If you believe in reincarnation, then you should know that my father is a reincarnation of the famous English poet and philosopher Thomas Gray. My sisters and I will swear on this for we were the only lucky ones privy to our dad’s profound philosophical insights.
As children, we grew up on quotations from Thomas Gray’s poem ‘Elegy written in a Country Churchyard’. The following lines from this poem were discussed so extensively, so often that if I were to wake up from a coma with amnesia a few years from now, I will still recite them without missing a beat.
“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”
Can you think of a better way to teach your children the futility of joining the maddening rat race called life? Dad enriched our childhoods further with acute philosophical observations like ‘Beauty is only skin deep’ every time he caught one of us standing in front of the mirror unashamedly admiring our own reflections, questions like ‘Were we born into this world with the comforts of a fan and a fridge?’ whenever we whined incessantly about the power outages and the unbearable heat of Chennai. It was only natural that we nicknamed him ‘Mr. Gray’.
Now the point of this whole big introduction is to show you that I come from very good erudite stock. Those who believe in the laws of genetics would naturally assume that I would be, at least a little bit, philosophically inclined.
If you had bet your house on that, all I can say is 'oops'. I am afraid you are about to join the ranks of the homeless. Just like weight loss, philosophy eludes me. But determined to thumb my nose at fate and get the hang of this profound thinking business, I had been picking my brain lately about something that I can think profoundly about. I never had this much trouble even when raising toddlers. After hours of exhaustive brain picking, I came up with a question that might convince you that I am my father’s daughter.
How do you measure love? In grams, gallons or bytes?
The commercial on TV that claims ‘some things are priceless but for everything else, there is Master Card’ is based on the assumption that love is not measurable. I can put a big hole in that theory and for this I have my kids to thank for.
Both my kids love me just as much as I love them. I know this because I can measure their love quite easily.
I can measure my youngest child’s love by how many kisses she blows my way every day. The daily count starts in the morning. On her way to the bus stop each morning, she stops after every few steps to turn around and blow kisses to me. It doesn’t bother her that the bus is fully loaded and the driver, parents at the bus stop, the kids aboard the bus are all impatiently waiting for her to hurry and board so they can be on their way. She doesn’t let a little pressure like that deprive me of my daily love dose and always takes the time to blow my quota of kisses before boarding. At last count, she topped her own record with a round 100 kisses a day. Now anything less than 80, I feel unloved.
My eldest child is unique in many ways and all the more so in her expression of her love. She pats my head to show her support and rubs my head in a circular motion to show her affection. Please be sure to note the difference here. To pat is to console while to rub is to love. The more she loves, the harder she rubs. On days when her love for me peaks, I worry a little about premature balding. For now I am using a special herbal hair oil treatment for damage control. The day when all that rubbing leaves behind a hint of a bald spot, I will have to gently redirect her loving hands to rub my arms. Who knows? I might even save some money on salon waxing!
So how do you measure love?