Monday, September 08, 2008

The Monster Slayer

It was the beginning of the swimming season. Five days into it, and Jai and Rasan resumed their early morning swimming lessons when their exams finished. Jai did not want to go into the pool without Papa –his idol, his friend, his philosopher, his guide, bah! Rasan was to get into the big pool because she had already graduated from the ‘Training pool’ last year. We had even thrown an elaborate party in celebration of her “cap-change”. In case you don’t know, the beginners are required to wear red cap and once they graduate into the big pool, they can wear any colored cap. So, she had been into the big pool with a bang the previous season. But this season, she insisted, presumably for Jai’s sake, and I know for her own sake too (she found big pool too overwhelming this season I guess) that she would stay in the small pool for a day or two. I gestured her to move into the big pool because I was sure she would not be able to overcome her hesitation once she got too comfortable in the small pool. She grudgingly moved into the big pool and Jai, among other trainees was in the small pool. I had been keeping a hawk-mom’s (I am sure there are hawk-pops too) eye on both of them in their respective pools. These were the days before the submarine started invading the pool. After a while, Rasan started to do what the kids call “bubbling” and Jai was just busy splashing water but he was kind of morose with no Didi to share the little things with.

A little while later, I saw him come out of the pool. He was running towards me, sans his bath robe, shivering in the morning cool and running real fast. Before I could even start worrying, he was by my side. With his teeth chattering, he said, “Mama I am not going into the pool.” “Why, Bachhu?” I asked him. He said, “There is something in the pool.” “Something like what?” I thought he was making excuses to stop swimming already. “ Possibly a leaf, Mama” said he, vigorously nodding his head to convince me. In his Punjabi, it came out to be, “Shayad koi patta shatta hai,” And opened his eyes wider to convince me. I said, “Yes, Beta, with so much of wind today, the surrounding trees must have shed some leaves and one of them might have gotten into the pool.” He insisted, “Noooooo, the pool is dirty. There is something moving in it.” Now I know it is not, the managers of the pool change the water every now and then and I know there is a treatment plant working for these pools; and the season had just started. I tried to send him back. He refused to go. I planned to threat him with dire consequences, but gave up the idea before a tussle could ensue - with me coaxing him back into the water and he refusing to budge an inch and thus making a family show of extreme mushy-crushy love. I finally told him to go get his bathrobe from the peg and get into the washroom to change. I was angry with him. We both remained sullen and swollen faced. Finally Rasan finished her swim and came along. I did not talk to him all through the way because I had woken up at 5 am for God’s sake to take them to the pool, and all I was getting in return was a sulky kid complaining of funny things. During the day, however, we kissed and made up.

Next day, upon waking up, he categorically refused to get ready to go to the pool. I said, "Okay, at least come with us to the pool." Reluctant and suspicious that I would again ask him to get into the pool, he obliged upon the promise that he would not be forced to go the pool. I thought, we will cross the bridge when we come to it and laced the comment with Tere ta waddey waddey wi jaangey between my teeth. Off we went to the pool. I tried one last time. He put his little foot down, “No I am not going to the pool.” Rasan said, “Ok, I will go to the pool with you and see what’s the matter.” I didn’t like the idea because it gave Rasan a chance to avoid the big pool. But Majboori ka naam chota pool. Reaching upto her ears upon tiptoe, and very secretively he whispered, “Ok didi, I will also show you those sea monsters too.” She said, “Ok, I will see what’s bothering you.” I eavesdropped upon their conversation. And chuckled to myself, “Wow, SEA monsters in the swimming POOL! Only mera munda can invent them.” She got into the pool with him and remained with him and kept talking to him while he splashed. The coach came and found her swimming among the trainees and told her to shift the pool. She rarely gets into argument outside home. She did not try to disobey or explain. She moved out. Jai was again left alone but now he seemed to have come to terms with his monster buddies in the water. (He has never forgiven the coach since; and keeps calling him Khadoos with a double K) He now splashed water around, enjoyed himself and came out laughing. What sister-therapy Rasan gave him, I have no idea. But I am grateful she did.

Thank God for her. What would I do without my wonder girl, my super-heroine?


Cartoon courtesy-

http://www.quietmuse.net/images/wgirl.jpg


36 comments:

Roop said...

Aww I can't wait to see them and this made me miss my little brother too. :(((

Indian Home Maker said...

Wow, sometimes siblings can do what we can't :) I can imagine how happy and proud this must have made you feel!

Anonymous said...

What Rasan said in Jai's ears to convince him, is a mystry for you.
Let it be!
Rasan did it !!
Thats the matter which matters.
Probably age-gap counted.

And Jai enjoyed the remaining time in pool.

Experience and expressions given here by you are appreciable.
Nice posting!

Keep it up.

Dhindsa

~nm said...

I was smiling at the end of the post thinking of the great bond that siblings share.

And again you made me go back on my words of saying I don't think I can handle another kid. :)

Pinku said...

hey!!

that was so cute and Rasan is the proper big sis...hugs to her.

and naughty Jai who can be quite the scare when he decides to be cranky gets a scare himself...that too from sea monsters in the pool....cant help laughing.

Oreen said...

wonder how it would have felt to have a sister hold my hand when I had my nightmares...

makes me want to have another baby now...lemme forward this to sayantani ...

Manasa said...

During my school days, I hated to draw n paint. I was very reluctant to take the paint brush.

During the summer vacations, I took up drawing n painting as a serious hobby when my other cousins painted beautifully on the canvas :))

my space said...

That`s the beauty of having a sibling isn`t it..a big hug to Rasan..
You know Mampi we often overlook other people`s fears-specially our own kids-and dismiss them as silly behaviour.I always pushed my kids for swimming and would go blue in my face telling them that THEY WOULD NOT DROWN...But when I started to learn I was petrified..Now I feel horrible about dismissing their fear and riding on that high moral horse...

