Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Arbitrary Articulations

When I was a kid, my mother made all my clothes for me. A-L-L of them. The ones that were not made by mom, were made by my aunts. Anyway, you get the picture. The best part was that though mom chose the cloth and the design, I could choose my own button, my own lace. Then the fittings. One fitting before the sleeves were attached. One fitting before the final hemming. One fitting before the buttons and the laces were attached. And then the final trial. How exciting it was! To see the dress take shape from a piece of cloth to a favourite frock!

Each piece of cloth was chosen with care. Comfortable cottons with floral designs. Smart, bright, checked patterns. Once it was brown suede, another time it was purple satin with self prints. Then once it was a soft synthetic bottle-green, matched with cream. My mother and my aunts pored over Sears' catalogues, identified good designs and brought pretty dresses into the world. Scores of photos bear testimony to those lovely dresses.

And then once, I don't remember why, mom could not stitch a birthday frock for me on time. So my parents decided to buy a dress for me. I was highly excited. I was actually going to the SHOP to buy a dress! It was a never-before scenario. I jumped around all day, and finally we went to the shop. There it happened. For some obscure reason, I fell for a blue and yellow monstrosity. I wanted that frock and nothing else. I thought it was fantastic, totally unlike anything I had ever owned. My parents were obviously shocked, but being the nice parents they are, *Ahem*, they gently tried to talk me out of it. They reasoned that I might not like it after I went home. I did not care, I stood my ground. Finally they gave in, the horror was packed, paid for and brought home.

I don't remember liking or disliking it, but I know that I wore it. Photographs tell me so. Among all the pretty pinks, lovely lilacs, this one stands out. Blue and yellow, with patches of white. Oh, how I cringe whenever I see that photo! I even go to the extent of accusing my parents for not having talked me out of buying the dress!

But isn't that what we always do? We think that we are right all the time, in spite of our parents' warnings and advice. We throw tantrums, shout at them, and do what we want, and realize much later, that our parents were right most of the time. [Not all the time. No :)].

It might be that friend whom you thought the world of, but of whom your parents disapproved. It might be that party you wanted to go to, about which your parents had misgivings. Anything. Everything. But the best thing about parents is, that they never say "I told you so". Nor do they hold any of your harsh words or "You don't know anything"s against you. How do they have so much patience? How can they tolerate their kids? Those selfish, stubborn, foolish little packages of overgrown ego?

[Why this post? I have absolutely no idea.]


Mridula said...

I can identify with what you have said. What my father would say now, I would understand it 12 months later. It happened so many times, after a while I became wise and listened hard to what he had to say the first time around. Of course I have disagreed with him many times, but I still listen very carefully to whatever he has to say.

travel plaza said...

Ahh! Shruthi, you've certainly struck a chord here! I remember those innumerable arguments I had with my parents (wince) growing up. Now, I have kids of my own and I'm on the 'other side'I read somewhere that being a parent is the most difficult job in the world. I totally agreee.

Thanks for the great post!

Supremus said...

From "The wonder years"

Karen: Please let me go (asking her parents to let go off her so that she could go to alaska with her boyfriend)

Norma (her mom): We are your parents Karen. You can go anywhere in the world you want to, but we wont let go off you.

-- Says it all :)


Maverick said...

My parents always insisted on just guiding me n not taking me along, so i used to make my own decisions most of the time,some well made, some regretful but then they were MINE.Im still the same stubborn kid n ofcourse as u said parents r always there when u want them irrespective of where u are.do i need to grow up ?!!....thinking.

Harsha said...

Parents know best whats good for their children. And thats why maybe I am a supporter of arranged-love-marriages. They work all the time, dont they, well atleast most of the time.

And like you told, they never tell you "I told you so".

Nice post.

Anitha said...


I guess No explanation from anybody can answer your question "How do they(parents) have so much patience?" and how can parents do all that they do for children...

You need to have your own kids to understand this wonderful relationship between parents and children .. (Its like they say, you cannot understand LOVE until you LOVE somebody)

Swathi said...

i was almost think u r writing the story of my life , my mom used to stitch all my cute lille frocks n lovely lace panties(**blush**) and once we had indeed gone to pick a frock from a shop but my mom promised me that she would stitch me a similar one by next morn .I woke up the next day to find that she had indeed stitched the same patterned dress in much more vibrant colors (sorry for the long comment, got carried away i guess)

Shruthi said...

Mridula: Yeah, not that I don't disagree with parents now, but at least I listen to them :)) [Errr... not ALways though! :(]

Travel Plaza: Ahhh we always realize it when we are in their shoes, huh? Glad you liked the post! :)

Suyog: Ha ha! Indeed says it all :D

Maverick: Think think. I am sure you will arrive at the bitter truth soon ;)

Harsha: Thank you! Arranged-love marriages?? Like in love marriages with the consent of the parents?

Anitha: Yeahhh I guess it has to be experienced to be understood. But right now, it totally stumps me!

Swathi: Ha ha :)) Cute, weren't they?? the best dresses I have ever owned! :)
Heyy no comment is ever too long ;)

sathish said...

it happens with everyone of us, aint it. we always agree to disagree..
we want things to be our way only come what may but realise very late that our parents were right after all.

