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Back In Time...

When I came out to India in 1994, I had to spend long hours alone as my husband was out for most of the day, on his daily commute to the next city.  I spent a lot of time in the company of my two nephews, Praveen and Prabhat, who were about six and four years old respectively.

Praveen and Prabhat found it fascinating that I didn't speak Hindi and spoke only in English.  They had lots of opportunities to practise their English with me, as they were learning it in school.  I found it very amusing the way they used the language.

Like all kids, they loved to tease.  One day, they were in a very giddy mood, laughing a lot.

"Maria aunty is fat girl," I heard them calling out, laughing loudly.

"Boys!  What are you saying?" I asked them, pretending to frown and show a bit of annoyance.  I decided to play along with this.  Of course I knew I wasn't fat, but they had figured out that the best way to annoy a lady is to make remarks about how fat she is.  Yes, they were smart all right.  And thrilled to think that they had annoyed me.

Later that day, I was lying down in my room, having locked my door.  Coming from the west, I found this habit of people walking in and out of each other's rooms a little difficult.  Privacy is very important to me.  Of course, now I have children of my own, I don't lock the door, but that was then....

I became aware of a scratching and fumbling sound coming from the door.  I looked down from the bed and noticed that someone had pushed a note under my door.  I picked it up. It bore the legend, in a child's handwriting, "Maria aunty is fat girl".

I had a good laugh.  I opened the door and saw the the two boys waiting eagerly for me.  I pretended to be annoyed.  I showed the letter.

Who wrote this?"  I asked.  They acted all innocent,  pretending to know nothing.  I shook my head and frowned.  They seemed to think they had gone far enough.

"Maria aunty, you are thin girl," they assured me.  Well, they were  studying English  in school, and they knew that 'thin' is the opposite of fat.  This made me smile.

"Thanks," I said.  "I'm going to lie down for another half an hour, see you later!"

A few minutes later, I heard a scratching and fumbling at the door.  Sure enough, another note appeared, saying "Maria aunty is thin girl."  It made me laugh out loud.

I asked Praveen yesterday if he remembered that incident.  He is twenty two now and applying for a job and/or higher studies.  He didn't recollect it at all.

Strange!  It's a precious memory for me.


  1. Kids are great. I like that you played along with them, but drew a line that caused them to write a new note stating the truth.

    My pastor is in India now for two weeks. He said in previous visits it is so hot he saw a bird drop dead in mid flight. It was about 120 degress. Sounds like Phoenix here in the summer.

    Stephen Tremp

  2. I love this story... Does he speak perfecy english now?? miss u...

  3. I don't remember what all mischief I was up to when I was five or six years old. Do you? On the other hand, my father keeps remembering funny things and asks me how come I don't remember and I tell him that I am nearing senility.

  4. Cute story. :) I always find it interesting what our kids remember and what we remember about them. They're often quite different. I'm grateful that my kids have fond memories about how we interacted. I remember the times I lost my cool.. or didn't listen closely enough. They remember things that we so insignificant to me but fond memories to them. Our mental rolodex truly differs.

  5. That was a lovely story but what a pity that it wasn't remembered by Praveen.
    maggie X

    Nuts in May

  6. Ha ha ha that did make me laugh Maria. It is so funny what children come out with sometimes, isn't it. I love that children often speak first and think later. We get more deceptive as we get older I think.

  7. What a cute story...You thin girl you...:)

    The best part of have a good relationship with nephews is when they grow older you can tease them.

  8. I have memories that are so unimportant to others, but so valuable to me! Memory is a treasure!

  9. Great story, its a shame he didnt remember but it was nice that you could remind him.


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