Thursday, April 28, 2005

Role Reversal

SCENE 1 - 40 years ago in an Iyer house in a small town in TamilNadu. A conversation between a mom and her 10 year old daughter.

Mom - Janu, where are you? Dinner is ready. Come and have it when it is hot.

– No amma, I don’t want it now, let me finish reading this story.

Mom < a little angry> – You better listen to me di. If you don’t eat properly you wont have strength to read your book. Moreover If you don’t read books you will end up being very stupid and we will marry you off to someone just like you.

Daughter< not sure whether to believe it or not, but decides that it’s better not to take chances> - ok amma. I will have dinner. But I don’t want curd okie?

Mom – You and your nakre! By the way, switch off the lights when you come. Money doesn’t grow in trees.

SCENE 2 - Now…….

Same people. But the daughter is married and settled in Delhi now and is a mom of 2 kids and is at the verge of menopause. Her mom stays with her. The past 40 years have taken a good toll on the mom. The upper part of her body is completely bent. It is so bent that she can’t see the ceiling unless when she’s lying on her back. She has a room of her own, complete with facilities like an A/C and a TV.

< busy in the kitchen, talking to herself> - Its 9:30 already and nobody in this house wants to have dinner today?

Daughter < goes into her Mom’s room> - There you are. Engrossed in your serials. Due you know that it’s late already? Khana nahi khana hai kya? If I don’t call you for dinner you would have araam se forgotten all about it!

Mom gives a sheepish smile to the daughter and goes back to watching her serial.

Daughter < a little angry> - I want you in the dinner table in 5 minutes. No excuses.

Mom < decides that she better oblige her> - Okie, I’m coming.

Daughter < serves food for her mom> - Here, have one more helping. You are eating very less these days. Remember what the doctor had said? Moreover if you don't eat properly where will get your strength from in this old age?

Mom – No ma, this is enough. My thoppai is full. < looks at her daughter pleadingly>

Daughter – Nothing doing. You have to eat this. Just because you had two bananas during tea time doesn’t mean that you’ll have a skimpy dinner. I know all your games by now ma. Have some more rice now.

Mom – okie.

They both eat in peace for 5 minutes. Mom sulking a little bit.

Daughter – Amma, how many times should I tell you to switch off the lights in your room when you come for dinner.

Mom < Doesn’t know what to say. Has the helpless look that small kids give their moms when they are being scolded. The look between trying to be cute and also pleading not to punish them and that they are sorry.>

Daughter – Today our meter has been changed to a digital meter. It’s already 8 units now and it scares me to see the meter running like this! And you are not helping me by doing all this ma. You will go back to your room only after 40 minutes and all this time the meter will be running, don’t forget that. Please switch off the lights from tomorrow okie. Lets not waste money unnecessarily.

Mom – okie ma. I won’t leave it on again.

Daughter – Okie then. My darling mom. Finish your food now.


Anil said...

It's kind of depressing to read that. It's all true and it happens all the time, but it's no less depressing.

Lost in trance... said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lost in trance... said...

Methinks that one was one of ur best posts :)

abhash said...

It isnt depressing ....its sarcastic....

Girl With Big Eyes said...

I don't know why Anil and Manish found it depressing and sarcastic respectively. I found this role reversal very interesting and quite charming.
First it is the mom taking care of the kid and household affairs. Then suddenly it's the daughter taking care of the mom and the family.

Err....maybe I din't write it well enough for people to make it out that way :O

Anyways thanks Lost in Trance :)

Anonymous said...

Because of the "Switch the lights off" funda, it seems as if it is not as much about taking care to ensure comfort but more about taking care to prevent nuisance.

I know you did not intend to, but somehow the "Eat your food to stay healthy" gets hidden behind "why didn't you switch off the lights" :-)


Girl With Big Eyes said...

Yeah, I guessed as much.

I too found the situation (Daughter urging the mom to switch off the lights) a little out of the ordinary. But later I realised that the mom and daughter share such a friendly relationship that there are no hidden meanings.

It's like the daughter saying that I'll take care of you and I'll take care of the household-stuff too.


Nitai, Morning morning blog surfing in office eh?

Arun said...

The only thing I found interesting here is the digital meter thing...
Was that used by the author to represent the change of generations..or to give the story a realistic touch??Or did the daughter mention it conciously to say that its digi now...not like the other day when u scolded me..u r too bad..!!
Its already measuring 8 units...
Forgot to mention the unit??

*utters "ME!!CHALU KING!!"*

nice u started writing stories??all the best!!

Girl With Big Eyes said...


No questions in a story!

Enjoy maadi. Chalu rules.


Anonymous said...

Good blog.

A couple of inconsistencies:

There are no meters in the US that is really seen by people living in the house, I think there is one somewhere, I have never bothered to look (I have lived here for the last 18 years), the switching off of lights scenario doesn't quite play out here. In fact, if at all there is a comparable scenario, it is turning off the thermostat to keep the heating bills down (in winter)...

Secondly, most of the houses that have A/C have no wall units, just external units with multiple zones within the house. In fact, in Seattle, you couldget without A/C for most of the year, except may be for a couple of months in Summer. I commuted to Seattle from CA for some M&A work 2 days every week for many months. The damn place rains all the time.