The Best Judge?

 

At one time I always believed that children & dogs were the best  judges of character.

Children by & large tend to instinctively trust or doubt another person.

They are also by & large spot on in their assessment of people.

Dogs can trust or will bark & kick up an alarm if they suspect a person. 

They really seem to know who can be trusted, atleast in most cases. They also know who needs to be nipped in the foot…& fairly fast at that.

And now there’s a cat in the equation. 

I have to humbly admit this.

I am learning that cats couldn’t  be bothered about humans, their lives &  petty affairs one way or the other. So forget about cats being a good or bad judge of character.

It’s own life is worthy of introspection & praise. No one else’s.

It’s in your interest to find out if YOU are worthy of a cats attention, affection or…if you qualify for its indifference or deepest contempt.

Bah to the human beans. They are all Humbug as Scrooge would have said.

Cats agree with Scrooge.

A New Age Menace Called Return ‘Great’ Gifts

Growing up, I don’t recall receiving very many return gifts after attending birthday parties of friends or kids in the neighbourhood. Even if there was the remote possibility of it having been there, it would have been something rather simple I’m sure…like pencils & erasers at the most. Sigh! Neither did we give those kids who attended our birthday parties any return gifts. Poor souls.

I remember one’s birthday was ‘the day’ waited for with great excitement – it was all about new clothes, the cake, balloons, friends & family who would drop in for the party & of course the rapturous vision of an awesome pile up of gifts. Looking back, it was also a lot less complicated then.

Today, I watch & hear about parents who go nuts as they try to organise ultra magical birthday parties for their kids, each trying to outbeat the parents of  other kids. I wonder who’s suffering from peer pressure…appears not just kids but parents too! With theme parties & event managers called in to make sure that 1 year old Meena’s birthday is grand & a riot (Meena incidentally would rather just go to sleep) – the parents are at their wit’s end trying to figure out how to make it different & what  the appropriate aka great return gifts should be. I would not be off the mark in saying that the motivation for many children to attend birthday parties is simply the excitement of collecting their  return gift! Kids will endure the party if they have to, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that it is well worth the wait. [Parents – it had better be well worth the wait…]

The next time you plan a birthday party for your kids you may want to consider some of these options instead of the Barbie, Ben 10, doll house or cricket set circuit.  These are some of   my best picks for return gifts, they are eco-friendly  too! So go ahead & give this a shot –

1. An earthen diya on which they paint their names

2. A handmade paper bookmark with the message “I love reading. No space for more toys”

3. After the birthday party, hand brats back to their Parents with  “Here’s our return gift to you – your child” added in smoothly.  

4. Or try giving kids a map of the locality so they return home safe.

5. A nice colourful poster for their room “This munchkin (or teenager) does not accept return gifts.”

Risk – kids who receive the above mentioned return gifts may return no more to your home forget your parties. In fact they may choose to ‘unfriend’ (another blasted new age word)  themselves with your kids! On second thoughts, maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all…

 

An Early Lesson in Humility

One of my favourite memories of childhood…with a lesson for life!

I started cycling to school from Standard IV.

Until then I would often go “dubs” with my elder brother on his bicycle. With this mode of transport, more often than not my back would hurt  so I’d get off mid-way & walk the rest of the way.

Other times my Dad would drop me to school by car.

I certainly preferred the latter.

*  *  *  *  *

Day 1 of cycling to school.

It was now time for the return home from school.

I got on to my cycle. Pride got on to me.

“Tut Tut…not grammatically correct” I hear the English purists say, but what the heck… 🙂

I could not help but think of my friends who had to catch the bus back home.

Here I was in a more elevated position with a bicycle, according to my esteemed 9 year old view point.

*  *  *  *  *

Swaggering style. Over confidence.

One hand on the left handlebar, right hand waving at those mere mortals – schoolmates of mine at the bus stop.

I focused a bit much on the passing them, looking at them, waving at them…in short impressing them.

C-R-A-S-H

*  *  *  *  *

My cycle rammed into a man just ahead carrying a baby. Beside him the wife.

Funny position for him to have landed himself.

Baby in hand, legs astride a school girl’s cycle.

Humbling for me. Humblifying x 100. Humblification.

All this in front of my schoolmates.

The very ones I wanted to impress with this my superior mode of transport.

It was not over.

*  *  *  *  *

A swift  t-h-w-a-c-k  on my back.

Zestily delivered by the wife of the man carrying the baby.

I said sorry.

She snarled at me in Tamil  “Yenna, s-a-a-a-r-y?” (“What, sorry?”)

This too in front of my schoolmates.

Hell hath no fury as a woman whose husband carrying her baby has been hit into. Accidentally notwithstanding.

*  *  *  *  *

The soberest ride back home. Of whatever distance was left.

Pride comes before a fall.

Apparently it’s true.

*  *  *  *  *