Thursday, September 17, 2020

Fourteen already??


Every year I begin this post with a sense of awe at the fleeting time and how it feels as if time is racing against itself to make way for this little being that came out of me to grow bigger, (almost surpassed me in height) bolder (read audacious), though  not wiser yet! As my son added another turbulent teen year to his adolescent life,  I can only hope for more patience for this tempestuous tide to ebb in its own flow…whenever that happens! Parenting teenage kids is like walking on a tightrope, a tough balancing act at that, alternating between liberal and authoritarian parenting strategies…and this indoors-bound life where he is logging into from one online class to another, owing to the pandemic isn’t helping at all!

As a  follow-up parent, while you may be in touch with the day to day life of your child, but you also run the risk of having only transaction based interactions, checking on whether his homework has been turned in, or whether he’s practiced the new krithi that’s been taught recently, or has he zeroed in on a topic to speak on his weekly gavel club, or if has he read up the Child Friendly news article forwarded to his mail and you suddenly realise at the end of the day that’s you’ve been behind his back all day to accomplish tasks but have not had a real conversation! Of course, it’s another story that despite so much follow-up, he still manages to play truant with you (story of my life right now!)

Needless to say, such interactions can turn into snapping matches especially on days when you are short of patience, escalating into acrimonious exchanges almost bringing the whole house down! It is then incumbent on the “good cop” playing parent to step in and diffuse the situation! Of course, I’m aware that it’s not an uncommon scenario, especially in households with an adolescent under the roof, and I’m sure our parents probably felt the same way and for all you know, years later, you may joke about it over a family dinner with your grown up son or daughter….but it’s far from being a laughing matter now. Well, people say  “Don’t sweat over small stuff” but its only when the stuff is behind you…that you realise it was small stuff..right?

 So Abhay’s foray into adolescence has been a true test of my endurance  and there have been times when I’m wondering if it’s just teenage trouble or the onset of early menopause…a la Kamala Das’s poem titled “Middle age)! I understand that my relationship with Abhay is going through a transition and I do need to hold back my controlling behaviour…..but it’s takes a mammoth amount of self-control not to peep into his room to check on whether he is actually logged into his online class or watching  Youtube football videos…or check for the browsing history on his system …..especially there’s a trust deficit when it comes to Abhay and devices! And of course……he still doesn’t have his own cell phone!!  I wonder if adolescent girls are much more malleable than boys during this phase…..….I will  realize in another five to six years from now! 😊

Anyway, we couldn’t let our love-hate relationship as unpredictable as the weather, cloud Abhay’s birthday celebrations, now could we? A home-bound celebration for our die-hard FC Bayern Munchen fan….creatively represented in this delicious creamy red velvet birthday  cake from bake_mon_rev which was indeed a center piece of the day! 

What a pleasant contrast it was from the previous birthday which was mostly spent in playing the perfect host to Abhay’s school friends. Celebrations during these times are a welcome change, with the focus more on ourselves rather than fussing and hovering around the guests all the time!

Anyway, with the world teeming with child prodigies and kidpreneurs, we have begun to wonder what would our perpetually playful, sensitive, self-entitled, smart-mouthing day-dreamer of a teenager do in his life!!  So on his birthday, I picked out a teasing poem from the magnificent collection of tongue-in-cheek poems titled “Tickle me, Don’t Tickle Me” by Jerry Pinto brought out by talking CUB publications.  This is a book that we bought on a bibliophilic weekend at Bangalore Lit fest last year. Well….don’t know if we will have one this year! 

An anthology specially written for children for “Turbo-loaded, Triple-Charged Children” filled with laugh-out-loud poems, reflective and contemplative poems, poems that seek to ask questions from the perspective of children….there’s even a poem about what happens to children who say that They are Going to fail Their Exams but stand first”!  A little reflection here….and a tit-bit of advice there (though Jerry Pinto will not want to call it that!) and loads and loads of ROFL moments you are guaranteed to experience with the quintessential style of Jerry Pinto with equally zany illustrations by Sunaina Coelho !  

“What do you want to be when you grow to be?” is a quirky poem that best reflects Abhay’s mindset today and here’s an excerpt …. 


I will drive a taxi
In Cotopaxi

I’ll cure disease
With Greatest of ease.                                                                                                           
I’ll dance with joy 
At  the Russian Bolshoi.                                                                                                   

I'll win a Grammy And say, “That’s for Mammy’ (Unquote) (Love this especially!) 


(Quote) I’ll be a watch-maker
Or a lone census-taker
I’ll be a cake baker
Or a verdant lawn-raker

I don’t know yet what I want to do
But whatever I do, what’s it to you?    (They love to say that ..dont they?)
I’ll have you know I’m only ten (Unquote) (or fourteen)
(Quote)Whatever I’ll be, Let me tell you chappy, 
I plan to be ext-urr-emely happy,

Whatever I will be, 
I will be me.   


So Abhay…..whatever you want to be….just plan to be extremely happy with who you are and what you do! Here’s wishing you fourteen more adventures this fourteenth year!           A small request however….. go a little easy on your amma! 😊                                                                 


  1. Well written as always. No hiding of your emotions & apprehension of bringing up an adolescent son.
    You must have noticed some change in him recently. Encourage him for good things he does & he must realise he gets disapproval for is not right.So much he definitely can understand in the process of growing up !
    What he wants to be when he grows up well but you have given him many options to choose from. Ultimately it will be his decision & we parents are only facilitators.
    With Best Wishes.

    1. Thank you so much Appa...I have your wise counsel at every step and of course our arguments too! Thank you for all your encouragement!

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