Life's Like That

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Wonder Years

What IS with little children these days? My 7 year old cousin has been going around telling her friends "Jaano aamar didiyar na ekta Rahul aachey" (Translation: You know my didi has a Rahul) and giggling knowingly. She and her friends now have great respect for me...I have a boyfriend you see. She wants to know if Im going to marry Rahul and when Im going to do so. She has already told her mother that she wants to wear an outfit similar to Aishwarya Rai's in Kajra Re and wants to paint her nails scarlet for that joyous occassion. (needless to say, my aunt fainted at the thought of her only daughter dressed a la Ms. Rai in that song). Oh and before I forget, a boy aged 7.5 years, living in the same neighbourhood has "proposed" to her...she of course turned it down because she doesnt really like boys.

When I was 7 years old, I firmly believed that my dolls came alive at night and played among themsleves like Enid Blyton's Amelia Jane, I believed in fairies and elves and Santa Claus and pixies and the magic Faraway Tree , I lived in a Famous Five world and went around tapping the walls of my house in Purulia hoping to find a secret passage which would obviously lead to hidden treasure. I played school school with my dolls ( the walls served as my blackboard, will post a picture of that wall soon) and the only TV I watched was Walt Disney cartoons on Sunday morning!

Now Im not denying the fact that I might have been exceptionally naive at that time, but my point is that children in general seem to be waaayyy ahead of us at that age. Its not necessarily a bad thing though. I look at my 14 year old sister (yeah she is 12 full years younger than me) and this little cousin of mine and see how smart and confident they are, so much more savvy and street smart, and reasonably well informed about the world at large. Which is good isnt it? Wish I could keep that aspect and do away with the pakamo (precocoious..is that the right spelling?) aspect of it.

My little sister (yes 14 is little according to me so just shut up) is now causing us a lot of worry by refusing to eat. She is hell bent on avoiding food in general and when we do manage to pin her down to a meal she eats just about enough to sustain a small sparrow. She needs to maintain her figure. (That does not deter her from eating chocolates and pastries though...she gorges on those and skips regular meals to compensate). Of late she has confided certain secrets in me which have left me a little amused and verrrrry worried (have promised not to divulge her secrets to anyone..so my lips are sealed!) Things are soo different from when we were kids. Hell, I don't even understand the language these kids speak these days...what on earth is beyblade..please explain.

Speaking of language, I have been reading some blogs written by school kids..and have also overheard some phone conversations between my sister and her friends, and GOOD LORD!!! I wouldnt have dared to use the kind of language these kids seem to. (Im not sure if I even knew the f-word in school...I could have been exceptionally naive..but there you are). Sayoni, correct me if Im wrong, but I don't think the f word was such an integral part of our vocabulary when we were in school. (I do remember saying F*** very loudly on Ballygunge Phari once...and scandaliasing Sudp and you because people gave us these really dirty looks, but that was much later..we were in college then). But to my sisters credit, she was pretty scandalised with her friends and reacted quite sharply to the language...thank god!!

I have overheard whispered conversations about boyfriends and kisses and I know (never mind how) that modified versions of spin the bottle are popular. Which is fine..who am I to judge, my first boyfriend was at age 15. We held hands and wrote silly notes and made loooong phone calls and all of that nonsense. I also grew out of it soon. I wonder why I ever wanted to date him in the first place.

But it was somehow different for us you know, it was more innocent..one didnt hear of MMS scandals (I know we didnt have mobile phones then, but you get the idea right?) one (at least people I knew) didnt use the f word like a punctuation mark in ones conversations, one didnt stop eating in order to look like an anorexic model, ones friends teased one about ones weight but did not prevent one from eating.

Im not very cioncerend about the school kids on the blogosphere, I don't give a damn about my sisters friends, I am slightly concerend about my cousin but she has a long way to go ebfore that turns into serious worry. I am however very very worried about my sis. I am not sure how to deal with her, telling her she is too young to diet etc is obviously the worst approach, I remember my teenage years only too well, how I hated being told that. How do I walk the tightrope between being a friend, and an elder sister? Why did she have to grow up? I miss my baby sister :-(

24 Comments:

  • *deep breath* you've put into words what my sister feels all the time...she's 25 by the way, 3 years older than me and calls me her baby sister so I'm not one to be cribbing about whether 14 is little!!

    I know this is how she feels but I don't know how she deals with it. She keeps telling me she loves me and wants what is best for me and through endless fights we negotiate the fine line between concerned confidante and censorious sibling.
    I'm the younger one, undecided on a thousand things and making mistakes every day because I'm as immature as a 12 year old so I guess I'm an older, more difficult version of your baby sister.
    I just know there are a thousand mistakes I haven't made because my sister was there with a hug, and even if she wasn't present I knew she loved me.
    At the cost of sounding precocious could I say your sister will be fine. Just keep talking to her and loving her. I'm still pretty ok, though I know Didi's still worried about me.

    spam like over lengthy comment this was..all apologies :)

    By Blogger babelfish, at 8:31 AM  

  • I am the younger kid in the family, sis is older to me by 8 years. She's lived away from home since I was 13 and hence we are not close. She got married recenly and I stayed with her for a month during which time i got into trouble. She was very concerened and wanted to help..but i got out of the jhamela anyhow.
    Your sister is lucky to have you and the fact that she confides in you is proof that she would tell you things she would not tell her parents.I went through a phase when i was 15, worried my parents a lot. She'l get into a bit of trouble maybe, but it'll all be ok iam sure.

