Friday, September 19, 2008

Something I love doing

“Please do not forget to give my teacher a picture of me doing something that I love most”, said the note supposedly written by my son that he got home from school.

A seemingly simple request – after all, how hard can it be to pick a single picture out of the many that we have clicked – but on closer thought, one almost impossible to fulfill.

What is it that my not yet five year old loves most?

He loves jigsaw puzzles and is excellent at them – he could put together 25 piece puzzles just a couple of months after his third birthday. But is that what he enjoys most? Perhaps not – at one time, he definitely loved puzzles, but he no longer seems as fond of them as he once was. Not a picture of him putting together a jigsaw puzzle then.

There is a gorgeous picture of hanging down with his legs tucked into the climbing bars of the slide in the playground. And another of his exalting as he slides down the same slide. Few photographs capture as much sheer joy and exuberance as those two pictures do. But is that what he loves most – not really. He enjoys himself whenever he is taken to the playground, but if it were something he loved doing most, he would be pestering me to take him down to the playground a lot more than he actually does.

My son loves being read to, and even more he loves reading to his younger brother. There are some gorgeous pictures of the two boys lying on the bed, reading a book. That would definitely qualify as one of his favorite pastimes, but perhaps not the one he loves most of all.

Truth be told, the one thing my son loves doing, seemingly more than anything else, is watching TV. I am sure I must have a picture of him watching TV somewhere, or I could click a picture anytime. But is that an accurate portrait of my son? Sure he watches more TV than I would like him to, but I personally feel that TV is more a habit with him than a passion.

He loves fighting with his brother – kicking, pushing, pulling his hair, having all that done to him and wailing his guts off when it starts hurting. The amount I have to yell at him for getting physical with his brother, I would think that is his favorite pastime. But to be fair to him, he just sees it as a part of the big picture of loving his brother and to call it something he loves doing to do him a great injustice.

He does love his brother a lot, and loves just being with him. Sometimes they are chummy and hug and kiss each other, at times one wants a public display of affection while the other pushes him away, and most of the time they just sit together till one pinches the other and starts off a dogfight. They both love doing it, or do they?

The last couple of weeks, my son has started loving his homework. He feels this tremendous sense of achievement when he manages to write a three letter word in joined handwriting, and he really looks forward to those moments of triumph. I could stick a picture of him writing, but that would seem like sucking upto the teacher, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

He loves watering plants, loves making sprouts, loves hunting for pretty and not so pretty stones, loves squashing insects, loves making complicated clipo structures, loves shooing away pigeons, loves pretending to be a Power Ranger, loves making up stories about Spiderman, loves eating pomegranates, loves talking about carnivorous animals, loves singing his favourite BoneyM songs, loves the idea of going on coffee meets, loves playing with babies, loves helping people, loves drawing dragons, loves ….. The list is endless, which one should I pick?

My son probably loves running more than anything else. Just running – not running to get anywhere, not running in a race, not running as a part of some game – just plain and simple running. Should I then send in a picture of him running?

He also loves sitting in quiet contemplation – “kabhi, kabhi mujhe chup rehna accha lagta hai”, he once told me. Is that the picture that I should send?

Forty-eight hours of thinking about it, and I still do not know which picture to pick. And I know I never shall – the only sensible thing to do would be to pick a picture with my eyes closed and send that to the teacher.

Isn’t childhood a wonderful time – there are so many things you love doing, and you don’t have enough time to do them all. Why can’t life be a bit more equitable – why can’t adults continue to do the things they loved doing when they were children, and continue to love doing those things?

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