Wednesday, October 14, 2015


On a golden afternoon in summer Uma sat with her children Bindiya, 7, and Nikhil, 9, with really

nothing much to do, while Dev, 13, was working on a social studies project on the EU.

Nikhil        : “You’re a Rugrat.”

Bindiya     : “No I’m not. At least I don’t watch baby pony shows any more.”

Nikhil       : “Grow up.”

Bindiya     : “Mom, can you tape up Nikhil’s mouth on my birthday?”

Uma         : “Why, is that one of your birthday presents?”

Bindiya     : “No, seriously. And tie him up and put him in a room where no one wants to go.”

Uma         : “Bindiya. Behave.”

Bindiya     : “He’ll just ruin my birthday party. And put ear plugs on him or he’ll keep on

                    interrupting us while we’re listening to our favorite songs he loves to hate.”           
Uma         : “What are you? A dictator? How would you like it if we did the same

                    to you on Nikhil’s birthday?”

Bindiya     : “I’ll just stay in my room. You won’t need to go through all that

                   trouble with me.”

Uma         : “Don’t talk like that ever again. Don’t think like that ever again, you understand?”

Bindiya     : “Okay, whatever. Can we make that pie now? I love to cook with you.”

Nikhil       : “I’m bored.”

Uma         : “Help with the pie.”

Nikhil       : “I don'wanna. I’m bored.”

Uma         : “Unload the dishwasher.”

Nikhil       : “For a buck? Not worth it. Minimum wage is seven twenty-five.

                  Charity begins at home right? So does fairness. I’m bored.”

Uma         : “Unload the dryer.”

Nikhil       : “Too hard. I’m bored.”

Uma         : “It is perfectly legal to be bored.”

Nikhil       : “Then can I do something illegal?”


Nikhil       : “Sorry.”

Bindiya     : “Did you see that? You just got arrested?”

Nikhil       : “SHUT UP. I wish I was old enough to swear. Or brave enough.

                    Dev swears a lot these days.”

Uma         : “He does? What does he say?”

Bindiya     : “The ‘f’ word?”

Uma         : “f-a-r-t?”

Bindiya     : “No Mom, the real f-word.”

Uma         : “What is the real f-word?”

Bindiya     : “The whole world knows and you don’t?”

Nikhil       : “See, I told you Mom is not foolproof. I used to think she was. But she’s gullible.”

Bindiya     : “Don’t you know Mom, f-u-k?”

Nikhil       : “You missed a ‘c’ Bindi.”

Just then Dev stood in the doorway laptop in the crook of his arm.

Dev          : “Mom is there an ‘e’ in INTERPOL?”

Uma         : “Yes there is.”

Dev          : “I mean two ‘e’s. ”

Uma         : “No. Just the one.”

Dev          : “So this must be a typo. They spelled it with an ‘e’.”

Uma         : “Let me see. Did they start with an ‘e’??”

Dev          : “No, look, they finished with an ‘e’, like it is spoken, and it looked

                   different to the eye from having seen it in my book so I thought I’d

                   ask you since you are a walking dictionary.”

Uma         : “Thank you son. But I might never have known if I wasn’t the

                   daughter of policeman and an English teacher.”

 And she held back her laughter as she thought of the Freudian  implications of that mix up.

Bindiya     : “Can we please make the pie now?”

Uma         : “Sure. Let’s go.”

They put all the ingredients on the table. Uma kneaded together the flour and butter

when the doorbell rang. Dev would answer it so she didn’t bother. It was usually

one of his friends this time of the day. She heard him yelling loudly a moment later,

                  ”DON'T EVER COME HERE AGAIN.”

The door slammed and he came into the kitchen looking angrier than she had ever seen him.

Dev          : “There’s a bag of flour on the doorstep. Don’t touch it.”

Bindiya     : “Great, we could make more pies.”


Uma         : “What’s all the fuss about?”

Dev          : “My stupid friends left a bag of flour that they used for ‘Take Care Of Baby’ week for health                        
                   class on our doorstep and dingdong ditched. I know exactly who they are. They’ll check to

                   see if we picked it up. DON”T TOUCH IT.”

Uma went to the porch to investigate. A torn bag of flour with a 12’’ picture of cartoon character Stewie

Griffin in a blue sweater and yellow diaper pasted on it lay on the first step. This was very disturbing. And

very funny. She had some thinking to do. And then some talking. Children can’t just raise themselves. It

takes not quite, but almost, a village. It sure takes a family. Or a very spunky kid who can take charge of
his own upbringing. Hopefully they had all the right ingredients for raising these young ones.

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