"Amma, amma" – the plaintive cries of my daughter Ragini jolted me as I was preparing dinner. Alarmed, I dropped everything and dashed to the bedroom. My little girl had removed all my saris from the wadrobe and got entangled in one of them. I felt torn between amusement and anger and when she looked up and gave me a "I don’t know how this happened" look. I removed the offending garment from her and picked her up in my arms. My baby girl was growing up so quickly and getting naughtier by the day. Often my patience wore thin and I was tempted to tear my hair (whatever was left of it). How can a two-year-old be exasperating, endearing, tiring and inspiring at the same time?
Ragini’s frail appearance is quite deceptive. Her loud voice carries across our street much to my consternation but her doting papa only sees a prodigy in the making. "The next MS Subbalakshmi, mark my words", he insists! But father’s joy can also be a source of embarassment. On a recent visit to a hospital the quiet of the reception area was shattered by Ragini’s shrill cry, "Appa, you’re wearing Amma’s shirt!"
Despite her father and my constant attention, Ragini’s soft endearments are served for her favourite person – ourmaid. When the latter walks in through the door every morning the little imp is waiting for her with the broom and a huge smile on her face. This is Ragini’s moment of joy while I seethe with jealousy.
Keeping up with the little dynamo is quite exhausting. When she falls asleep at noon, the whole house heaves acollective sigh. I can feel the walls humming quietly. It is the lull before the next storm. I try to regain myenergy in the hiatus and so does Ragini – it is a contest of wills!
Ragini’s grandparents after their first few visits got smarter. "We would love to have Ragini visit us but sheshould not be separated from you even for a day", is their constant refrain. Visions of some peace and quiet at home by unleashing Hurricane Ragini on them continues to remain wishful thinking!
Early one morning, as I was having my cup of tea, I tried to fathom why my daughter was driving her parents up the wall. I recalled what my sister-in-law had mentioned to us. When she had quizzed the peadiatrician about her daughter’s mischievous ways, the doctor replied without batting an eyelid, "Madam, that is acquired behaviour!" Ouch, did that hurt. The doctor’s words struck a chord in me as I remembered my mother mentioned how I would run her ragged. It brought home a scary truth – looking at Ragini was seeing myself in the mirror!This article appeared in the Deccan Herald a while back.
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