Saturday, January 2, 2016

Why?

How many of you have babies? Nieces? Nephews? You'd understand right away what I'm trying to convey here. I have a niece who is three years old. She's the most prettiest, cutest thing you'd ever see. She loves the camera, poses, smiles enchantingly and calls out to you in the most cute ways possible when you're angry with her for any reason. She makes me melt as she hops onto the world where children finally realise that they're not going to be able to communicate with adults unless they shed their godly chitter-chatter and talk to us in a language we can comprehend. She's three and very, very intelligent.

We have conversations now and then, Baby and I. It takes interesting patterns. Her current favourite conversation fixative is 'Why'.

No Baby! you shouldn't go there. 
Why, Chithi? 
Because it's dangerous. 
Why? 
You could very easily get hurt. 
Why?
You might fall down, there is a rough patch there. 
Why, Chithi? 
Because you're a baby and that's what babies do. They keep falling down. 
Oh. Okay! Why? 

You get the idea. Her mind is curious and so inquisitive now that she wants to know why, for anything and everything under the sun. You'd think it's cute a scenario to be sitting with her and talking to her, the beautiful relationship between an aunt and her first niece. Well, it is. But it is also very meandering. I lose my train of thought after four 'Why's and something that simple is what makes it so profound. Simple questions and happenings that I've taken for granted in life need to be explained to her in ways she can understand.

The other day, I asked her to not play behind the cupboards because it's dark and cramped there,standard reason being she could hurt herself. She asked me what 'dark' means. I was stumped. I was at a loss to explain light and shadow right at that point in time. Her nine year old playmate jumped to my rescue and explained it to her. She showed her the sun and she showed her the light on the carpet. She told her that there is no light where that light is obstructed by things and when that happens, darkness happens. She actually explained it way better, I forget the intricacy of her explanation. It sounds simple, right? Try actually answering it at that point in time. I was at a loss for words and a nine year old smoothed through it like a sailor.

How many 'Why's' can you answer before you call it quits? I ask you this because it's a very conscious process for me with respect to the 'material world' I am a part of, even though not with the intensity I'd like it as I write, I create art and design buildings. I am a graduate teaching assistant and I've seen my students from last semester at a loss to answer the same 'Why' that we asked them over reviews. Why did you choose that colour? Why do you 'like' it? Why not a different line thickness? We've seen them smile in despair after a point.

I wonder if we lose connection with the basic questions in life after a point. How would a fifteen year old answer the same question? An eighteen year old? Thirty? Ninety? When did we stop and terminate questioning the things we know? How deep can this series of questions get? Do we not do it because we realise the potential it has to turn us insane merely because this could simply mean an abyss of thinking with no end, that nothing is really certain? Would that break us, people who have now 'evolved' into ones with principles, morals and ethics? Have you ever tried looking into the mirror for a good amount of time? Have you seen how you disintegrate as a whole when you selectively see different parts of your face and later on, you don't recognise yourself? Eyes, nose, ears... they start to appear funny and misplaced on you. Have you ever felt that? That's the closest thought that comes to my head currently along this line of thought.

Would it be a good idea to question layer after layer of accepted (both personal and societal) constructs and thoughts? What would happen if you push yourself? Would it lead you towards excitement or would it throw you into a canyon of futility? And what does that tell you about yourself?

Why do I ask all this? 
Just curious. That's all.

Why am I curious?
It's interesting to see how your minds work and perceive concepts, ideas, boundaries and morality.

Why is that interesting you ask?
Doesn't it make you feel like every person is a world, a universe within themselves? 

Why should it?
Because we seem like millions of permutations and combinations put together at the level of neurons, body, culture, social... Wait, I see what you're doing. 

You have a good year, alright? I'll go call my niece and tell her that existentialism might be one of the directions she'd lead me to if I kept this up.

'Why, Chithi?' 

My darling niece on her third birthday! :) And in case you don't know what 'Chithi' means, it mean younger aunt in my mother tongue, Tamizh. (Mother's younger sister-Chithi) 

Have a happy new year, folks!

Love,                                        
Hemu 

6 comments:

  1. Good post. And yes i identity with the mirror bit, our body parts viewed in isolation looks funny, weird and gross. Somehow this post also reminded me of Cat Steven's Father & Son, especially the line '....from the moment i could talk, i was ordered to listen..' Adults do have an uncanny knack of putting out the sparks of curiosity children exhibit. And yeah a very happy new year to you and yours. :)

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    1. True that. It's an interesting process,what we grow up to be. Thank you for writing in. Do stay connected!
      Hemu

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Katie!
      Love,
      Hemu

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  3. Beautifully written :)
    Happy New Year to you too!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Anna! Rock the year ahead. :)

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