Sunday, June 28, 2015

The paradox of Indian mythology and the times when your munchkin makes you feel dumb...

Raya is obsessed with some specific Indian mythological characters ever since we got her a book comprising a compilation of stories of 'Lord' Krishna. While there are quite a few life lessons to be learnt from Indian mythological stories, accompanying some of these life lessons are also some regressive concepts . These can be quite confusing for little ones .

In subtle ways, some stories in the book demonstrate concepts I really wouldn't want my little daughter to get exposed to at this age. For example, some of the stories very casually glorify concepts like polygamy by mentioning Krishna and his multiple wives. 'D' and I were quite at a loss when at a point in one of the stories, when Krishna accepts the hand of an 'indebted' King's daughter for marriage, Raya posed the very valid question, 'Why is Krishna marrying again? He already has a wife .Rukmini is his wife.' Then there is an instance where a King and his wife offer prayers / sacrifices and go through a whole lot of painful rituals to have a boy borne to them after a series of daughters. These are only just a couple of the concepts that I find pretty regressive in mythological stories. We literally have to make conscious efforts to tone down stories wherever possible to bring out meaningful social messages and moral lessons, that would prove useful in Raya's development . It's tough though and it can be quite overwhelming trying to answer questions to a 3.5 year old as truthfully as possible, and in ways that would add value to her life!

That's for the darker side . On the brighter side, there are quite a few other important life lessons to be imbibed by little ones from these stories . Most of us are aware of the significance of those .  I have also  learnt quite a 
few names of Indian mythological characters, myself, from my little munchkin. Characters I was not quite aware of or remember. My little one loses no chance to remind me that Krishna's bird is called Garuda Garuda helps Krishna save many a kingdom Mura and Narakasura, the bad boys are punished by Krishna etc. etc.

In fact, it was quite comical when once, in a confused state, Raya made a statement, 'Mama, maybe Krishna is a bad boy because he hits people with his discus' . Oh well, now what could I say about that,coming from a land that worships Krishna, the polygamist, and all his incarnations :)

Now that's that. Obsessed that Raya is with this book of Krishna stories, yesterday while browsing through the book, she came across a picture where Krishna's body appeared purple rather than the conventional blue that generally everyone associates personifications of Krishna with. Raya asked,  'Who made Krishna purple, mama?' I was in the middle of something and tried my best to provide an answer that would make sense to her, 'Raya, the people who wrote the book' . Pop came a completely unexpected statement from Raya, 'Mama, you mean the author and the illustrator?'. I was too dumbfounded to react ! Felt really dumb and just about manageed to say, 'Yes', in response to her query. Once I had recovered enough, I asked Raya, 'Raya, how do you know about the author and the illustrator ?' . Munchkin replied, 'Ms. Amber told us that author writes books and illustrator draws pictures'

Ms. Amber is Raya's class teacher at  pre-school. This is one of the instances that I have  not blushed, but instead have actually felt good and laughed out loud at being made to feel dumber. So thank you Ms.Amber for all that you do for my little munchkin. Here's hoping that there will be many more such 'feeling dumber' moments for me!


NetworkedBlogsViaFacebook said...

Dipanjan Das,
Vidya Sabesan,
Jhum Rajkhowa,
Bosky Mukherjee,
Pallav Chatterjee,
Jan Goswami,
Reneema Hazarika,
Subbu Srinivasan,
Dehu Rajkhowa,
Preetam Rajkhowa,
Meghna Goswami,
Priyanka Baruah Ramkumar,
Syeda Nazbeen like this

Preetam Rajkhowa:

Good writing. Always tough to glean out the good that mythological tales have to convey without being exposed to the not so good. You can only try.

Vidya Sabesan:

Another great writing Priyanka


Pranamika Kakati:

Very well written. My little one has been watching Little Krishna on YouTube and asks me why I scold her when she is naughty unlike Krishna's mum who gives him a cuddle when he's even naughtier and steals buttermilk and lies.

Deepak Kallakuri:

Great writing Priyanka. Some tough questions indeed. Although polygamy among kings was the norm back then to protect kingdoms lest some take advantage through ideas like Doctrine of Lapse. Not contending your thoughts though.


Priyanka Rajkhowa:

Thanks folks!:)


IndivineViaIndiBlogger said...