That is not I in your book , my Son .
If you say so . No , of course it’s not .
As time goes by , how precious you grow
How fragile , how beautiful
How ineffably tender , Mother !
Are we friends now ? I still worry about you , though
And I know you worry about me .
Not I . For me you are invincible
Indestructible , omnipotent
Hey , I’m still alive . And I do have other children
If you remember .
And Father , who is the oldest of them .
You will not be disrespectful to your father .
I wouldn’t dare . But oh yes , my siblings .
I often think you love my sister best .
They say it’s you . But I refuse to play this game . It’s so irrelevant and the question itself is wrong .
Now you are a little girl.
Now you have a little plait
That you roll into the littlest bun.
Now you have the tiniest bindi
Black with a line under it
Like the Panditji taught you to wear
For my sake when I was born , isn’t it , Mother ?
Get away with you . I have work to do .
I’ll help you shell those peas mother
I’ll help you peel potatoes
Your eldest is an idler but of a helpful sort
Am I not , Mother ?
Good that you are doing something useful with your hands . But your work is waiting , Son . I can manage the cooking .
Mother , your sari is so soft .
Mother , I miss you so when I go away .
Mother , teach me another old song
A song that you love .
My Son , you break my heart .
My Son , you are too gentle for this world .
Don’t get hurt , my Son .
No , Mother , I won’t
At least , not more than most
Not more than is absolutely essential .
You have brought me up well , Mother .
Now go have a bath . Lunch will be ready by the time you come back .
Yes , Mother .
( He just refuses to grow up .
What will he do when I am gone ? )
( ASA )