Filial role reversal

Filial role reversal

"Put your arms around my neck!" I ordered as my little son tried to wriggle away.

“Hold my hand tight, don’t let go. See the traffic!” My loud and overbearing voice would have made many a pedestrian halt and stare. The overreaction made not just my little son stop but also many others on the road. I also had a nagging suspicion that most motorists would have slowed down or stopped, scared at my facial expression and agitated looks.

This was about 20 years back, trying to cross a busy road in Bangalore. My son, then short and thin, looked embarrassed as he tried to free his hand and make his mother lower her voice. “Please let go of my hand, I will not run, I promise. And, kindly stop shouting so much, everyone is looking at us.” His pleading went in vain as each passing vehicle made me clutch his hand more tightly.

Scene two in an auditorium. Little boys and girls dressed as angels and cutely dancing in pairs. Lots of moist eyes, especially mothers. Photographs being clicked and kisses blown at their darlings. Moms and dads proudly watching the apples of the eyes. No sooner was the programme got over, there was a near stampede as parents jostled to reach their children and take photos along with their costume-clad little ones.

I posed, too, cheek to cheek with my son and smiled at the camera which thre-atened to fall off my hubby’s hands as ot-hers pushed past. “Put your arms around my neck!” I ordered as he tried to wriggle away. Thank god there was no Facebook then, else many a wall would crash due to the number of photos uploaded.

“Eat slowly, chew well!” Instructions were being issued to the boy darting angry glances at me. “It’s ok, no need to keep giving instructions!” the husband protested mildly as more efforts were made to stuff the young fellow’s mouth with vegetables as others in the restaurant watched bemusedly.

A similar scene was repeated on the first flight. “Fasten the seat belt well. Eat whatever is served. Keep looking outside the window lest you miss the clouds!” I shouted across the aisle. “Madam, why don’t you sit next to him?” the man seated next to me offered free advice. “No! Let dad sit here!” the little fellow retorted turning my cheeks red and extracting a chuckle from others.

Cut to the present. “Amma, hold my hand as we cross the road. You don’t know how to. Will you please stop talking to your friend on the mobile while we cross? Is it important to report to her on whatever the maid did?” the handsome young man crossly questions. “How ma-ny times have I told you not to wear that gold chain while we are going by walk? And stop waving at all the people on road, especially at Vinutha aunty, who always asks me how many girlfriends her son has! Trying to spy on her own son!”

“Doctor, please give her some calcium and vitamin tablets, she has not been eating well at all,” The doctor looked at my heavy weight and sighed. His mind had rewinded to many years ago when the roles were reversed.

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