Posted by: cochinblogger | May 20, 2011

Kiddie Repartee

Traveling in the back of a van with my son next to me through the pristine Kerala countryside, I was clicking with the camera through the window whenever I saw something arresting. This requires quick reflexes, and at one point I groaned when a scene I liked flashed by and I was too slow to capture it.

My older boy, aged 11, asked what I’d missed. I said I’d seen an ordinary thatched house with the front door open. In the doorway stood a young girl, her arms extended on either side of her body, each hand touching the door frame. In this position, she had framed the doorway with her extended arms, and the doorway in turn had framed her. It was a memorable visual, and would have made a great photo.

My son strove to console me. He knows that I maintain an electronic journal. He said, “Appa, don’t be sad. Just write what you saw, in your diary. Describe it in words.”

I replied, “Son, haven’t you heard that a picture is worth a thousand words?”

I was feeling quietly superior. I’d used an apt proverb, and shown my son how to apply the proverb in a real-life situation. Hopefully, my son would in turn use the proverb appropriately when the occasion arose.

However, it was my son who got in the last word, when he shot back, “Then, Appa, write a thousand words.”

The iron logic of this reply silenced me. My fellow travelers in the vehicle enjoyed a hearty laugh.

I had mixed feelings; I felt a paternal pride, but I must confess I also felt deflated, as though I’d been bested in a battle of wits.


  1. This is just the start!
    As your son grows up there will come a time when you automatically think twice before airing any pearls of wisdom. Having one’s assumptions and lack of vigorous logic continuously shot down by “friendly fire” is very humbling..

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