore since we were to travel back to the US and had just two days left. We had a great time there. Then when we got home, just as you too may have assumed we slept. I too assumed that I will sleep. But the next thing I know I had the worst abdominal pains and was taken to the hospital and admitted there. And before I could gain back my strength I had IV/drips flowing down into my body. And the way the events turned it made us wonder if we could travel at all.

How comfortably we had assumed that nothing could go wrong! We all do this so many times. In fact, almost all the time with our near and dear ones. We assume that nothing can happen. But when it does, it takes us by shock and surprise. We assume that we can comfortably live in our own orbits and assume that nothing can happen to us. A neighbour happens to be a part of a car crash, we assume it could never be us. A stranger misses his flight - oh, that could never be us. A building burns down in the next town - that can not happen to us, ever. Terror strikes a country - oh, not us, NO Way!! We forget to count our blessings, forget to give credit to everyone in our lives, and forget to thank God what is in our hands. We assume, its all normal and cant change. We assume way too many things for our own good. We assume!!