The child sitting next to me has his head bent over an iPad for the better part of the past hour. I cast a sideways glance at his screen now and then, to find a Doraemon cackling wildly or cars racing furiously, or angry birds having a go at each other. Not once does he look up to see the unfolding scenery outside the windows. The rushing trees, the setting sun, the lush meadows with a couple of cows, the children waving along the track, the trains whistling past in the opposite direction – all lost on this citizen of the digital world. At first I wonder, how easy it is to hand a tablet, phone or a laptop to a child and garner some peace for oneself – maybe I should get a Tab for my little one too. I turn to look at him. There he is, with his dad, asking unending questions – Why is that engine red? Where is that river going? Why are those children black? And for no reason, I remember this song out of nowhere –
Pachai kizhigal tholodu,
Pattu kuyilum madiyodu,
Bhoologam anandathin ellai,
Intha bhoomikku kanneer sondham illai.
Chinnanjiru koottukkulle sorgam irukku,
Ada chinna chinna anbil thane jeevan endrum irukku….
(Read on here to know the meaning of the song)
What’s the connection, do you still ask? The look of delight on the kid’s face when he sees the sky turning yellow to orange to black – can any video game ever replace that? I am immediately overwhelmed with a surge of gratitude. Gratitude for the small things in life that make life big. Here are some of the things, and people, I am thankful to, for both my son’s happiness and mine. No digital extravaganza, foreign travel or glittering stones can ever replace them.
A Small Plastic Phone
It’s a Blackberry, no less, but a green one. Gifted to my son by a distant yet close to heart relative on our visit to their home. It would hardly be over Rs.50, but the grin my son had on his face when he opened the gift wrapper, was priceless (yes, it was, even if I sound like that old Citibank ad). My son now goes around all day, speaking into it, to his grandma, friends and even teachers. What the child on the train got from an expensive iPad, my son got from this small but more valuable piece of plastic.
My Husband’s Cooking
No, he is no Gordon Ramsay. Not even our own Sanjeev Kapoor. But the rasam he makes, I can die for. Especially during the days when my body refuses to leave the bed, or when my son is at his crankiest best. The feeling of relief when the cooking gets done without me having to sweat it out – what can I say? I know a lot of men that cook, but I also know an equal lot that don’t, and expect the wifey to serve them on a platter no matter how she feels. And when I think of such people, I thank God, for sending me the right man for me.
Weekly Chaat Outings
I confess, I love food. Spicy food. If you want to win me over, take me to a fast food joint. Let’s bond over a plate of panipuris. I love trying different restaurants and cuisines, but if you ask me what comes to my mind when I think of my favorite food, it is chaat. I could care no less for swanky restaurants, and just don’t get fine dining – what’s with those teeny weeny portions in the name of decorating food! Food ought to be enjoyed by the tongue, even if I admit it is nice to watch those foodie shows on Nat Geo People or Fox Life. But for me, any day, a chat wallah would score over a five star restaurant.
My First Library Membership
I still remember the small, cramped space that was filled from wall to wall, top to bottom, with books. My first love was Enid Blyton – the Famous Fives, the Secret Sevens, then the Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys, and so on. Not new gleaming covers, but hand me downs – torn here, dog-eared there. A Treasure Island whose pages were crumbling, passed over to me by my aunt, from my grandfather’s college days. Those were the first and the best books of my life.
The child beside me has moved over to his father’s smartphone, apparently tired of the iPad now, while my smartphone stays not so smart in the confines of my handbag. The sonny is still going strong with his questions, although my husband seems to be growing weary. I reach out to him and exchange places, to tackle the questions for a while while my husband gets his break, grateful for this precious time with our tender sapling, the shower of our attention on whom will help him grow into a stable individual.
This post was written for Project 365: We Post Daily. Today’s prompt was – The internet is full of rants. Help tip the balance: today, simply be thankful for something (or someone).