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Difficult dialogues

By Nickunj Malik - Jun 20,2018 - Last updated at Jun 20,2018

Last night I bid goodbye to our daughter at the airport. Both of us hid our tearful eyes from each other as her much awaited two-week vacation came to an end and she went back to the United Kingdom. Her life there involved juggling the responsibilities of her marriage, household and job, including all the office politics that accompanied it.

For the short span that she visited us, she only wanted to eat home-cooked meals and go for long walks. Every suggestion of dinner at fancy restaurants was turned down in favour of spending quiet evenings in our company. She came prepared with a lot of questions and I was surprised to notice how carefully she listened to my replies. 

“Mum, how would you deal with this scenario or what would you do in that situation” were her recurrent queries. Some answers came easily but for others I had to delve deep into the recesses of my memory and recall what my own father or mother would have advocated. And then I had to mould it to fit the present predicament and convey to her, as gently as possible. Telling anyone, even your own child, to fulfil his or her obligations, is not easy. 

My inner struggle must be visible to this keen-eyed youngster because she would keep trailing after me with a multivitamin pill, and urge me to swallow it, each morning. Too polite to tell me that I was ageing, this was her way of showing concern towards my wrinkles. “I worry about you ma, you must look after your health,” she admonished me on a regular basis.

On the evening of her departure, as soon as we reached the check-in counter, we were told that her flight to London — by the country’s national carrier — was initially delayed, and then cancelled. With the usual callousness that the ground staff displays towards all passengers, nobody came forward to offer any explanation. The next flight to the same destination was after two days. There was an option of flying immediately in their partner airline, but there was no availability in the class of travel that she had paid for. The refund was to be requested at the customer care centre after the culmination of the journey, which was another way of saying that there would be no reimbursement.

Our daughter had an important meeting that she was chairing in her professional capacity and it was imperative that she reached her office the next day. However, she had purchased this club class ticket with her own salary and she was not keen to travel in a downgraded seat for twelve hours. Her father, who was always looking for ways to extend her stay, was delighted with this turn of events. Clutching her hand baggage, he wanted to head straight back to the car and drive us home. But this meant that she would definitely miss her official function and I could sense the mental battle that she was going through. Always modest about her work, she was not vocal enough about the loss she would suffer jobwise. 

“Mom, what would you do?” she asked me suddenly. 

“We have just fifteen minutes to decide,” our son-in-law added. 

“What would you do mom?” our daughter repeated, looking at me for guidance.

“If I were chairing such an event, I would take any seat, even travel standing up,” I said.

“Thank you! Let’s go,” our daughter exclaimed, hugging me goodbye.

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Comments

The fine equilibrium between knowledge and wisdom is nowhere better experienced than in interactions as our children become adults and we ourselves, senior adults.

Till the time their own knowleges(a liberty I take with the Queen's language) turns into wisdom in its own right.

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