(This is a true narrative shared with me by the boy’s aunt who heard it directly as she was sitting behind the nearby wall with the boy’s mother.)
This story relates to a six-year-old boy whose name I do not know. He was admitted in a school in a Kerala town less than a year ago. One morning he is dressed up in his smart school uniform. His heavy satchel is on his back. As he is about to go out of the house he hears his 6-month old infant brother crying loudly. The boy turns around, goes to the baby’s bed and bends over him. He is curious. Why is this baby crying? On touching the baby’s clothes he finds him dry. He sees nothing wrong and begins to talk to his little brother.
‘Brother, what is wrong? Why are you crying? You are neither dirty nor wet. You might have tummy ache, but not likely. I do not see the reason for your crying so loudly.” The baby only wanted attention. So he smiles sweetly to indicate that he is happy to see his brother.
“Listen to me little brother. You can ‘poo’ in your pants and pee in your pajamas. Nobody will scold you. Mother will quickly wipe, wash and powder your bottom. She will also hug and kiss you as if you have done a grand act!”
“You just have to whimper and mother will set you to her bosom and feed you the most delicious milk made specially for you. Your bedding is soft and clean. Mother loves you like none else in the world can. You sleep snug and warm at night next to mother.”
“For all this you just lie, babble, sleep, and smile. You have no worries whatsoever for no burden of responsibility is on you. Your life is better than a king’s. Enjoy yourself. Do not cry. You know what? With your kind of luck you have no right to cry and complain. So be quiet and enjoy!”
Boy’s mother and aunt heard everything. They called him and asked, “Is your life not good like the baby’s?”
“No,” said the boy. “I have to go to school and sit in a room full of kids. We can neither chat nor play all day. Then there is this boring learning ‘A B C’ and other stuff. On top of it you do not let me play even when I come home. You make me do the homework first. Looking at you grown-ups does not make me very optimistic either. For all of you work all day, worry a lot, and complain about the worsening conditions.”
The two women were struck dumb. This was a great eye opening experience.
February 6, 2010