Thursday, September 28, 2006

Auntie, what are you Doing

I was sitting in the sandbox, playing with Anjali outside her school the other day.  A bunch of “senior” kindergarteners were also playing there.  

Most of the kids were looking at me kinda strange.  I figured it was because I was foreign.  After a while, one candid little boy came over to me and asked point-blank, “Auntie, what are you doing?” It was like he didn’t understand why I would be sitting in the dirt, under the noonday sun, making mudpies and such with my daughter.  I guess maybe his mom isn’t as hands-on.

Soon, he took me into his confidence.  He invited me take a “spear,” saying we could have a nice fight.  I told him I was too busy playing in the dirt, and besides it’s not safe with little ones like Anjali about.  He agreed, and then admitted he was already fighting a boy who was standing nearby, talking with a teacher.  “Are you winning?,” I asked him.  “Yes, ” he said, and as if to prove it he gave the boy in question a nasty knock with his “spear.”   That unleashed an outcry from all the teachers and other children.  “That’s not right, Nikhil, now tell Joseph you are sorry,” the teacher demanded.  Nikhil had actually apologized the minute he saw he was caught, so the apology was uttered before the teacher could finish her sentence.  I guess apology isn’t enough on Indian playgrounds, because the teacher went on to insist that they shake hands and reconfirm that their friendship was in good standing. “Good friends,” she prompted.  “Good friends,” each boy muttered as they hastily shook hands and went back to the business of playing.  

Anjali and I just watched enthralled, but I was feeling guilty because I wasn’t sure that I hadn’t been a catalyst.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My sister and I are half American (mother) and half Indian! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.