Monday, March 15, 2010
Upstairs from me lives an Indian family: a father, a mother, their son, and the grandmother. For the past two years I have been watching the little boy grow from infancy to toddlerhood. I often see the boy and his grandmother in the foyer, the grandmother calmly keeping him company while the boy explores the hallways. They greet everyone who enters with gentle eyes and shy smiles. The little boy's face lights up when he sees The Pooch. When he was smaller, and would squirm to touch The Pooch, the grandmother, not trusting an unknown dog, would disallow it. Now that the boy is older, the grandmother has grown more lenient and he squeals with delight to feel The Pooch's soft fur. Once, in the beginning, the grandmother said to me. "It's not good for a little boy to sit inside by himself in the apartment all day." So, in order to have the company of others, they hang out in the foyer. I used to imagine that, being from India, they must be used to constantly having people around. But on further thought, I now think that it makes sense in any culture. Being alone in one's apartment can't be good for one's soul, no matter how old, how young, or what country one calls home.