It was hot summer in 1980. At that time we didn't have any refrigerator in our house to quench our thirst with cool drinks or ice water. My mom had gotten a nice mud pot to store water. Water stored in mud pots are good for health. It has an earthen flavour added to it. The mud pot was made to sit on some wet sand laid on the floor so that the wetness in the sand helps in maintaining the coolness of the pot. Whenever we used to feel thirsty we used to drink the water from the pot. MMMMM it was heavenly!! Even now after so many years when I think about it I can feel the taste pass through my tongue to my throat. No ice water or mineral water can beat the taste of it. These days I see the improvised version of the mud pots . They come with a tap attached to them . A way to make us lazy so that we need not bend down, open the lid and take water to drink.
Ok,now coming to the point, One day I wanted to get something from the loft in the kitchen. I put a stool next to the mud pot and climbed on top of it . When I was getting down, the stool accidently tilted on the pot slightly. But thank god nothing happened to the pot other than a small crack. It didn't strike my little brain then that a small crack or a big one is the same as far as a mud pot is concerned. The only saving grace is small crack means the water leaks out slowly whereas a big crack makes all the water to seep out in a second. I was happy that the pot didn't break. Later that evening my mom asked me and my sister whether we had broken the pot since water was leaking from it. She had started the investigation I thought. My heart started pounding with fear. I was scared that I would be scolded so I told my mom that I hadn't done anything. My sister also came with the same answer. My mom was so innocent that she strongly believed that her daughters wouldn't lie to her --- belief in her upbringing I guess! I thought "Ok, I am saved ." Since we both were out of her doubt-list her next target was our maid Mary. Mary also told that she hadn't done it. But my mom told, "If nobody has done it does the pot have hands and legs to move around and break on its own. May be, Mary you would have done it when you were filling the pot with water." Though aware of the real truth I pretended not to know anything atall about the pot. When my mom was scolding Mary I just kept quiet. I was guilty but I didn't dare to accept my fault.
If I had admitted the truth I would have been scolded first for breaking the pot and then for hiding it and then for telling lies. After all that, when my dad came home the whole story would have been narrated. And he would start his part of lecturing I thought. Now when I try to discipline my daughter she says "annoying parents with boring lectures". (When I was a kid we could only think about such comments inside our brain. No voicing it out . But now our kids have ultimate freedom to voice their thoughts. May be our tolerance level is much higher than our parents.Three cheers to the new age parents!!) When my dad hit it was more fierceful --u know the force of men.Thats why now when my husband raises his hands to hit my children I try to defend them --- experience speaks. My mom was not that forceful. At the most she used to pull my hair when combing or give one beating on my shoulder. To avoid getting beatings from my dad I decided to play safe. I moved out of the scene. I felt sorry for Mary but what could a ten year old little girl think about other than saving her own back from beatings. Mary tried to explain but it was of no use. Till a new pot was bought everyday there was a talk about the broken pot whenever someone would ask for "pot-water". Though no one knew who the real culprit was, inside I felt guilty.
Years passed . I was in college then. By this time there was a refrigerator in our house. No more pot-water ,it was ice-water now. When one day we were recollecting about the nostalgic memories of childhood I told my mom the real story about the broken pot. She couldn't believe that I could have been such a culprit who lied to her and made another person the scapegoat. She felt sorry for having scolded Mary. I told her that even I felt sorry for making Mary get all the scolding for my mistake. My mom was very much disappointed when I told her the truth. She told me if I could lie for such a trivial matter , what all other things I would have hidden from her. She told that I had broken all her beliefs on me. After a few days we bacame loving mom and loving daughter again. I understood that nothing in this world could ever change the love of a mom for her kids. Atlast my guilt was gone . Though I had forgotten about it, where ever Mary is now she would not have forgotten about it I guess. It took so many years for me to admit the truth.
Coming to the present, just like my mom I too expect my kids to be very truthful to me. I imagine that they don't lie to me and I don't want to accept the fact that as children they say lies out of sheer fear and not with any intention of cheating us . I forget what I had done when I was a kid. I portray myself to them as a disciplined child who always listened to her parents and did only goody goody stuff in her life---Long time memory loss of all the mischiefs I did. I tell them that I used to be a smart girl, sweet girl --all kinds of superlatives added behind my name. Till my children don't bombard me with questions like, "Mama what rank did you get? " Were you the number one in your class? Didn't you fight with your friends? , Didn't you loose things ? Didn't you bring back your lunch? Didn't you even once say a lie? etc. I am safe. But those days are not far away. Forgetting about my childhood mischiefs, rather purposefully trying to black them off , I expect my children to inherit only the best genes from me . I focus only the positive side of me to them. All my drawbacks are hidden inside a drawstring bag.
I feel it is my parental duty to teach them good morals. So I don't even want them to tell me any white lies. I pass on to them the same age-old stories told by my parents about how God will help the parents to find out the truth and about the good books and bad books of God . I try to deprive them of telling a lie and enjoying the moment of escape and relief, though I know they are cleverer than me in hiding the truth ---as in a tamil proverb "hiding a whole pumpkin inside the rice". Me too like my mom feel that if I let them lie to me for smaller things in life then later in their life what all bigger lies they will tell me though I know it is also a survival-defence-technique in life. But my kids deal with my strictness very diplomatically. Anything wrong they do ,they come up with a clever answer "Mama by mistake we did, mama accidently we did". According to them they are not lying , but accepting their mistake in a much dignified way.I am helpless at that moment. Not able to chide them or punish them like how my parents did , I warn them by saying, "ok better don't repeat it next time" . Just trying to be in their shoes with the hope that if I am little bit lenient with them now, then after a few years there won't be any need for them to make late (very late) confessions like me. Extreme talent and imagination is also needed to cook up a lie that others cannot find out. I feel as long as a lie can make others happy and doesn't hurt or affect anyone it is acceptable. If my parents had been more acceptable about this fact may be I would have let the cat out of the bag within a few days instead of carrying the guilt for so many years. Accepting the fact white lies are permissible is better than complete denial to it. As an accepting parent we become more approachable to our kids . So let us for the time being become fans of white-lies club. Sometimes we have to admire the innocent lies they say in the name of defence.
I am making all this confessions with a slight hope that my kids won't read this. In case they do read then I am sure I am digging my own grave because from next time onwards they will come up with new stories to cover up their mistakes. But out there I know there are a few good hearted?? friends waiting to make my kids read this. Even after all this realisation I end this here with age old strong motherly belief and instinct that MY CHILDREN WILL ALWAYS TELL ME THE TRUTH!!