In the elf’s eyes, The world is a beautiful place. I see that changing as he has come to the conclusion that there are some bad people in the world. But he doesn’t know about poverty, suffering, death and pain.
Like all Indian kids, he sees his quota of beggars mostly at traffic signals. I see his curious eyes look at them. The one who always has a question about everything is quiet. He asks no questions. At least not yet.
I struggle with how much to tell him. I want him to be compassionate yet dispassionate. I feel In a country like ours, you can’t afford to be one of the two. You can’t ignore the poverty and suffering, but you honestly can’t weep at the plight of everyone.
I want his world to be beautiful longer where the sky changes the colour and the moon and the sun share the sky. I hate that he knows that some people are not always good.
So the other day we were at a signal and a blind man was begging. The elf was up to his normal games and trying to attract the attention of the auto driver by tapping on the car window. I told him to stop tapping since the blind man would probably think someone was calling him to give him something (in my defence I was driving and my wallet was in the backseat – no way could I have reached for it)
Elf: Why we have to stop tapping?
Nut: Because this uncle can’t see and will think you are calling him. We shouldn’t trouble him
Elf: Why he can’t see?
Nut: Coz he has no eyes
By now the beggar is near my window and I can see the Elf eyeing him. He can see the eyes are different. I wonder if this is too much of information for him. Is he too young for this? Will it shake his belief that Mama and God can make everything ok?
Elf: Why he has no eyes
Nut: Baby you have have to ask God that
Elf looking at the sky: God God, Why this uncle don’t have eyes ?
M<omentary silence and then he looks at me and says – Mama, God says that he didn't have any eyes.
I am struck by so many things. who told him god made people, who told god is in heaven – but more importantly who taught him to be so logical and find an answer to a question I don’t know how to answer.
I want to know but I don’t ask him more questions. I know that the next time we are at this signal, he will remember and ask about the uncle again. He told his grandmother about the uncle when he reached home.
But he isn’t traumatised. His world is still beautiful. Sure it has some people who don’t have eyes in it.
But his simple answer reassured me that he will figure it out and it will not break him. It reminds me how important my answers to his questions are – In making him a good strong person.
In parenting – they don’t exaggerate when they say every minute is making the person they are tomorrow.