Thursday, December 23, 2010

ROLE REVERSAL

As I go down the memory lane, I find that over generations, mothers find themselves in similar situations. My concerns, diktats and sermons are the same as they are for most mothers in the world. The journeys are different however the experiences are similar. 

Did you go to the bathroom? Are you done? Finish the vegetables, Don’t sleep, were just about home, Don’t hit your sister, Wash your hands, That’s it we are going home, How much cartoon do you watch? Where did the sweets go?
And during the preteen years, it goes like this – I am talking to you, Keep the phone, For God’s sake, comb your hair, Your socks smell, and the mother of all…Ask your father.


After carefully negotiating my way through the paternal minefield for two decades, I am at a threshold when tables are turning. The roles are reversing. And as parents, I and my husband are amused spectators.

Our only son is in a hostel pursuing his engineering and very often we find ourselves following dictates from the other end.
“So, what’s up?” I try to connect.
“Nothing.”
“Did you wake up in time for breakfast?”
“Hmm...” 

Now let me unravel the meaning of hmm. First hmm amounts to listening from one ear and letting it breeze through the other. It actually means a polite ‘No’. Second hmm is a reminder that you are talking to a wall and your query is not hitting the target. Third hmm warns you, ‘Enough… stop it’.

“Took a bath today?”
"Hmm."
"Yes or no?"
“Seriously,.. Ma. I am in college; it’s funny when you remind me to take a bath and wash hands.”

I stood corrected. Certain reminders come with an expiry date.
“It is getting chilly, wear a jacket when you go out.” After I blurted out I realized …oops. I pressed the wrong button. Again.

I try to change directions. “I am booking tickets for coming home. Late evening flight is ok?”
“No, no flight. Book train tickets.”
“You will save a day. Come home and eat home cooked food. Why do you want to slog for eighteen hours?’
“Ma…Air tickets will cost 7K. Do you realize the value of 7K?”
I think so. And wasn’t this supposed to be my dialogue? 

Greedy for some family time, I try more convincing, cajoling. Nothing works.
I continue, “We are booking your flight. Why are you bothered?”
“Please do as you are told. No questions. I have to study…..”
“Okay,” I follow the sermons tamely.
 “And book third A/C . We save another 500 there…”
While I am still on the phone, my husband promptly booked the train tickets.
“And don’t come to receive me. It will be embarrassing.”
“Okay.” We take the orders like good parents.
“You and dad, take care.”

I realize that roles are not reversing. Roles have reversed. When….?


(Sorry son, for leaking the tapes of our conversation)

26 comments:

  1. ''certain reminders come with expiry date''..I like that.

    Unknowingly, I have answered so many times just like how your son does. Especially, when dad says, wake up early tomorrow morning, go for a walk to keep yourself fit and when my Mother comes with her list - wash your face with cold water, do not eat spicy food (that will result in acne), etc etc...

    how true...roles are reversed...as I often find myself telling my dad and mum...no no dont send me this, dont send me that, dont u know I dont likeit? etc etc....only to realise later it is their love for me that they want me to be healthy and happy.

    nice read.

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  2. Its not 3rd class, its 3rd AC!!
    And I'm way cooler than you make me sound in this!! :P

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  3. Roles have reversed...for sure...old definition called generation gap...the conversation sounding between me and my parents too
    :)

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  4. @Always Happy...I love your blogger name. So true.


    @Harish...:)

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  5. @COOL Goutam...I stand corrected.

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  6. @Beyond Horizon...Honestly, most conversations between parents and children are on similar issues.Thanks for reading.

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  7. Someday he'll realize, he's wrong. I too am in engineering and my mother pulls my leg on doing that synonym of 'hmm'. But then, I don't tell my parents that I find it embarrassing that they come to receive me. That pricked me. And when my parents are doing the tickets, I wont mind an air ticket. :P

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  8. @Blasphemous Aesthete... A clarification..the embarrassment part was because he feels, he is old enough to come on his own and perhaps did not want us to travel all the way to Delhi from Gurgaon to pick him up. The train travel perhaps to be with all his other friends and not appear snobbish.
    By the way you sound much mature than your age.

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  9. A very interesting insight...loved readin this post.

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  10. awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww poor kiddo... how cud u do this to him... :)

    let him be he is at a stage where he wants to d othings his way ... :) he he heehhe I remember when i landed in delhi and papa would say we will come ot pick you up and me was like Nooooooooooooooooooooo pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    i will come alone and you know on way enjoy the female companions and other thing s he heehhe :)

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  11. that was cute...
    its not role reversal... just way of perception.. and its perfectly fine..
    where kids take care of parents and parents look after the kids.. a balanced relationship with healthy environment.. lovely.
    have gr8 life ahead with your family :)

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  12. @Ria...Thanks.

    @Bikramjit...Lol..I am learning my lessons of giving space and freedom. So did you manage to go beyond being traveling with your enticing female passengers?

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  13. @Deepika... Children grow up and time flies. Certain incidents are a reminder that roles have reversed. I am happy with the role reversal. Raising kids into responsible adults is a sure shot achievement. Feels great.

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  14. Well, I find it rather cute :) I have been out of college for over 5 months- for that reason I am kind of on the side your son. It does feel good to have parents curious over the little details.

    I am not quite sure about the reversals as such. It is just like we come to realise our wings even though they have always been there. I am sure you understand the spirit of this all.

    Your son is definitely lucky :)

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  15. @Sritatsat...Thanks dear for reading the post. I have just stepped into a stage of life where I am accepting the fact that my child has grown up. But mothers are mothers. Indulgent and incorrigible!

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  16. Strange ! My mother is telling me the same thing this time when I am home :) Mother Association or something working behind our backs :P

    I regret I am not mature enough to talk about things like stages in life and stuff but I believe it is a privilege to have such caring parents ( not saying just for the heck of it... )
    Thank you all :)

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  17. I think I should avoid using the word 'hmm'..
    Well defined...

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  18. Total connect with the son. I never understand why does mommy ask these questions..khaya? kya khaya? kab khaya? kitne class hain??...i can probably take care of these trivial matters, right?

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  19. I am still in the phase where I keep on telling my kids to wash their hands before meals,and full on to do what next actually they are too small and need constant guidelines and I think I will keep on doing that for the rest of my life ,may be even then my grown ups will interrupt me.Very nice post and any mother could relate it.

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  20. @Neeha.....Thanks for taking time.

    @Pratibha....I am glad you could relate to it.

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  21. @MangoMan...All mothers are the same. It is the same cycle which repeats over generations. But parents are cooler now.

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  22. You reminded me of my mom. Even now she does call and ask the same way. But now i will be more attentive and answer her.

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  23. @AS...Oh really...Mothers are incorrigible and indulgent.Honestly my mom does to me what I do to my son...ha ha

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  24. whoa...does ur son read ur blog??????????
    he ought to know how rocking is his mom...
    i can't wait for seeya to grow up n read mine n then react...*omg...should I really wait for THAT!*
    :-)
    i can't believe that ur son does not secretly thinks that his mom is super duper too good:-)

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  25. @Suruchi....Oh, yes he does. And his comments mean a lot. More than his dads...lol.

    You have an interesting journey ahead with Seeya. And you are blessed. Daughters are a blessing. They are such wonderful friends to have.Enjoy and cherish each moment of the magic.

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