Friday, July 11, 2008

Bedtime stories

Most nights, I help our elder son settle into bed.
Oftentimes, it is a story, a made up riddle or just
silly histrionics employed to get him to sleep.
Old wine in new (I guess)… On most days, it is fun
mixed with a sense of duty; on others, those rare
days, this little ritual transforms into a chore.

A chore when other pressing exigencies filter
and clog the event horizon of my mind and
fill it with myriad competing thoughts. Sometimes
it’s ideas for a new painting, other times
work schedules that need to met on morrow,
sometimes, as plain as a domestic project.

On such days, I tell him gently (but firmly),
'be back in five minutes', and he needs to use
the time to fall asleep. On some nights
(that I try this ruse), it works; while on
others, I tiptoe back to see our wide eyed
little one awaiting my return eagerly.

Yesterday was one such night – a ‘chore’ night.
This time, I happened to remember that I
had to turn off the garden hose. This was
triggered just as soon as the fox managed
to reach over the gibbous moon and grab the
unsuspecting dinosaur by its callused tail.

Before my son enquired on the dinosaurs plight,
I told him I need to attend to something –
(for some reason it sounded phony). As soon as
he hears this, our son slowly turns to me and opens
his mouth (for what I am expecting to be an abject
remonstrance against my imminent disappearance).

Expecting the worst, I quickly admonish him to go
to sleep (soon enough) as I have work to do and he
cannot carry on with this forever. In clear, measured
words he tells me “Be careful, Acha’. Quizzically,
I looked at him and asked him why? Why should I
be careful walking out the home to turn off the hose.

He tells me that there are mosquitoes outside in
the night and he did not want them to bite me.

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