Viky said...

What we dont realise as kids, and as teenagers, is that they have been there, and done that.

Times may have been different, and the means too, but the end is always the same. They know better, and they know that we wont believe that it hurts unless we burn our hands.

And though their hearts cringe at the sight of their loved one taking risks, their heads say that this is the only way to let their little one learn the way the world is.

Which is why they never say "I told you so". Because they know that a lesson has been learnt in everytime we have crossed the line they have drawn, and they dont want to hurt a tender heart which has just undergone a failure.

When we think that we are right, more often than not, it is on our own little experience. But we forget that their experiences are wiser and richer.

We ought to learn from their mistakes too, for one life is too less a time to commit all the mistakes ourselves.

Forget about the early childhood where we want a doll, a dress or a toy for the time we feel it is something new from the routine toys. As teenagers, at an impressionable age, we feel rebellious. How many times have we hurt our parents' feelings by violating their diktat. We even felt a certain high by doing it just for the heck of it. The first bunked class, the first smoke, the first drink - all things which we chose to hide from parents, because we felt that we are doing something which will change the world.

Cut to the present, where we are responsible, earning and tax-paying citizens. Now we realise all that we did till now was folly, and what do we do? We try to make our kids understand the same thing, but they are a chip of the old block, aint they? They will also do the same old thing.

Which is why a famous female personality, (the name I forget, pardon me) remarked about her child to her mother - "If only I knew parenting was so hard, I would have been a better child."

Inder said...

your mom made your dresses!? that is sweet :)
when we (my brother and I) were kids, my parents used to buy us dresses of same/similar patterns. we used to go out dressed similar :P when we grew older we made a pact that we wouldn't wear similar dresses when we go out together. after we started buying them ourselves, we made sure that we got dresses that had no similarity whatsoever.

PRIDERA said...

How true ... once a stubborn /naughty child and now a mother of a similar child, I can see myself saying almost the same things my mother once used to tell me and I cringed. (my daughter is too little to cringe now... but anyways, I am sure it is going to come sooner or later)
I remember how me and my sister would yell and sometimes even refuse (mostly my sister) to eat when amma prepared Uppit. That is worst tindi to have been discovered on earth we cried. But guess what, now that we are away from amma and have to cook ourselves, the status of uppit in our mind has elevated.

Shruthi said...

Sathish: Hmm, right.

Viky: Very well put, Viky! I have also heard that quote before. Says it all, doesn't it? I am still waiting for your Thrilling adventure :)

Inder: Really sweet, ain't it? :) Only once my mom had made similar dresses for my sis and me... blue pastel with blue floral patterns... we were kids then, and we were really happy to wear them together :D
Now of course, we sometimes share and swap clothes :)

Pridera:Ha ha ha!!! The poor Uppittu!! I have that same kind of feeling towards bread :D

Viky said...

Patience, Shru, patience. Slowly slowly, catch the monkey. :D

Vinod R Iyer said...

I guess we just mature and then get to know things .. They would have experienced things much b4 we do ..
Nicely written.I guess U too are a victim of nostomania :d

Shruthi said...

Viky: That statement can be interpreted in lotsss of ways :D

Vinod:Nostomania? AWAD?? You too? ;)

chitra said...

I truly understand what parents are , the sacrifices, adjustments they have made after becoming a mother.

Yes, we have the fiercest of arguments, when my son interrupts and tells me that I should listen to my mom because I expect him to listen to me!

Shruthi said...

Chitra: Ha ha! Smart son you have ;)

raj plus said...

I have a different take on this. As a child, in choosing the bright 'blue and yellow' dress, you were acting true to your natural instinct and reacting spontaneously. We lose this ability as we grow up and get conditioned by other forces. As adults, we therefore choose what we 'ought to wear" instead of what we 'want to wear'. So, when you look at that photograph, you should actually try to regain that 'childishness', instead of cringing!

Shruthi said...

Raj: Aha! In that case I would prefer to disagree with you on this! I don't want to believe that my natural instinct was indeed to go for that gaudy dress! :)
Anyway, presuming that your reasoning was correct, I should have loved the dress! My memory doesn't tell me that I did. It doesn't tell me that I didn't, either. But I remember a lot of other dresses which I was passionately fond of, and some which I detested. This, it seems to me, was just another dress.

chitra said...

koi shaq? Do read abt one of his smart quickies in my blog.

Veena Shivanna said...

I am reading some of your old posts after you categorised them. I first chose Nostalgia as you explain the nittigrittes so well & this frock nostalgia is too good.
Reminds me those same kind of dresses me & my sister used to wear on many festivals. For us, going to shops buying new clothes was always fun... it was like a planned event,when ever we asked our parents my dad would say, ivattu saayankaala guarantee hosa baTTe tarokke hogoNa.. fun was to shop clothes to everybody on the same day, each of selecting it for others.
My mom was the last one to purchase, I never understood this later she once told me I was not too sure whether you dad had all the money to buy clothes to all of us, this was particularly when we sometime chose the 'costly' ones!
Parents are really great.

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