    By Blogger Dreamcatcher, at 10:50 AM  

  • brilliantly writen and you capture "our time" very well. i'm 27 and belonged to a generation where having a girl friend was a BIG thing and now not having one is a BIG thing. seriously. i keep telling my sis that even though she is just 4 years younger to me - we are a generation apart :)

    By Blogger Sagnik Nandy, at 12:05 PM  

  • when i was a kid, my GI joes had a thing with my sister's barbie dolls :)

    I think the psychological baggage carried. My first real girlfriend was a good 4 inches taller than me :)

    Anyway, you came to my blog. Now i'm here, posting nonsense. Get used to it:P :P

    -4wd

    By Blogger 4WD, at 12:11 PM  

  • Enough has been said about their times and ours, so I will give that a miss.

    Instead, let me tell you one very queer thing I noticed... this is possibly the first post where you divulge what R stands for. Not that there was too much of a doubt on that point, what with him leaving signs of his erudition by commenting on every second post of yours. But still...

    By Blogger Deep, at 8:01 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Deep, at 8:04 PM  

  • Hum bhi bahut Enid Blyton padhey un dinon me.....The biggest scandalous news in my school in B'lore was if someone sent a love letter to his/her crush.

    Now my cousin sister (all of 12) finds the Harry Potter movies 'too childish'. Huh ?

    By the way, an even younger cousin of mine (mature age of 6) is addicted to beyblades. I had no clue till recently what they were. I used to think it was a Bengali word I didn't know. Then I found out from neighbourly sources (aged between 5 and 10) that it was some Sudharshan Charkra type of Lattoo that went spinning. I also found that a good beyblade costs about a hundred bucks. My tir-dhonuk I think used to leave my parents about 5 rupees lighter when I was that age.

    I feel OLD.

    By Blogger Soham Pablo, at 8:44 PM  

  • @babelfish: i just feel soo much older than my sister, 12 years is a huge gap...maybe it would have been easier to be her friend if i wasnt so much older. its hard for me not to slip into the guardian/parent role at times. and considering the length of my comment on ur post, this is absolutely nothing.

    @ dreamcatcher: yeah i got gave my folks a lot of trouble when i was 15 too..what with a undesirable boyfriend and everything...its just that i wish i could stop my sis from making the same mistakes as i did.

    @sagnik: imagine my condition with my sister then. i once heard her friend telling another friend that she is seeing ABC who is in her class as well as XYZ who is in the tenth standard, and she is finding it difficult to schedule the two separately. to say that i was dumbfounded and felt very very old would be an exaggeration.

    @4wd: hello and welcome, i HAD to comment on your last post, whole new perspective to my job and everything :-) please do visit again. and everybody is most welcome to write whatever they want as long as its not abusive etc.

    @deep: yeah thought it didnt make sense to keep writing R anymore, considering his vague comments and all, those comments are written specifically to annoy me...thats another weird child i tell u!!

    @soham: is THAT what a beyblade is?? bojho!!!my sis finds harry potter juvenile while i have to buy the books as soon as they are out. what is the world coming to??

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:45 AM  

  • Tir Dhonuk!! you said it Soham. With all the imaginary arrows powered by water, air, fire etc etc in our quivers, who would care? Ofcourse i did indulge myself with an occasional hotwheels and he man and skeletor puppets. Beyblade is absolute nonsense! I have tried my hands at one courtesy the kids in my society. Ron, forget the F word in school, i didn't even know what 'line marna' was till the 6th std and that too my so called girl friend 'explained' it to me :)

    By Anonymous bijoyyy, at 12:54 AM  

  • @ bijoy: u play with beyblades with children in your society?? ki kando!! and us till wonder why people ask u..umm..certain questions"...oder aar ki dosh bolo!! heeheeheehee.

    By Blogger Ron, at 1:04 AM  

  • Hehe Ron, you are forgetting that i sat at home for two months owing to the nasty accident. My interaction with the outside world was limited to going down and sitting on the railings within the compounds watching children play. I even sat with aunties and listened to 'inke papa ke' parking problems and how they deal with their kid's homework. Thats when i saw the first beyblade and tried my hands on it

    By Anonymous bijoyyy, at 1:38 AM  

  • lovely post. I tried writing about this a couple of weeks ago, in a post titled belated children's day thoughts, but you've done it much better, and much less pretentiously...it's the personal account which makes this all the more endearing, but beneath it all, when I look at children now (and of course some of these 'children' are like only ten years younger than I am) I do feel scared, because they're so sadly adult. aar ha...still in bangy...and having depleted purse, no question of going to strand festival and getting tempted. leaving on thursday morning. kobita shunechhile?

