“Mummy, can you not eat from my plate, please?”
What? My daughter is giving ME instructions? Is this the ‘Kalyug’ phase? My hair follicles stood erect on my body, rings of fumes erupted from my ears and nostrils.
I’d never dare to speak to my mother in this way, even today as I inch towards 40 in a couple of years, lest I get a ‘Nirupa Roy’ like response from my almost 70-year-old mother.
“Of what use is having children! Motherhood is such a thankless job.”
“Ek chutki aansoo ki keemat tum kya jaano, Ramesh babu.” One tear is all it takes to put the big child, aka me, in line.
But, as I scanned my tween daughter, showing the signs of adolescence already, I realised I had met my match. My mini-me!
“You were a rebel child. So, you can expect the same from your daughter.” my father grimaced in sweet victory.
He’s right. It’s payback time. Karma has to find its way through all those years of rebellion at home, of why I can’t do this or that. It was my turn to be challenged now.
In battle 2.0, the mother aka moi is the reigning champion & my daughter, the worthy contender.
I understood that my daughter has her preferences like us. If she didn’t like her food to be plucked from her plate, so be it.
But I would not lose face in this little defeat. I lifted the fork in front of my face dramatically & promptly left it aside on the table with a poker-face, “Sure!”
Kids grow fast. Fast enough to get into the irritating adolescent phase where the answer to everything, even a kind request, is a ear-drum breaking ‘NO!’
“Beta, sweater pehno!”
“Beta, susu karlo!”
“Jeez NO, bra!”
“It’s ‘Bruh,’ dude!”
So, I’ve officially gone from ‘Mom’ to ‘Bruh’ and ‘Dude.’ What’s next? I dread to think further.
I’ve made a silent vow to be a rock-solid pillar & witness my baby caterpillar fluttering hazily at first & then confidently into a beautiful butterfly.
But a little fun hurt no one! After all, I’ve got to play the villain with conviction in the story shaping up in my daughter, aka the heroine’s imagination.
And so, I chisel my claws into the euphemistic sounding ‘stiletto nails,’ lift my breasts and chin up high, as I strike the ‘Wonder-Woman’ pose with my hands on my hips, ready for Battle 2.0, a battle I’d smilingly lose (just don’t tell the kid.)
Breaking aloud into the war-cry in all gusto & flashing an evil canine and two, my lips go – “Aa dekhen zara kisme kitna hai dum!”
(Author’s Note: There is humor in abundance everywhere, in the mundane of places and situations. In the pandemic lockdown, stuck 24*7 with the family, there were ample parenting humor moments in times of confusion, darkness, and despair. I wrote this piece with a headstrong tween daughter in the house and living under one roof with her gave enough fodder for funny parenting teenager quotes and parenting with humor arsenal.)