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“The kids are around! Don’t use those words. Remember when I used the same word accidentally, you told me not to use it again because I am a woman?”
Rita and Suraj had two kids – Rani and Rahul. The couple would fight like cats and dogs. And each time they yelled at each other, Rita’s mother-in-law would exclaim, ‘Itni ladaai karte ho, matlab pyaar bhi utna hi karte ho’ (the two of you fight so much because of how much you love each other)
Six-year-old Rahul would listen to this and wonder how it was possible. He thought, ‘We fight with people we don’t like. So how is it that we love them?’
One morning, Suraj was frantically looking for his swipe card before going to the office. He looked for it high and low. Rita helped him look for it and so did his kids. After five minutes, when he still didn’t get his card, he said angrily, “Where the F*** is my card!”
Rita looked at Suraj in astonishment. She said softly, “Shshshsh! The kids are here. Don’t use those words.” And then she laughed and said, “The other day when the same F word slipped out of my mouth, remember you told me not to use it again?”
Suraj got irritated and said, “Do not test my patience. You’re a woman. So, you cannot use those words.”
Rita was startled at what Suraj just said to her. He walked out angrily without his card. Rita picked up the plates from the dining table and murmured, ‘How does man and woman matter! A bad word is a bad word. That’s it.’
Her mother-in-law heard and said, “He is right. During our times, our husbands would use swear words but we never used such words. Today women want to be equal to men and they’re going crazy about it.?
Rita rolled her eyes and chose not to answer her.
That evening, Suraj returned and was in a good mood. Rita saw the smile on his face and forgot all that he had said. She set the table with dinner and called out to her kids.
Rani came running, and howled, “Mummy. Rahul is not giving the video game to me. He is fighting with me.”
As she sobbed, Rahul said, “I love her mummy that is why I tried fighting with her.”
A little shocked Rita asked, “But if you love her, you won’t fight with her right?”
Rahul, “No mummy. I love her that is why I was fighting with her. Ask Dadi.”
Rita’s mother-in-law, “What?”
Rahul, “Dadi, you only said that papa and mummy love each other that’s why they fight so much.”
As Rita giggled, her mother-in-law stared at her as if she were guilty and said, “These days the kids have started questioning the adults too.”
Brushing that look off, Rita turned to Suraj and asked, “Suraj you’ll have three rotis?” But before he could answer, four-year-old Rani who’d stopped crying, yelled, “F! F!” Shocked, everyone stared at her as Rahul immediately responded, “You are a woman. So you cannot use these words. Only I can…”
And before Suraj could say anything, Rani had stopped shouting and Rahul began as he ran around the table. “F! F!” he yelled merrily on top of his voice.
Rita couldn’t hold herself anymore. She said, ‘Suraj. Do I need to say anything more? Hope you now understand our kids are learning from us. You think they are unaware, but these little bright sparks are always alert and listening. That’s how they learn. We might have a slip of tongue sometimes but when you knowingly speak such words, it is not good.’
Suraj: ‘I am sorry I told you that it’s okay for a man to speak like that and not a woman. If I don’t want my son to speak like that, even I shouldn’t.’
Rita felt light in her heart. She said, ‘You realize your mistake, that means a lot to me.’
She then looked at her mother-in-law.
Her mother-in-law said, ‘Suraj. If your father had to realize it the same way you did, you wouldn’t have been speaking to your wife like that in the morning.’
She turned to Rita and said, ‘Beta, so I am sorry. Next time he says something like that I will pull his ears okay.’
The kids giggled when they heard that.
Suraj, ‘And we need to keep a check on what we say.’
Rahul: ‘Don’t worry Daddy. I understood everything too. When I have a wife, mummy will pull my ears too just like Dadi said.’
The dining hall echoed with hoots of laughter.
Picture credits: YouTube
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