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Sunday, March 21, 2010

On Take-offs and Blast-offs

In those days we used to take turns to travel to Karachi. M would visit her parents and I would baby sit the kids for a week. Some months later I would take off for a week. On one of those trips I decided to take our first born along. He was perhaps 4 or 5 then. There were no direct flights. Toronto, NYC, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Islamabad, Karachi - five take-offs and destinations.

At each take-off our conversation went something like this:

a: we are blasting off
t: we are not blasting off, we are taking off
a: no, we are blasting off
t: nahin baitay, we are taking off...

At about this juncture I would go into a somewhat detailed explanation about aerodynamics - weight of aircraft, the jets' thrust to propel it into air, and then compare similar dynamics of the rocket - the weight of the rocket and the total thrust of its engines to propel it out into orbit, in a language that a five year old would comprehend. Understandably, this lasted for quite some time. He would listen attentively for a while, drift off to some other subject, will return to the take-off-thrust discussion again and this would be repeated till he nodded his understanding, or till the next take-off!

Finally, we landed in Islamabad. In the terminal as we lined up for immigration someone tapped my shoulder. I turned back to find a fellow passenger. He said, 'I hope you do not mind my saying this but I have been sitting in the row behind you and I must commend you on your patience in explaining take-offs and thrust. You are a wonderful single parent...' or words to that effect...

Suddenly all my jet lag dissipated...

That was then...

Today, he is an irreverent iconoclastic young man who is opinionated and sometimes brash, and friends meeting us for the first time say we are so alike, and I protest -how can we be similar? I show respect and courtesy, even to strangers, do not use/abuse language like he does...

We did inculcate mental open-ness, inquisitiveness,thinking outside the box, but always with love and respect for others. All is not lost.

If I sound harsh and narrow-minded you should see when I come to his rescue when M wants to dispatch him to the moon. Well, sometimes I have no choice - I have to defend him. Wouldn't you if she would start off with 'your son...' a big hint of what is about to follow or 'he has taken after you, he....' followed by the latest...ahem...indiscretion?

The other son never lands in trouble...of course he is her son:)


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