One Thursday evening….
[It's start of weekend for residents in the Middle East incase you are wondering...]
“Let’s go to the mall” suggestion was met with cries of “It’s boring, we don’t want to go”.
“We are always going to malls, it’s soo boring.”
Huh since when….they had the maximum fun out there; there were toy stores to be explored, bookshops to be visited, gaming zones to run amok in, freebies to be collected while the parents were usually found hurrying behind trying to keep up.
I would have been happy to hear this any other time but that day I wanted to go out.
I sat them down and stressed how lucky they were to have parents who didn’t need to be coerced into taking them out.
They looked at me unimpressed.
I told them about my childhood where I was taken out just twice a year.
That got some response.
“You are joking……only twice a year???” Nikita flabbergasted.
“Yes, on Christmas day and Easter……
……to visit relatives.” I added for a punch.
Both looked horrified.
Nikita pretended not to be affected and was like “Your time was different Mama so don’t compare then and now”
“How different” I challenged not willing to let it go so easily. “I was also a kid like you and would have loved to go to a mall[never mind there were no malls then] but my strict, authoritarian father decided we’ll visit relatives and so we went visiting.” I said woefully, mentally apologizing to my father for the way I was portraying him.
Two shocked faces stared pityingly at me and my deprived childhood.
Kids nowadays are funny I tell u….I so clearly remember jumping up and down for joy when my parents planned trips to visit relatives.
“I always obeyed my parents and did everything they told me to” I said grandly.
Nikita didn’t want to hear anymore….I think I over-acted a bit and the lost the bit of ground I had gained till then.
“We don’t feel like going to the mall, we want to stay home. Didn’t u say we’ll rest this weekend, so we want to rest” the siblings on the same page for once.
For a change the better-half & I wanted to go out and these two were playing party-poopers.
“I know exactly why you want to stay home” I said sternly. “You want to play on the tab right….right”
Two guilty faces confirmed my doubts. Well I didn’t blame them. If my father had downloaded 2 new games on the tablet for me that evening I too probably wouldn’t have wanted to go out anywhere. Too bad their mother was not so understanding.
“Alright we’ll stay home but both of you will not touch the tablet….
….or any other gadget in the house for the rest of the day.” I said closing all loopholes.
Two dismayed faces stared back.
Naina opened her mouth to protest but Nikita stopped her and said “Alright we won’t touch the gadgets, but we can read books right”
How could I refuse to let them read books without coming across as petty?
So they settled down comfortably to read.
I think Nikita realised that we wanted to go out more than them and was in her “two can play at this game” mode.
The better-half and I sat facing eachother, wondering what to do. I wanted to go out and by hook or by crook we were going to. What the heck…..I had already scrubbed and cleaned and closed the kitchen for the day thinking we were eating outside. No way was I going back in there to make dinner.
“In all other houses children are asking but their parents are too busy to take them out. Here we are telling we’ll take u out but you want to stay home to play some silly game.” I said in irritation.
You two are so lucky…..even before you say it you have parents who get you what u want. Go on, just look around you, you have everything, instead of counting your blessings and staying happy…..”
“But we do thank God for everything and we are happy…..we just want to stay home and not go anywhere out today.” Nikita says reasonably.
Silence reigned in the house for a few minutes.
The better-half started drumming on the dining table to hide his impatience.
I was hopping mad now.
Desperate times called for desperate measures.
“Alright, we won’t go out if that’s what you want. You are right, it’s not good to go out all the time. I’ll make something ‘nice’ to eat and we can all laze around at home”
I discussed the dinner menu with the better-half.
“What do you think I should make for dinner???? I’ve got Rice, Rasam & stir-fry in the fridge or should I make Kanji*???”
The better-half’s fingers faltered for a few seconds and then resumed drumming when he realized my game plan.
The children who were merrily swinging on the recliner till then froze in shock.
“I think Kanji is better because it’s healthy and also it will take me just ½ an hour to make it.”
The better-half drummed a tune on the table approvingly.
The recliner creaked to a halt.
Sensing victory I pressed home my advantage.
“It's too late to make a side dish but we can have it with some yummy pickle.”
Books lay forgotten as two white faces watched us like hawks.
“Ofcourse if we were going out, we could have had Burgers or Pizza or Chinese” I smashed the point home.
The ball in their court now, we waited nervously.
“We don’t want to stay home, we want to go out….we love going to the mall” wailed Naina.
Game. Set. Match.