Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just in case

The picture clicked recently shows my daughter and my brother

Death. It has a way of creeping up on life, when you least expect it and it also has a creepy way of showing up inside your mind. Even the minds of little children.

My children were in bed yesterday. I had just finished the marathon story-reading sessions that we have, turned out the lights and was about to leave for my bedroom.
My 5 and half year old daughter’s voice rang out
“Mama, can I ask you something?” Usually these ‘somethings’ that are asked, are very amusing. So with Pavlovian anticipation of a good laugh inside my head, I said

“Ask away”

“What will happen to both of us, if both, you and papa die?”

My mind worked at lightning speed, to give her a convincing answer.

“Well, you can call up Prem mam and he will come and pick you up”

Prem is my only sibling. We share a very close relationship. The children call him Prem-mam. He is their super hero. He is younger to me. He is a ‘big-man’ now .And I don’t mean just physically—He is 6’3”, fitness maniac, voracious reader, articulate, a very caring soul, witty, creative, loads of fun to be with. He is also the Vice president of a leading international advertising agency. To me, he is still my baby-brother. He is extremely fond of my children.

She thought for a minute and said “But I don’t know his phone number”

My 9 year old son piped in, “Mama, I know. All I have to do is scroll down the contacts in your cell phone and I’ll find it. Don’t worry.” He assured his sister.

I said “I don’t plan to die so soon. I plan to live for a very long time”

My kids were quick to respond. “How do you know mama? Your dad didn’t plan to die either”(I knew that was coming)

So I said, “I am a better fighter than your Grandpa. If death comes I’ll just tell him ‘ Buzz off you intruder. I aint done yet. Cant you see, my two children need me?” (in a deep dead pan Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, pretending to wield a weapon) That made them laugh.

Then I made them both memorize my brother’s cell phone number.
Just in case.

12 comments:

  1. It is often amazing what children think about. Yet I can remember quite clearly that this was a concern of mine too at some point when I was a child of about 7 or 8. I remember that I thought it would fall to me to care for my brothers and sister as I was the oldest!

    I think it's great the way you dealt with the question.

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  2. yes preety its dificult to anwer little ones question.we must handle them with care as u made.

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  3. Ur post made me cry, wish i could have asked my mother the same question before her death.

    I agree with others, you really handled the question well.

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  4. Kids are so sweet.
    It's funny that their main concern is the practicality of what they had to do in case their parents passed. Ok, I'll dial a phone number and things will get sorted (more or less) :)

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  5. I can't think of anything to say apart from how stark the reality of our mortallity is when it's put so plainly!

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  6. So heartwrenching to have your children be worrying about that particular "what if." Great answer on your part!!

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  7. i really want to say something about this post... but i can't think of the words... all i can think is... k2kn2u

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  8. Anonymous7:47 PM

    And I did not ask my mom

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  9. Let me see now....who does she look like? Her mother? Maybe just a tad?

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  10. this is really a scary situation but needed to handle it carefully...ya children do ask such questions but securing them by giving geneuine ansuers will remove the fear of death andin addition make them prepare to handle such situation ....if anything happens

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  11. ...wonder what made her come up with such a question! Kids are kids, shockingly to the point and surprisingly innocent! Glad that you did away with their doubts the right way!

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  12. You made me cry..you just love the way u handled..

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