She is sitting and sulking. Suddenly she comes up with her ace question,
" But why not, Mama ? " and I have no answer.
"You are still young, baby. "
" He was younger when you allowed him" pat comes the reply.
The images conjure up before the eyes. The call... the news ...the instant draining of the strength. Wild run from the house. Not believing that I would be able to drive. How the time had stopped till I saw him safe. But blood smeared, swollen and confused. The build up of the tension when I was told to wait and observe. The waiting and the slow ticking of time.
Not again, dear girl !
" But why Mom ?" the sulk continues.
How do I tell her that I do not much believe in her capability, in sweet words, without hurting her feelings and ego ?
She suddenly remembers.
" Why did you ask my friend's mom, whether she will take care of me ?"
An accusation hurled at me, without reference to context.
" She told the group and all laughed at me !"
The sulk grows with slight glistening of tears.
" Sorry, I thought your friend was more experienced."
" But they all laughed" sulk persists.
And then. "Why not ? " the question returns.
"Don't Mom, don't let her, I have seen her, She cannot do it. "
I stare at the recently shaven confident young face.
" She is not capable" privately aired opinion of her Papa.
In front of her, he is careful. "Your mom will decide"
With a simple shrug of shoulders, the ball is swiftly back into my court. I turn helplessly to her Grandpa. He clearly wants to avoid being the decision maker. With all the errs and ahas and hmmms, he dodges the ball.
"Why not ?" the question remains.
The huge roads, the unruly traffic, the recent headlines of the accidents, keep floating in front of the eyes.
" Why not ? When all my friend are doing it ? "
"Yes, I know ", but no answer.
Why does she want to spend her energy, when all other means are readily available to her ? Why this foolish insistence ? A question posed by one mind, the answer comes immediate from the second - Do not be silly. This is the time. Remember how your parents had trusted you and given you a lot of liberties ? Remember the day you had walked alone to school, the thrill ? The feeling of having grown up, the feeling of responsibility ? Let her also enjoy ! True.but ! The "but" does not let me open my mouth to answer that
" Why not ? "
"Yes, we will have to buy a new bike. We will definitely this month. Then you practice, in the colony, then all left left turns. Then go on to the road, with someone following up, then gradually to school."
A plot is being carefully painted with yet another selfishly shaping up behind it. "Rains will start by that time, it is impossible during the rains. Then the winter, so dark in the mornings. And then the term is already over. Hurrah ! Victory !"
A smile is about to break. Her eyes lit up at the picture, but she immediately retorts.
"We discussed all this last year too."
Clever girl ! I hurriedly rub off the victory and suppress the unbroken smile. She is already back to the sulk.
" You are still young." the ever used phrase.
" Yes, I am young when you feel so, and conveniently grown up when again you feel, so very convenient "
Sarcasm reaches a new height. The bitterness invokes a laugh in me. Yet the question remains. The ultimate weapon, the threat, the stubborn declaration.
" I won't go to school anymore."
"Very nice ! I will have another helping hand in the house." I am amused.
But a look at her face, and I know I cannot postpone the decision. I am in dilemma !