“Maaaaaaaa! Gueshh what I got…” my little birdie chirped in her ever pleasing sing song voice.
“Hmm.. what is it baby?”
“Gueshh naaaa…!!” the birdie’s voice is gaining frequency the minute. She is every bit her father’s daughter – loving, raucous and edgy.
Looking up at her from the book I am reading, see that her tiny little hand is all balled up into a tight fist and is outstretched towards me.
“Is it a button?” She loves picking up these things from wherever she can.
“Hmm.. is it a marble?”
“Then is it..”
“Never mind maa, I will show you…” and she opens up her fist with a broad smile to show these precious petals from a rose flower, blood red in colour.
I am at a loss at what to tell her. Do I tell her that a plant is a living being, and that she is not supposed to hurt another living thing? But how could – I – who kills cockroaches and mosquitoes, eats non vegetarian food, tell my daughter that it is wrong hurt another living being? This topic is sure to bring a lot of doubts into my birdie’s mind for sure, maybe I cannot handle them all, but I feel I still should try- that is my duty as a mother.
Inhaling deeply, I make her sit down, close to me and tell, “Baby, do you know what these are?”
“Uh huh” pat came the reply with the vigorous nodding of the head, “rose petals. I plucked them myself. Look, they are shoooo pretty”
“Yes they definitely are very pretty, but not as much as you.”
“Now listen to me carefully, the plants and trees that you see around, they are living things, made by God, just like you and me and have a life of their own. Do you remember when Roma aunty’s cat scratched you, how much it hurt? You cried so much and maa had to take you to the Doctor Uncle’s place…”
“Yesh yesh.. it pained sho much”
Aww, my heart goes out to her everytime she goes “shh” instead of “ss”! Is it possible to hold onto these moments forever, never letting my birdie grow up and fly out of my nest!
“Just like that, when we pluck flowers or cut trees, it pains them, and the poor plants cannot even cry.”
The face that was beaming all this while had suddenly become crestfallen, pretty much like the drooping sunflower after a sunset. It hurt me to see her like this.
Springing up from where she was, she suddenly went out of my sight. Now where was this girl off to, with that gloomy expression on her face!
Following the chirping noise, I reach a plant heavy with the weight of blood red roses and find my birdie sitting underneath saying she’s shorry.