05 March, 2008

Sense and Sensibility ......

........... is something Aparna seems to have been born with.

Ever since the time those thought processes started to settle down into forming concrete ideas and she got vocal enough to communicate her thoughts effectively, this has been one thing about her that’s always stood out. Her ability to think out a situation sensibly, analyse it logically and come to a conclusion prudently. Both Vic and me have always felt that she’s been and still is way ahead of her chronological age in terms of mental maturity.

Where during early childhood, she was an extremely serious child, now those quacky humor genes are advertising their presence. But with strangers, till she assesses them and deems them safe enough to exhibit her true self, she remains a shy kid. A kid who opens her shell just enough to see and deliberate as to whether she can throw her shell fully open and emerge out of it with all her different shades blazing.

Peers too have had their influence on her and the little girl who was never ever enamored by Barbie dolls through her childhood now is very much into reading “fairy books”. She’s quite taken in by all those winged, dainty, pretty pixies and imps and “The Rainbow Fairies” series of books rank among her current favorite reads. Having never been a flippant child, things like angel fairy dust or swishing stars out of magic wands bring out a huge grin on that little face now.

Despite all this, that strong sense of “making sense” of whatever she does or plans on doing, still manifests itself deeply. Beneath all those impish grins and laughter which rumbles from deep within her heart, beneath all those humor genes manifesting themselves and springing into action, those wheels in her head are always cranking and turning – questioning, seeking logical answers to any given situation. Her thoughts constantly flow like molten lava beneath a dormant volcano.
The quest is always on.

Recently too, there were two or three incidents that made their mark and had that stamp of “Logic Aparna Style” stamped all over them.

The other day, while watching the Evening News on TV, Abhay went hyper and started to hop all around the living room. He heard on the news that the Ngong Ping Cable Car system (whose operations had been suspended because a cable car crashed during a test ride) was up and running again. He was making grand plans of going on a cable car ride. Vic mentioned to Abhay that we could go on the cable car once summer began. Aparna, in the meanwhile, was just observing and was totally non committal even when Vic asked her if the idea of a cable car ride sounded good to her. She kind of left us wondering about her total lack of enthusiasm about the whole deal. We thought it was probably because she was worried that the cable car might come crashing down again or probably because she was worried that there might be some glitch in the system (to her credit, there indeed have been plenty of such glitches which have left people suspended and literally hanging in mid air till the glitch was sorted out) which might leave us suspended in mid air over a valley. Surprisingly, it was neither of the above. She told us why she was not too hot about the idea in a very calm, collected manner. It was because she was worried that she would end up throwing up time and again while on the cable car ride because of the altitude and because of the fact that she does indeed have trouble with air sickness. “Happens quite often on the plane so what is to say it will not happen on the cable car ride ?” was her query. “Atleast in the plane, there are toilets where I can clean up. How about the cable car where there are many people travelling in such a small space and no toilets to clean up in if something like that were to happen ?” she said.

Those two questions made a huge amount of sense and the lack of enthusiasm and the doubts that she harbored seemed so very valid.

Another incident took place yesterday. This week is a Book Week at their school. Today, the children had the option of dressing up as their favorite book character. A whole group of girls in Aparna’s class, after having deliberated the issue, had decided to dress up as fairies. Each one a different fairy from the range of The Rainbow Fairies. Originally, Aparna had chosen to be Nina Ballerina but this had to be scrapped because she would have had to dress up in a sleeveless frock. Given the cold weather conditions and the fact that she’d been unwell over the last week and early this week (she’s still on antibiotics), a sleeveless frock seemed quite inappropriate.

I broached the idea of her dressing up as one of the other fairies who wear a trouser and a top. That way she could wear her thermals under the top and could stay warm. I knew this explanation would appeal to her common sense and sure enough it did.

On Monday, both me and Aparna were looking through the whole list of the Rainbow Fairies in an attempt to find one that was dressed in trousers and a top. We found three of them and she went off to hunt in her wardrobe and finally decided on Izzy the Indigo Fairy. On Monday evening, when she got back from school, she was in an absolutely excited and totally tickled pink about something. I wondered what it was but did not press her for an explanation because I knew the excitement would build up to an extent where she would, by herself, come and tell me about it. And she did, a while later.

Apparently, one of her friends had suggested to all the girls that they could carry small fancy pouches when they came to school dressed as fairies. Each pouch would contain talcum powder and whenever they came across a whole group of kids they could all take a handful of talcum powder and toss it at the other group of kids and tell them that it was “angel fairy dust”. She was quite agog about the idea.

Yesterday, I was working on the top she was to wear to school today. Because the top was a plain blue, I was trying to use a bit of glitter glue on it and some sequins on her denim jeans to give the whole thing a “fairyish” look. And she was looking at the cute little white pouch that she’d set aside for the talcum powder thingy and suddenly the brows furrowed, the lips pursed and the wheels in her head began to spin at a furious pace. It was probably at that moment, as I looked at her, that I knew that the whole talcum powder idea was just about to be tossed out of the window and sure enough, after a few minutes, there it was. “Are people allergic to talcum powder ?” she asked. “I mean – not all the people, but does it happen that people may be allergic to talcum powder or baby powder?” she asked. I told her that I’d not heard of people being allergic to talcum powder or baby powder per se but that in some people it does set off bouts of chain sneezing. Talc powder or baby powder being so fine, it does irritate the nasal passages in some people and sets them sneezing. “Oh !! Then I’m not carrying any in my pouch” she said. “If we go about throwing talcum powder on people and suppose – just suppose OK mummy – suppose someone starts to sneeze and goes on sneezing – gee I don’t want to do that to anyone.”
So end of the day, or rather the beginning of the day, this morning, the little Indigo Fairy went off to school with wings and a wand – and no talcum powder. :-)

I was quite touched by the fact that consideration for others was indeed among her priorities. At this age, to be able to think and consider as to how your actions might affect the people around you is, I think a good enough start.
Instead of jumping into the pool headfirst without checking if the pool is indeed deep enough - to weigh a situation and to think about the pros and cons before committing oneself to anything is a pretty good habit to cultivate. That way, things like impulsiveness or rash decisions are minimized.
And she pretty much amazes us by the depth to which she thinks about things that may, on the surface, appear so trivial.

She did show her shades of humility last year at the Celebration Assembly at school. Consideration for others is something that is taking a strong hold now. And level headedness, like I mentioned earlier, seems innate in her.

Vic casually mentioned to me the other day that there have been situations recently when Aparna sometimes makes more sense than both, me and Vic put together.

Like Anne Frank once said

"Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands."

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7 voice(s) said so:

bird's eye view said...

Boy your daughter sounds really intelligent and thoughtful for her age.

Kowsalya Subramanian said...

wow.. this is what i said on aparna's reasoning on not using talcum powder and i am one allergic to talcum powders which have strong smell.. she is really very considerate..

so how did the balvihar camp go?

Kodi's Mom said...

amazed at her sensibility and thoughtfulness. she sounds like a model child. excellent job on raising her, Gauri. now, can we swap? :)

choxbox said...

god bless aparna, gauri! lovely child!

n3 once wrote to narinder dhami (one of the people called 'daisy meadows') to write a book called 'diya the diwali fairy' and she got a reply saying it was a brilliant idea etc - which made her completely thrilled :)

itchingtowrite said...

this is so nice. I hope my kids are as sensibl

Itchingtowrite said...


WhatsInAName said...

wow again :)
I am sure part of this sensibility owes its existence thanks to genetics :)