It’s a regular affair.
I, the archetypal retired grand father used to getting up early, finishing all the chores by 8.30, not wanting to plunge into su-do-ku so soon, getting annoyed by the still sleeping grand child and deciding to wake her up.
She, having gone into sleep well past midnight and not ready yet to wake up, eyes voluntarily shut to preempt forceful calls for waking, but mind fully alert and slowly responding to my playful teasers.
Today was no different.
Good morning, my child, see it is going to be afternoon soon.
Allowing the eyes just a slit of opening, she eyes the clock and responds, no thatha, it is only 9.30!
Fine, by the time I wake you and you go to brush, it will be noon!
She stretches her body once and turns toward me. Eyes still closed. I need to talk more.
I wondered what to broach on for today. We sleep some times in the bedroom, some times in the hall, depending on circumstances. I thought I would take that as the subject of deliberation.
Okay, tell me, which do you like more, the bedroom, or the hall?
She is always very neutral, never wanting to get into any controversy. If you ask her who she likes more – mom or dad, she would only respond ‘both’. Which food you like better – rice or chapati, answer is both. It is always like that. So I had put a condition, you should not say ‘both’.
She thought for a while and said, ‘both’!
I told you baby, I will not accept that answer. This is a simple question, and no one is going to question you on your answer. Just tell me, which do you like better, the bedroom, or the hall?
Again, no answer. She needs to be coerced.
I decided to take things on my hand. I extended the index and middle fingers of my hand, keeping the other fingers folded, and told her, “okay, touch one of these fingers.”
Usually she would ask what it meant. And knowing she would have to clearly indicate her choice, she would either refuse or hold both fingers. May be today she was still sleepy, she reached out hesitantly touched one finger.
“Ha,” I continued. You selected the bedroom. You like that room more?
No immediate response. She must have felt she had taken the wrong choice. To get it confirmed, she asked ”which do YOU like?”
If you ask me, I like the hall, I said.
Why? Because the hall is lively, it makes you feel more energetic. Look at the big window, bright light, nice space for one to move about, beautiful swing in the middle, I only like the hall.
That’s all? She queried.
“No, there is more. The writing desk in the corner where you can write or draw, nice sofa to seat visitors and chat with them, you can go on and on…” I added.
And the bedroom, you don’t like it? She asked.
I like it, but only to sleep. You see, it only has a bed, the tv and the computer. All of which make you lazy.
“But we keep busy there, don’t we?” she asked.
How can you call it busy? I shot back. You either just lie down and watch useless entertainment or sit on the computer hours together browsing news and trivia. And, finally when your eyes strain, you just go to sleep. Nothing useful gets done there!
With a jerk, she sat up on the bed.
Stop thatha! You should not have done that.
Make me select the bedroom!
I asked you and you did not answer. I gave a choice and you selected that! Why do you pass the blame to me?
No thatha, had you told me all this clearly in the beginning itself, I would have selected the hall!
So you like the hall better than the bedroom?
I smiled. At last, not only was I able to get her up fully awake, but also got her mind focus seriously on something to direct her towards responding with a definite choice instead of wavering as usual!
Ok baby, I am glad you also like the hall only. Come on, get up and brush! We will have your Boost ready! Tell me what you would like to have - toasted bread with jam, or noodles?
With a twinkle in her eyes and a mischievous smile on her lips, she replied, "both"!