Mampi said...

Roop-Jaldi jaldi aa ja fer.

IHM-Yeah, she has solved many Jai-related problems for me. She is amazing.

Mama-Thank you.

nm-yes yes you can. Anirudh will take care of the new baby.

Pinku-Yeah you know him now. But as you say, Darr sabko lagta hai...

Oreen-Update me on what she said.

Manasa-You are an artist in your own right. I got the mail. I responded too. Didnt you get it?

MySpace-Agreed. I started learning swimming and I understood him and his monsters. Now, I suggest the other moms to get into the pool when they egg their kids on to be faster in swimming competetions.

Balvinder Singh said...

Your little daughter is already an expert in what we called in the Army as NON VERBAL COMMAND, where one preaches not by words but by personal example. Give her a pat. And Manpreet, your Punjabi punches in between your immaculate English are so amusing.

Mama - Mia said...

you know this is like how we keep wondering what do cricketers say to each other on the field!! i am sooo curious now!! hehe!

there is something so special about siblings!! they can reach where parents cannot! :)

hugs to both of them!

lovely post!!

cheers!

abha

Sidhusaaheb said...

Taking a minute off to examine what he meant to show you in the pool i.e. the monster, would've solved the mystery then and there, methinks!

:D

Gazal said...

the monster was called fear...
wasn't it?

i miss having a sibling for my boy,but am sure the feeling will pass.

sigh

Gazal said...

btw...you are a supermom.

DeeplyDip said...

cute post...rasan and jai seem to be cute kids :). Is Rasan much older than her bro? Shhoo cute that she is looking after him so well.

RiverSoul said...

A very engrossing read.
:)
Both ur kids sound cute.
A young little brat and a very supportive sis. . .
Sigh. Wish i had a sis of my own.
:(
Anyway, very nice post.
:)

And loved the phrase
Majburi ka naam chota swimming pool.
;)
:)

maheshinder_singh said...

I loved and enjoyed every word of it. You made me travel with your story. I rate this as one of your best short stories till date.Well done.

roop said...

awwwwwwww @ mr. maheshinder singh. that was real sweet. a few words of praise and acknowledgment can make a wife's day and night and months and years. :)

Kiran said...

sister's hotee hee great hain :-)
miss those days with my brother...now he is all grown up but everyone still accuses me of being overprotective :D

Mampi said...

Balvinder-Thank you so much. I gave her the pat you sent. Well, mera wass challey ta sara hi Punjabi wich likh deyaan.

Abhs-What a comparison. What a mystery, aisa hi kuch boltey hongey.. aur kya.

SS-Your advice is always so sound. Thank you.

Gaz-Its never too late. And you ARE a supermom too.

DeeplyDip-Thank you for your visit. I am so honored to have you here. Rasan is 4 years older to him.

RiverSoul-Thanks. She is really a gift from heaven. He fights with her all the time but misses her like hell if she is out even for an hour.

M-Told you, you are in love with the author. But Yes, Roop is right, your words keep me going.

Roop-So many years into it, he now knows the tricks of the trade, hahaha. He also knows that these words keep me going. But I tell you, he is my worst critic.

Kiran-Of course, but someday I would want that you also guest-write the incident about you and that girl...

Monika said...

awwwww that is so sweet.... the bond we have with siblings is amazing... me missing my younger sis in delhi :( Rasan is very mature and loves her bro too much isnt it?

Balvinder Singh said...

Hey, i read your punjabi blog and left some comments there. Remarkable flow and unfanthomable depth. Keep it up.

PARRY said...

Well may be the sister holds some secret of her brother? But I bet she is as tactful as you mampi. The second cartoon suits you too...Supermom :)

How do we know said...

oye i commented here earlier.. kithe gaya??

I loved this episode!

philip9876 said...

Reading about the leaf in the water reminded me of some other thing.

There used to be a popular joke about the acute pollution in ganga river that when someone takes a dip, he/she emerges with something on their head ;)

Mampi said...

Monika-Yeah, thats what brothers and sisters are for, to be the demons or to shoo away the demons-as required. Yes, she is very attached to him.

Balvinder-Thank you. I read your comment there. I feel encouraged. I updated that blog after 2 months-on finding a new reader. ਮਾੜੇ ਕਵੀ ਦੀ ਨਿਸ਼ਾਨੀ...Hehehe.

Parry- I am flattered. You are the second one to call me that. But I feel all moms are super.

HDWK-Even I m worried, kithey gaya?

Philip-Thank God it was only the pool, not the Ganges.

PARRY said...

Found your poetic blog too. Liked the poem on Eyes. Left comments there.

Life Begins said...

Come visit my blog. I have a something for you :)

Vidya said...

Very cute, sister Act! loved this post :)

ANWESA said...

sister therapy at work..gr8 post..

Imp's Mom said...

awww... how cute :) sister act at the best:)

oceanic mirages said...

how sweet is this ................
aaawwwwwwwww...
hats off to ur lovely wonder girl.
give my love to both Jai n Rasan n kisses tooo...

kiran grewal said...

i know the secret............
its all magic ..............
i wont tell you.....

Mampi said...

Vidya-Thank you.

Anwesa-It was so helpful to me.

Imp's Mom-Yeah, I am so grateful to God for her.

OcMi-Gave your hugs to her and him.

KiranG-Magic, Oh Yaa, you know them well.

churningthewordmill said...

its incidents like this that make me think i am missing out on smthing as a single kid... u have adorable kids...n im sure u know it..:)

Mithe said...

Rasan is a good sister for Jai! lots of love for them both:)))