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Monday, May 25, 2015

There are many ways to run a supermarket.

Isha’s latest interest is in playing ‘shop-game’. If she could, she would play it all day long everyday. All kinds of shops – cassette, book, medicine, food, toy. We’ve made some paper currency called ‘Zoni’ that we use when we play.

One day last week, she wanted to play a ‘Supermarket Game’. She was going to be the customer and I, the shop-keeper (because she does not know how to write a bill, she told me.) After setting everything up, she entered the room and I said “Welcome to our supermarket! How are you today?” She started bawling saying “That’s not what you say when someone enters your supermarket!” Not whining, or crying, but bawling. To a stranger, this might seem bizarre that a perfectly cheerful kid could suddenly start bawling over something so trivial. But I’m quite used to it, since I know that in her world, especially when she starts playing a ‘pretend game’, she takes every detail very seriously. It took me a long time to understand that she had a very specific kind of exchange between the customer and the shopkeeper in mind. When that didn't happen, it upset her. I tried telling her all sorts of things “Different supermarkets are run in different ways. Doesn’t Sajee mama greet and welcome people when they walk into restore?” Nothing seemed to console her a bit.

Now, when I’m also relaxed and in the right space, such situations, which are not at all rare, become interesting challenges to my creativity. I was put on the spot, and I had to come up with something.

I started talking about how there are many different ways to do everything. I said “There are many ways to smile.” making funny faces smiling in different ways. “There are many ways to scratch your nose!” and did the same. In a second, her bawling turned into intense laughter from her belly. The supermarket game, which we never resumed after that, turned into a song. Her life is like a musical, where she’d often break into a song in the middle of a conversation! We started enacting the many different ways one could do each thing. (Some of the words are hers, and some are mine.)

There are many ways to cry, there are many ways to fry,
There are many ways to fight, there are many ways to light,
There are many ways to run, there are many ways to have fun,
There are many ways to run a supermarket.

There are many ways to dance, there are many ways to advance,
There are many ways to sing, there are many ways to ping,
There are many ways to taste, there are many ways to waste,
There are many ways to run a supermarket.

There are many ways to eat, there are many ways to greet,
There are many ways to tie, there are many ways to die,
There are many ways to laugh, there are many ways to cough,
There are many ways to run a supermarket.

There are many ways to stitch, there are many ways to bitch,
There are many ways to sit, there are many ways to knit,
There are many ways to see, there are many ways to be,
There are many ways to run a supermarket.

By the end of this song, she seemed to be quite convinced that there were indeed many different ways one could run a supermarket. In the end, she laughed saying “If someone thought there was only one way to run a supermarket, that would be so ridiculous!” :) 

1 comment:

Priya said...

reading this just makes me so happy picturing the two of you :)