MALINI MATTERS

Malini Sekhar
Gaithersburg Md

Malini does restaurant review "Table Talk" on Image-in-Asian Television


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INFANTS AND INDEPENDENCE

When scientists spend their entire lifetime doing research to see if children speak to each other in 'Goo Goo Ga Ga', I have found out, by fluke, that they do! I found out that babies have well developed minds and can communicate to each with rather astonishing intelligence.

Those of you who work in the field of medicine, can probably prove me wrong, but I stay strong to my belief, because I have physical proof. I have a transcript, written by my own hands, of such an instance of communication that took place just recently. This happened at one of the Indian associations' (of which the name escapes my memory for the moment) meetings to discuss and plan a celebration of India's 50th anniversary of independence. Two Indian babies were talking to one another from across their mother's laps!

Now, generally we would see babies communicating by drooling over each other, knocking each other senseless, or an occasional, "Ga Ga (or the equivalent in another Indian language). However, for some unknown, unexplainable reason, I heard these two talking in plain English.

Here is the transcript. Keep in mind, this was just two children talking in the midst of a sea of infants chattering all around the room. (The babies' names have been changed for security reasons. We will call the female infant Jhansy, and the male infant Subhash.)

Jhansy: "Do you know what the purpose of this association meeting is today, Subhash? By the way which baby Indian association is this now. I hope we are not here for another controversial debate on whether 'North' Indian samosas are better than 'South' Indian samosas. You know, those arguments continue for hours, and if you ask me, I would prefer a plastic pacifier to a samosa any day".

Subhash: "Don't worry Jhansy, they already resolved that issue last time, by forming another baby association. I think we are here today to discuss how this association will celebrate the 50th anniversary of India's Independence. I hope they do not opt to have an Indian movie star come and jump up and down on a stage, with a minimal amount of clothes on. My father would enjoy that but, I would have liked to see, a well-put-together program celebrating the richness and diversity of the Indian culture and art, but I am sure that won't happen. Not even if we both cry for it, in unison, at the top of our voices."

Jhansy: "Well, 'minimal wear' may be justified as it is a Gandhian policy. But when I think about India's independence or independence in general, I think about the many freedom fighters who devoted and sacrificed their lives, so that others may live free. So I agree with you, but I also think our parents should help inform the younger generation (that's supposed to be us, of course) of the significance of this Independence day and why it's so important to celebrate on a grand scale.

But when I say grand I don't mean one of those exclusive baby dinners that cost a hundred toys per child. I could stand some of the pointless, redundant speeches. I could even stand some of the babies who are so obsessed with meeting a shallow movie star's or politician's kid. But not serving Gerber Apple Sauce during the dinner, would just be too much for me to handle. I would just freak out !"

Subhash: "I just hope that they don't make it so that those white babies start laughing at us for making a mockery of the whole independence thing. I have an image to uphold you know. At the rate they are going now, we may not even have one of those dinners anyway. These loudmouthed babies can't even agree on who will speak first in this meeting. I don't understand why they can't handle things like you and I do. With the exception of the occasional biting (I mean those innocent bytes, not Mike-Tysonly bites ), we are extremely peaceful in the way we handle things. After all, I don't think freedom fighters like Gandhi and Tilak worked so hard to see Indian infants around the world fight about who gets to hold the blankie."

Jhansy: "I totally agree with you Subhash. The babies here are all chattering in their own languages, mainly about other children here, so I think we should just start crying so that we can leave before things get messy. Nothing is going to be accomplished and every one is going to forget all their manners and start yelling at each other."

Subhash: "Speaking of manners, have you ever wondered why our parents are so ill-mannered in public places? I mean, even we are not that bad!"

Jhansy: "Well, you better get used to it because that's a part of our parents' culture, just like how they like to make funny faces and strange voices, in the name of amusing us, is also part of the culture.

Uh, excuse me, my dribble is dripping... let me wipe it and throw it on my moms sari ...

So where was I? ... Oh yeah, come to think of it, as we grow older it is our turn to run around in public places. Like while there is a program on stage, I have seen the older ones get a chance to run up and down the aisles and scream. I guess that's how we avenge ourselves for the wrong doings that occur against us now. I have heard that some of you boys take revenge as you get to be parents, by running up and down the hall outside the auditorium. I think us girls, just sit inside and make jealous comments about the dancers."

Subhash: "I'd love to stay here and chat Jhansy, but this confused-looking girl (now he is talking about me) has been staring at us and taking notes, and that's kind of scary. I know the adults aren't smart enough to understand our language, but if she understands us by some chance, we may get into trouble. See you later! I am sure we will bump into each other at one of the thousand and one events, on August 15."

Jhansy: "See you, and have your mother bring a lot of diapers that day, because no matter what they decide to do, I'll bet it's going to be a long, long day! I better start screaming because this girl is probably writing some incriminating things about me."

At this point, the babies just turned their faces away from me and stopped talking to each other.

For a moment or two I stood there dumbfounded. As I was leaving the place I started wondering: instead of talking about their toys or something like that, why were they talking about India's Independence day and Indian culture? Could it be a sign? Or did the babies just have indigestion, since at the meeting they didn't have the privacy to burp?

Most amazingly, why was it that only I could hear it and no other adult present there? Am I the chosen one!