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Child friendly

By Nickunj Malik - Jul 05,2018 - Last updated at Jul 05,2018

There are certain houses that are extremely child friendly — here tiny kids run around happily because harmful stuff that can be toppled over, is discarded, all electrical fixtures are fitted higher up on the walls, the sofa upholstery matches the right shade of glucose biscuits, and so on. The inhabitants of such homes usually have small children of their own and this arrangement suits them perfectly. All their energy, in any case, is spent on raising the babies and they have no time for aesthetic contemplation.

Our dwelling was like that for a long time, where no matter how many batches of infants came crawling, nothing was damaged! Ever! The gooey stains of spilled baby-food, milk, soup or juice were easily wiped off and the wooden chairs and tables showed not a sign of wear or tear. From cabinets to doorknobs, everything was childproof and nobody baulked when young parents discussed the precise colour of their offspring’s vomit or diarrhoea. We were immune to it because with a hyperactive toddler at home, it was a norm for us, not an aberration, you see?

Our curtains were brown in order to conceal all the miniscule fingerprint marks, coated with chocolate chip cookies, that were wiped there. Ditto was the state of the couch in the formal lounge, which also doubled up as a crib or a diaper-changing table, as and when the situation demanded. Come to think of it, nothing was used exclusively with the purpose of what it was intended for, as one was compelled to improvise on a continual basis.

Like the most famous opening lines of the novel “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, state: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”

Right! With countries like Italy, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Germany, Mexico and Chile crashing out of the FIFA Word Cup this year, many football fans are experiencing similar sentiments as the one quoted in the passage, but here I digress.

Time passed, and soon we were empty nesters. Suddenly, things started to appear exactly where they were placed earlier. Quite tentatively at first, and then with renewed enthusiasm, cream and pastel furnishings made an appearance in our habitat. From trips to foreign countries, many spear — and dagger-shaped artefacts were purchased and artistically decorated around the sitting room area. Czech crystal and Bohemian glassware were added and my spouse’s collection of Cuban cigars was finally rescued from the locked suitcase under the bed, and displayed on low-lying stools. 

In other words, our home, slowly but surely, turned into a major safety hazard zone for children. It was now completely unsafe for them.

“Listen, this couple has small kids,” I exclaimed recently, reading out the guest list.

“How can that be? They are our age,” my husband responded.

“Procrastination of procreation,” I guessed.

“They will mess up the house,” our housemaid said. 

“The house might mess them up more,” I alleged.

“What should be done?” I was beginning to panic.

“Un-invite them,” my housemaid quipped.

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Comments

Have lots of them, kids I mean around the house and nothing would seem unsafe. The paranoia around raising kids is all due to the fact that fewer of them trundle around. The front yard had cattle and the oh so dangerous fodder chopping machine. There were axes and sickles and hammers and swords, guns tok in some cases usually within reach of the enterprising ones. There was the open well in the courtyard with its top, horror of horrors, open!

And the stack of wood which yielded a batch of scorpions whenever rummaged in and the smoothed out orifice in the corner which was said to be occupied by the resident snake, who well, kept the rats in check.

Most, nay all of us lived through those life threatening exposures to tell the tale.Made us tough nuts to crack too, survivors par excellence.

So bring out the spears and axes and the kids too, forget the rounded edges on furniture.

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