Thursday, April 03, 2008

What puts me off reproduction - I

Scene at the salon early this week: I was in the robe that they give you when you're waxing full arms and legs, returning from a mid-waxing wash from the bathroom. Picture a mamma in her late 20s or early 30s, tires of fat around all her limbs and torso, wearing a horizontally striped t-shirt and pink capris (the lengths that these women go to, to keep feeling young) lying on the couch. But I gave her the benefit of doubt--thought that it might be more convenient for her to manage her 4/5-year-old kid in that attire.

Anyway, so madam was there to wax her underarms and upper lip, and get a pedicure done. So she dragged her 4-year-old son along to a salon full of semi-nude ladies. The kid, obviously being curious, was squinting into his mother's armpit to check out the wax being applied (almost getting his nose stuck). Mamma bear was trying to read stories to him in between her ooohs and aaahs and instructions to the beauticians. The good thing was, his questions about the happenings around him were answered truthfully. But my questions is, did he really need to know?

Was there no way the woman could leave her child elsewhere, or outside, at the reception, sparing some other ladies their embarrassment? Thankfully, the child had eyes only for his own mamma and therefore neither me nor anyone was made to flinch or cover up. But what if the child wasn't that well behaved? Does he, at this age, need to know what pains a woman has to go through to keep looking so-called-beautiful? In his youth he will obviously expect the woman in his life to be 'clean' like his mum. You know, the age-old argument... "but even my mum used to do all this without a complaint'! I know there are gem-like men out there, like my darling hub, who will never want a woman to go through pain to look beautiful. But, obviously, they were not given an early dose of the inside-workings-of-the-salon so early in their lives.

The other interesting part of the event. Mamma bear was reading a story out to her kid about a fox who was proud of his wisdom. The dialog goes like this:

Mum: Once upon a time there lived a fox in the jungle who was proud of its wisdom.

Kid: Mum, what's wisdom?

Mum: Hushaar (Chatur/chalakh in Hindi--isn't that supposed to be clever/cunning and not wise?)

Me to myself: Wow! Wisdom, indeed.

Mum: The fox was hungry, came across a turtle, wanted to eat it, and so pounced upon it and started scratching its shell so as to tear it. The turtle asks the fox to drop it in the pond nearby so that the shell would soften and then the fox could eat it. The fox agrees and as soon as the turtle hits the water, it swims to the middle of the pond where the fox cannot reach. It then tells the fox not to be so proud of its 'wisdom'.

Me to my squirming-with-irritation-self: Bullshit!! WTF is this woman teaching him? Wisdom = Cleverness? Buddha was wise. What if this child remembers this story when being taught about Buddha and applies the logic that being wise, if Buddha was in this situation, he would have turned the turtle, scooped out its flesh and eaten it. Who the hell wrote this story in the first place? What kind of books do these people publish? Do they even think before they introduce certain words to kids? Aaaaaargh!

I know I might be taking it too far by applying this 'wisdom' to Buddha, but there are chances, no? With such literate-but-not-qualified parents around? Ok. I shut up. Move on to the next.

Scene at the swimming pool later in the week: I enter the ladies' shower room to noises of another 3/4-year-old thrashing around. Mamma's busy drying her hair while the kid is yelling and hitting any accessible surface with whatever it has in its hands (I'm already too pissed to notice).

Then, as I'm trying to change in a corner, another lady in her swimsuit walks in, and noticing the child, wraps a towel around her torso. She seems to appreciate the child's 'energy' and talks to him as she bends over to pull something out of her bag. The kid comes near her and touches her: I'm not sure whether he was trying to tickle her or pull on her towel. She laughs, gets up slightly panicked (or tickled?), and the child moves away. I move in to the shower to change, all the while praying for the child not to peep in through the plastic curtain. I'm at peace only after I hear them leave.

Now, there was a huge open terrace right outside the shower room. Couldn't mamma bear let her puppy run amuck in there?! I know, I could have politely asked her to keep her child out, but who knows how she would react. I go to swim because I want to relax and not risk entering verbal brawls with idiotic quarter-life-crisis-driven mammas who can't decide where to draw the line for their kids.

Conclusion: I keep saying this to my husband: I don't want to produce any more scum on the earth. If I have a child I would be an overbearing, protective, smacking-manners-into-my-kids kind of mamma. Now, I know my in-laws wouldn't approve of that. I've seen my SIL bring up her kid: no yelling and no smacking the kid--how can you have a heart to treat a poor-toddler-who-can't-understand-a-thing like that? Me thinks, one can at least hold the child tight and tell them softly, clearly, and firmly what is not acceptable. Maybe like The Mad Momma does. I wish I had the clarity of thought that the lady has! Simultaneously, appreciate each good thing that the child does, and if possible, explain what was 'good' about its act. But since I am very impatient, at times immature, and at other times cynical (more so since I'm in the company of in-laws), I do not wish to risk producing a child who's just as unsure and lost as me. Especially because I frankly think that the hubs is not (and never will be) mature enough to "bring up" a child.

This is a long rant. Let's just leave it at that.