Row Row Row your boat


Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

The music, the noise added to Renuka’s agitation. She stormed into her daughter’s room and yanked the plug off the CD player.
“When are you going to grow up? When are you going to stop listening to these silly Nursery Rhymes?” She yelled at her seven year old, Monika.
Monika, glared at her angrily. Renuka glared right back, her face red.
“What do you think you are doing?” She barked.
“It’s 8:00 in the morning. You’ve got to leave for school in another thirty minutes. And look at you!”
“Ma, I was just getting ready!” Retorted her daughter. “Why didn’t you wake me up earlier?”
“Oh ya, Miss high and mighty, it’s been more than an hour I’ve been trying to wake you up, but you…”
“Shhhhhh, is everything alright?” Her husband peeped in, hoping to pacify the situation.
“No Mr. Deepak Gupta everything is a mess! Thanks to you!” She yelled right back, pointing at the coffee she’d just spilled over her office clothes minutes before ‘the rowing of the boat.’ Deepak had left his morning cup half full on the dining table, which Renuka had ended spilling on her dress.

Oh, it was just another day. It was just another morning in the lives of the Guptas. Every morning was just the same. Every morning had been just the same…or so it seemed. The noise, the yelling, the fighting…

Oh it had not always been exactly the same. When Renuka and Deepak had first gotten married, they had both been so much in love!
“Oh look at the love-birds! Who would think that it’s an arranged marriage?” Their friends would tease.

Those days were the days …

Those were the days when they’d stopped to smell the roses, together. Those were the days when they’d witnessed the gentle breeze whispering to the roaring sea, together. Those were the days they’d heard the dolphins singing… together…

Those days were the days. The days, long gone…

These days, life was full of thorns. These days, the sea’s roaring was too loud for the gentle breeze’s whispers. These days, the dolphins looked like sharks. Besides who had the time for all these things?

Not that something drastic or dramatic had changed their lives. They had just gotten totally wrapped up in their daily struggles, in life’s challenges. When Renuka and Deepak had first moved into the big city they had been totally taken in. That Deepak spent almost an hour commuting to work didn’t seem to matter. That Renuka didn’t have anybody to talk to, all her new neighbors were too busy with their own lives, didn’t matter at all. Besides Monika’s arrival changed that too. They had been so pleased, so happy then.

But this was now. Deepak’s single income had no longer been sufficient for their little family. Renuka had started working out of necessity and also personal choice. Deepak often worked overtime, now. And little Monika was all wrapped up in her school work. They no longer had time for each-other. They no longer shared life’s gentle moments together. It was as if all three of them were rowing separate boats…against the tide…drifting away from each other, slowly.

Actually it was not just another day in the lives of the Guptas today…for Nani Janki was visiting them…whether she was Deepak’s distant Nani or Renuka’s , I forget. It doesn’t really matter for they both loved her and respected her, equally. They were almost scared of her infact.

And when Nani entered the scene, they all stood still, momentarily. And then there was chaos, with each one trying to explain, with each one trying to shift the blame. She silenced them all with one look.

Calmly she walked over to the CD player and put on the music.
“Beta,” she addressed Renuka. “Beta, listen to these words. They are not just for children, you know.” She paused.
“What’s happening in your life? You both need to reconsider your situation, . Why does it almost appear as if you are in individual boats? Why are you not rowing your little boat together?”
“Life’s not always a race. Stop and caress the little waves rushing to your boat. Be gentle and relaxed and enjoy life’s little pleasures, life’s small merriment.”
“Deepak , it’s not her boat alone, you know. Why does it feel so to her? Try to be in her shoes. Only then you’ll see that they are not as comfortable as you feel they are.”
“I don’t want to lecture you or something. All I want to say is be there for each other. Row your boat gently, together….and soon you’ll realize life is like a dream.” She said with a broad smile.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is like a dream.

The music spilled into the room. This time it didn’t appear so loud to Renuka. This time, Deepak too listened to it, and enjoyed it…almost.
Nani turned her back to leave the room clasping Monika’s hand….as Renuka and Deepak stepped towards each other …tearfully…

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the lake
Don’t stand up and rock the boat
That’s a big mistake!

Nani : Maternal grandmother,_Row,_Row_Your_Boat


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