The EO was sitting at the dining table at my moms', enjoying a sumptuous weekend breakfast replete with all his favourite goodies...double-dimer omlette stuffed with cheese, hot buttery toast and chicken sausages. Chewing on his food, head resting against the back-rest of the chair, his eyes were sweeping over all the sights outside the window. I was sitting in such a manner, that the curtains were blocking my view of the great outdoors. I was looking at my beloved son's face, watching the way his eyes took everything in and wondering what was going on in that head of his.
As if responding to my silent thoughts, he suddenly exclaimed, "Mamma! One crow is taking one kite! O o'r bachchader jonno niye jachchey." (He's taking it home for his children!)
As always I was taken aback and so surprised at where his thought process had led him. His sweet, sensitive mind took the image he saw and painted a picture of family bonding...a recurring theme in his stories and something that he so cherishes.
I got up and stood beside him to get an eyeful. Unfortunately, the sight that met my eyes was one of absolute horror. It was a poor crow that had gotten itself entangled in the tattered remains of a kite and it's string, desperately trying to free itself. It was struggling and must have been doing so for a long, long while because already its' strength was failing and I could tellb that it was tired beyond belief. There was no way I could reach it and save it. I averted my eyes and didn't say a word.
The EO was soon distracted by something else that claimed his ever-wandering attention but I couldn't get the image out of my mind. I also kept thinking, about how we shield our children from the uncomfortable and disconcerting truths of life. I obviously did the right thing today in not pointing out the reality of the dying crow's plight to my innocent little kindergartener, but when should we break free of the Gautama-Buddha syndrome?
How long do we shield them? When is it the right time to talk about death and mortality? About sex? About 'good touch' and 'bad touch'? About the fact that the world is not always fair and pretty?
And how do we talk about it? How can we allow the innocence to fade from their eyes? How can we be an accomplice to it?
My son didn't know that neither that kite, nor that crow would ever take flight again. And I'm keeping it that way. Because for the time being, I want his innocence and childish imagination to soar...for just that little while longer.
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