भातुकलीच्या खेळामधले राजा आणिक राणी is a lovely song sung by veteran Marathi singer Arun Date, who died last year. भातुकलीचा खेळ is the game kids play with toy kitchen set. Children play with this set in the childhood and are the favourite game of the girls. I have the pleasure of playing the game currently with my granddaughter. There is so much fun. The girls exactly follow what their mothers do. Mothers be careful, your babies are watching you. I won’t be surprised if I am told to look after the baby while their “Mumma” checks her WhatsApp messages. My granddaughter Rhea plays different roles, sometimes she is cooking and sometimes she is making tea for the guests. Sometimes Rhea goes out to the clinic while I look after her baby. After “coming home” she checks if the baby had eaten well and slept well. How realistically they play such games.
Sometimes her play acting is over in ten minutes, and at other times she is done in thirty minutes. The minute the game is over, her mind switches over completely, 100%. If I ask her something about her previous playacting, she says, “Now don’t ask. I am painting”. How quickly the children can switch over. To me, this is an art. Are we adults able to make this switch so quickly? Can we entirely withdraw from what our children and grandchildren are doing? Do we stop playing भातुकली? Are we ready to retire 100%? No, we are not able to do so!
Rhea never takes any help from me. She is very clear about what she wants to on that day. Sometimes Rhea has two kids, and sometimes one. She does not like interference from me. I have to sit there and play act as per her wishes. While setting up her भातुकली, she sometimes makes errors, sometimes she can set up things the way she likes. But she does not allow me to interfere.
Are you getting what I am saying? Our children grow up, start working get married and start leading their own lives. They may or may not seek your advice. But are we able to handle this and remain away from suggesting a few things to them? My son got married before both of them were 25 years of age. We had sent them a formal email, even in those days. We said in the mail, “Now that both of you have crossed the age of 25, we feel that you have matured well. In future, we will not give you any unsolicited advice. Now that you are gaining your world view, we may seek some suggestions from you, if it is ok with you!” In this way, we expressed that our भातुकली was over as far as they were concerned. We have continued to follow the method we had suggested, and I feel that it is a great success.
Each person or a couple gets their own experience in life, once they start their life. I had mentioned in one of my blogs about concentric circle theory about our lives.
We begin in a circle with our parents. Once we marry, our parents go in the outer circle. If and when children are born they come in our inner circle. Children create their circle when they marry, and we go in the outer circle. So life goes on! Shifting to outer circle is a changing point in our lives, that is when our भातुकली should taper off and over as early as possible. We should create our new circles and life will go on!
Each generation has their way of living life. No two generations live the same experience. How many of us can switch our thoughts 100% to the modern times? If we can’t do it then is it not our way of thinking that we are carrying forward as baggage? How does this baggage help us? If we do not interfere in our children’s affairs, the worst thing that can happen is they might get a setback, but they will learn from mistakes. We also had our setbacks when we were young. The current young generation is a bit lucky that some of us were in similar fields as them, during our working days. We never had that advantage.
At some stage, we need to a take a call about the storage of unused but perfectly usable stuff that we have at home. Give things away to whoever wants, your children or maybe some needy people. I am sure your cellar is full of them. Let the needy enjoy things. Your children may want them for emotional reasons. In many homes, children live in distant countries and have spent half their life abroad. What relevance will an old study table have to them? Do they need your भातुकली? Do they have a connection to even modern homes or cars we may have?
While writing this blog, I thought about Wordsworth’s poem “My heart leaps up when I see the rainbow in the sky” has a line, “The child is the father of the man”! One of the meanings of this line is
- The exact nature of a person doesn’t change with time or age.
- The conduct of a child indicates what he will become when he grows up.
These two meanings of the line are clear but why is the human not able to withdraw from his भातुकली as he grows older. Girls do it beautifully while play acting. Does it mean that Wordsworth misjudged human nature? I am sure that Wordsworth must have suggested this to be a general statement, but a substantial percentage of people are not able to practice what they did so well in the childhood!
I feel that it makes sense to be practical about our life. After a certain age, when HIS call will come for us to shut our भातुकली, we do not know! Why not make it easy for others by winding down in time?