    By Blogger the still dancer, at 3:24 AM  

  • @arka: i read that post of yours, around the same time my sis confided in me and it got me worried. I spent all this time wondering how to write about this w/o spilling the beans on her secrets. its such a pity that kids are in so much of a hurry to grow up. i hope my sister wont have to look back on her life when she is 26 and say "i wish i could go back and be a child". i dont want her to make the same mistakes that i made (or even worse ones than i made) i want to protect her from the hurt, the confusion, the pain...i know i cant and i shouldnt..she should learn from her own experience and all that..but oh i just want to protect her...

    By Blogger Ron, at 3:52 AM  

  • sigh! the more things change, the more they stay the same! when i was 7 yrs old ... well nevermind. maybe i'll tell u another time :)

    I SO identify with this "I am however very very worried about my sis. I am not sure how to deal with her, telling her she is too young to diet etc is obviously the worst approach, I remember my teenage years only too well, how I hated being told that. How do I walk the tightrope between being a friend, and an elder sister? Why did she have to grow up? I miss my baby sister :-("

    its very very hard. but diets etc are hulka phulka topics dear, so dont freak out yet. wait for the sex drugs and rock and roll

    By Blogger Prerona, at 5:10 AM  

  • Hey, just let nature take it own course. Our parents had thier issues..they would have been shocked to see the things we messed around with.. and now its happening to us. (though I shudder to think what our grandchildren will be like as kids)...its just the details that change..issues remain the same..

    By Blogger Abhishek Chatterjee, at 6:12 AM  

  • Very nice post Ron. I feel the same way when it comes to my cousin who is six years younger than me.....way too "advanced" than I ever was at his age. And I love him and want what is best for him. Yet I also feel that I need to stop being protective. let him grow, spread his wings. I have not always done the right thing. And although I would like to keep him from making the same mistakes that I have done, I guess everyone needs to learn it their own way. And I think att he end of the day it is more important to be a friend, a person that your siblings can trust and come to when they need someone rather than trying to keep them from growing up.
    I think you are doing the right thing. In worrying and keeping an eye out for her best interest and at the same time letting her be herself.

    By Blogger M (tread softly upon), at 7:00 AM  

  • I dunno where you guys grew up, but i moved to bombay when i was in the 7th-ish.

    The things i learnt in that one year. I've never needed anything more.

    ah bombay.

    By Anonymous 4wd, at 10:32 AM  

  • @prerona: the sex the drugs comprised the etc after the diet:-)
    kid sisters are so difficult na..u spend your lifetime torn between wanting to box their ears and wanting to hug them

    @abhishek: u shudder tot hink of grandchildren, im shuddering already with my sister..and shudder even more to think of my children

    @m: thanks. trying very hard to not be overprotective...i think im doing an ok job of it so far...even managed to grin all when she was telling me about her life...though internally i was like "whaaaaaaaatttt!!!!!!??"

    @4wd: good for you :-)

    By Blogger Ron, at 8:48 PM  

  • i swear! and thats just when they are still 'kids'

    how come she's grown up when it comes to staying out all night or but 'baby' when it comes to falling asleep on my bed and me having to move to the sofa with tupi ... :(

    By Blogger Prerona, at 4:56 AM  

  • @preronaL lol on the sleeping on sofa with tupi bit. my sis is all grown up when it comes to hanging out with boys and wearing short skirts and demanding money to get her hair coloured (she was not allowed to do that though) but she still cant sleep alone..sleeps with my mom usually and with me when my dads visiting...and she talks ALL NIGHT in her sleep!!! can u blame me for wanting to box her ears??

    By Blogger Ron, at 5:10 AM  

  • exceptionally well written. i have a younger sister as well, but because we are just 2 years apart, this strange gen-gap really didn't exist. yet, sometimes i feel as if she's the older one...the things about boyfriends and alternate sexuality and internet and dating she comes up with, i don't know whether to be amused or horrified!!
    true about the f-word as well. i still feel guilty after using it inadvertently sometimes, while it is like a filler in the conversation of the younger ones.

    By Blogger good morning, midnight, at 11:16 AM  

  • @gmm: thank u. ore baba...i have absolutely NO idea what ill do when my sister asks about alternate sexuality. im finding "boys" a slightly difficult topic to deal with. but im very thankful that she is does not use the f word at all...she gets highly irritated when she hears other people using it and proceeds to lecture them. there is still hope!!!!

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:21 PM  

  • For all you know, your sis can probably tell you a thing or two about alternate sexuality. Seriously, kids are getting scarier and scarier. I thank god I don't have a younger sister. Just an older cousin who I was very close to and we completely grew apart. Like, she would FREAK OUT if she knew I smoke, it is a very, very big deal for her. Anyway. That's the stuff of another post methinks.

    By Blogger The Marauder's Map, at 4:24 AM  

  • @marauders map: i think i will have a quiet heart attack and die if and when my sister decides to lecture me on alternate sexuality!!! and yes! totally agree about the scariness of children!!im very intimidated by them.

    By Blogger Ron, at 5:07 AM  

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