There was a time many, many years ago when having the best and being the best was extremely important to me. It didn’t matter who had what, I never compared myself to anyone. I only believed I had the best of everything, and so it was. This expressed itself in many hilarious announcements of greatness...or more correctly, perceived and misplaced exaggeration. This phase lasted till I was ten. Thereafter it took the form of quiet confidence and acceptance. I suppose age and related maturity that at most times follows, played a major role, which is good but I miss the humour it used to produce. I mean I appreciate it now, in hindsight!
One day, when as usual, I couldn’t find something that actually sat right below my nose, my brother commented that I had potatoes instead of eyes. This would have gone down quietly if it hadn’t been for a conversation with Daddy about the Irish people and the spuds that formed a staple diet in their country. So I knew that spuds were bigger than the potatoes we were used to. So how could I have simple potatoes for eyes?
Drawing myself up to the maximum my tiny stature would permit, I declared loud and clear, “I don’t have potatoes I have spuds,” which sent everyone into a fit of laughter. It needs no saying that I thought they were dimwits and it would be useless to make them see, that I had bigger potatoes for eyes than they imagined.
There were quite a few similar instances, but I will skip that for now. Many, many years later my younger son out-did me with a whopper. He was a little genius at three, who couldn’t understand why he had to study Hindi when he was planning to marry an American who wouldn’t understand a word of the language. What made this rationale interesting was that he could barely speak English beyond a few words. He had many more questions about other subjects, which he felt he was wasting time on. He loved sports, story-telling, drawing, sketching and such things, what I’m getting at is, grades meant nothing at all to him. As long as he passed each exam, percentages and rank were immaterial.
Alarmed by his nonchalance, my husband spoke to him about the importance of academics and why in our system rank and percentage played an important role in the examination results. He listened with rapt attention quite unusual for him. His report card lay open on the table, his rank 25/52. He looked at his father seriously, another unusual thing and said seriously (very unusual indeed) “Papa, I promise I will do better next time. I promise I will come 30th next time.” You could tell where he got that from! Well we laughed our guts out, and this was the last serious conversation father and son had. However, in his defence I must add that a couple of years later, he earned himself a swanky new bicycle by ranking in the top ten.
Yeah, kids say the darnedest things. I’m glad I had my time of quipping!