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A Cute Tale of Mother’s Love

A Cute Tale of Mother’s Love

A Cute Tale of Mother’s Love_3

“Will she ever settle in one place and concentrate on learning?” an expression of worry is marked on Thalatha’s face. Her beautiful small eyes with long lashes are sleepy. Her thick curly hair long up to her waist is messed up. Her days have been like this for the last two years since the birth of her younger daughter. Her two daughters were born with a gap of six years. With the youngest one’s arrival Thalatha once again felt the tenderness of a newborn’s skin, the smell of baby cologne and the joy of an infant’s smile.

She remembers her first baby girl as a two-year-old, she was gentle and quiet. She didn’t run around. Thalatha could keep her on a mat on the floor and sit beside her. Thalatha would give some soft toy to the baby and she would be in one place playing with the toy letting Thalatha also sit on the mat, relax and even read a book.

The youngest daughter on the contrary runs everywhere. She cries when she is sad, hurt or angry. Thalatha had to run around those little feet, if she misses to keep an eye on them they will run somewhere. Everything is a toy for her, even the metal vessel for making pittu (පිට්ටු බබ්බුව). Thalatha started to write about the younger daughter in the diary in her first year, Thalatha wrote how her little pink fingers look like a rose bud, how she would cover herself in poop! But this year Thalatha could not spare anytime to write as she was always busy running after the youngest one.

Only god knows how Thalatha had been scared for the little one! Recently she came running to Thalatha and said “තෝත තෝත පාට කෑවා” (“I ate the pink ones”). The only edible pink color thing at home was Salbutamol, a medicine her husband had been taking for asthma. Thalatha could not imagine the effect of such strong medicine on a two-year-old. She picked the baby girl and ran inside the house and inspected the pills in the plastic box. Well, all the Salbutamol pills were there, but an entire pack of fish oil was empty.

Thalatha had been giving prescribed dose of fish oil to her daughters as a food supplement, and the youngest one really loved it. Thalatha knew what had happened. Her little daughter had swallowed the entire pack of fish oil! Thalatha remained calm, took the girl to the bathroom, lifted her to the sink and put the finger into her throat and made her vomit. The little girl vomited and Thalatha noticed the pieces of fish oil capsules. She took the girl to a doctor and the doctor told her not to worry as now she had vomited out all the fish oil.

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Thalatha could not imagine how her younger daughter managed to reach the box of medicine. The baby was growing fast and she was curious of everything. Thalatha knew she had to be extra careful with this girl, unlike with her older daughter, the gentle and sensible girl.

Today Thalatha had given a set of Sinhalese letters made of plastic to her younger daughter. Thalatha had used the same set with her older daughter, and she could read a part of the Sinhalese alphabet even before she entered the school. Thalatha wanted to teach some letters to her younger daughter as well, because the traditional ceremony of reading letters (නැකතට අකුරු කියවීම) had already held by that time. Thalatha can’t stop smiling thinking about what happened during that small ceremony. The ritual is to get someone educated and respected to read and write the first letter of the Sinhalese alphabet “අ” to the child. People believe this ceremony brings good luck for the kid to excel in studies.

Thalatha wanted her mother (both Thalatha and her mother were school teachers) to read the first letter of the Sinhalese alphabet “අ” (as per the ritual) to her daughter on the auspicious time. They had bought a new book with Sinhalese alphabet, a new writing book and a new pencil. However, her naughty little girl refused to read the first letter with her grandmother, she took the pencil and started drawing on the book, and the auspicious time passed by.

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No matter how hard they tried, she refused. “ලොකු දුව, කොහොම හරි අයන්න ලියවන්න” (“Somehow make your sister write letter ‘අ’ ”), Thalatha told her eight years old elder daughter who was already in school by that time. The older daughter managed to guide her little sister’s right hand to write the Sinhalese letter “අ”.  Ok! Writing was done but the ceremony is incomplete until this naughty little girl reads “අ”.

They again tried to make the little girl read the first letter with her grandmother. “එපා එපා” the little girl pushed away her grandmother’s hands and again started to draw on the book with the pencil. The open pages of the book which are supposed to have the Sinhalese letters written on them are now filled with scribbles. Thalatha’s husband suddenly pointed his index finger to the letter “අ” printed on the alphabet book and said “අයන්න” (letter අ) and the little girl repeated what her father said. “Yey! Finally, she read it”, the ceremony was then complete and Thalatha was happy.

Today Thalatha had been trying to teach some Sinhalese letters to the younger daughter but the little girl threw-away the plastic letters and ran to her sister. “Will she ever settle in one place and concentrate on learning?”

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Thalatha knew she had to take a different approach to teach her younger daughter. Teaching the older daughter was easier, she was calm, stayed in one place and concentrated. The younger one is dreamy and naughty. She loves stories when Thalatha narrates folk stories to her while feeding rice. Thalatha knew she had to market the learning process with some stories, unless the naughty little girl would not buy it!

The next day, Thalatha went to a book shop and purchased a new set of Sinhalese alphabet made of plastic in a different color. She also bought a shining wrapping paper. At home, she waited till her younger daughter fell asleep. She wrapped the box of plastic letters and kept it under the pillow of the little one. The next morning her younger daughter was all excited to see the shining gift!

“මනෙකා සුරංගනාවි තමයි ඒ තෑග්ග ඔයාට තියලා ගියේ. මනෙකා සුරංගනාවි කීවා ඔයාට අකුරු ඉගෙන ගන්න කියලා” (“It’s a gift for you from a fairy called Maneka! She wants you to learn the alphabet”).

The little round face with plump cheeks and big bright eyes of Thalatha’s little daughter is now filled with excitement to had received a gift from a fairy!

(If you wonder how Thalatha picked that name for the fairy, well, ‘Maneka Gandhi’ is an Indian politician quite famous in 80’s and active up to date. Thalatha’s elder daughter suggested that name).

With the fairytale approach, Thalatha could make her naughty little girl focus on learning the alphabet. She already knew most of the letters by the time she entered the school. She learned the rest of the Sinhalese alphabet faster in school, she even read the longest Buddhist jataka tale (උම්මග්ග ජාතකය) when she was just 7 years old. After all who can ignore a gift from a fairy?

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After many years Thalatha’s younger daughter learned who fairy Maneka was. Today the daughter believes her mother is the real fairy in her life! And that naughty little girl who is a grown-up woman now wrote this note to let her mother know how special she is!

Happy birthday Amma! You are the best!!

About The Author

Hasitha Adhikariarachchi

Hasitha is the winner of Multilingual Poetry Slam, NSW, Australia (2017). She fell in love with this profession when she was a little girl who loved writing her heart out. She represented Sri Lanka at the South Asian Film Arts and Literature Festival (SAFAL Fest) in Sydney. She started Queen of Sea in 2013 and now she shares its’ space for publishing write-ups with her friends who love writing as much as she does.

1 Comment

  1. Thalatha Wijeratne

    Dear . The story is written nicely . It’s interesting. Love it Brought past memories to mind & tears to eyes.

    Reply

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