The day my son told me “Papa, I am no more a baby!”

It was a long tiring day. I was finally able to wrap up my work after attending a magical number of patients. I decide to take some ice creams and chocolates to home. I purchase the Ice creams with a dual purpose of relishing them in the sweltering heat and also to cool my wife’s tempers. Hopefully, I will be successful in at least one of them, as the success rate of the latter is abysmally low.

Doctor’s wives are both a cursed and curse a lot (to their hubbies). They can’t find quality personal time to spend with their doctor hubbies. Even if they do, it would be when both of them have gracefully aged with every strand of the hair on their scalp turned grey. But, by that time it would be the Alzheimer’s and the senescence of love hormones which plays the spoilsport.

My professor was once asked “You seemed to be arrested by your youthful age.What’s the secret of your happiness?”

He gave the most practical answer “Stay away from your wife ! ” That indeed saves us from curses.  

Well the chocolates were for the little one. Technically, I call him a toddler scholar since on most of the times, he is a question bank. Not because he carries one, but because of his eternal inquisitiveness and a highly infectious curious nature.

This day was not the regular one. He uttered a earth shattering statement when I quickly kissed him on his bubbly chubby cheeks.

He frowns and reacts “Papa, I am not a baby anymore!”

I was stunned for a moment. After regaining my senses, I quickly turned inward for an introspection.

Did this statement, indicate the end of a brief period of child like behaviour of parents like me?

Is teenage related behaviour presenting at earlier ages just as the phenomenon of anticipation observed in genetics?

Do children sometimes stiffle the child like behaviour of parents?

I once read a book that mentioned that each one of us has a child and an adult within us. Our personality and outlook briefly swings in between these two.

Someone has very beautifully said that by the time you realise what your parents said was right, your child will tell you that you are wrong.

That innocent face with glint in the eyes and passionately curious outlook of my son never runs short of the unending list of questions for which we don’t have an answer. A technocrat building voice enabled systems like Alexa, Google assistant and Siri had recently told me that we live in an age where we have a huge repository of information. The missing link is asking the right questions. Going by the same, I purchased an Amazon Alexa to satiate the curious nature of my son. Guess what, Alexa always replies “Sorry, I’m not sure”. My son has now junked the device saying that it is an idiotic toy which only blabbers and never answers !

As a doctor, Let me dissect the world of questions. I personally divide the questions into 3 categories; Basic, logical and right types.

We have incomplete answers for the logical and right questions. A plethora of answers, each with its unique message is possible for these types of questions.However, as adults we transition from basic questions to logical and then right questions. Few examples within the spectrum of basic questions asked by young children include what brings me here, what is this universe all about, why people take birth, why do they age and why do they die?

Do we have answers for them? I am sure, this makes us go blank.

Also, are children also the most spiritual lot? I see that our orientation on this aspect is like a see-saw phenomenon. Whilst in the young ages, we are more spiritual and less religious, most of us become more religious and less spiritual as we age. Do we blame the influence of hierarchical attitudes, our observation due to cliches and fixed stereotypes? I personally don’t have an answer and don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers.

Cutting across all religions, we also introduce mythology amongst our children at a very young age. My son once curiously asked me “Paapa, Why do the birds fly?”

“Come on, it’s so simple, don’t you see that they have wings. As they flutter, the wind beneath their wings makes them soar and fly high up in the sky” I replied emphatically.

He then drops a bomb by asking me. “OK papa. Please tell me how does Lord Hanuman fly even though he doesn’t have wings?” That was a perfect googly. I was clean bowled !  

Also, If we observe very closely, we can see that Children ask existential questions as compared to ideological questions of grown up adults!

But, are extremes of age mirror images? Geriatric and old age adults too are pressed with existential questions. I see this as a bell shaped curve of questions (Image below)

I write this as I see my son sleeping conveniently on his bed. These questions have made me very restless. I am sure that I don’t and can’t find the right answers. Even if I plan to do, I will be having another set of new questions which will make me clueless and push me even harder to think.

I now have one question as to who should be consulted for life questions? The grown ups or children? I leave this to the readers to make their choice!

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