My mom used to say that when your child is as big as you, you have to treat them with respect. What she actually said was that you had to address them using a respectful form of “sa iyo,” which doesn’t make any sense in English, but may work in Hindi or French. It worked poetically well in Malayalam. I was reminded of this maternal pearl of wisdom recently when I was watching a movie with my son.
The protagonist in the movie, who felt like a human punching bag, was feeling low and getting drunk in a bar. And then he gets snubbed by a stranger, and walks away muttering something like, “Do I have an Everlast sign pasted on my forehead?”
My son, accurately guessing that I wouldn’t have gotten the reference, explained to me that Everlast was a boxing brand, and that they had punching bags with the name prominently painted on them. He had seen them in his Muay Thai gym. I remembered then that this was exactly the kind of tidbit that I would have loved to share with my dad, while watching a movie or a tennis match or whatever. The wheel had come full circle. Almost.
Sinasabi ko “almost” because I also remembered a time when the references would become just too many to share, and the sons would turn quiet. In the next five or so short years, I can imagine that my son will also find it overwhelming to keep explaining every little reference that flies past me. He also will turn more and more silent. While dreading that inevitable age of silence, I enjoy this moment for now, when his repertoire of interesting tidbits has grown beyond mine. And remember some other things that I wrote a while ago, in a moment of melancholy inspiration.
Nagpe-play ang Sony radyo sa, tinatablan sa mga doleful musings, may mga batang masaya tinig dishing out mga kanta at biro para sa kapakinabangan ng isang bagong henerasyon ng mga commuters yuppie na puno ng mga gusto at eagerness upang talunin ang mundo. Little do they know — it was all conquered many times over during the summers of yester years with the same gusto and passion. Ang lumang vanguards magbasa-bukod maluwag sa loob at gumawa ng room para sa mga bata ng mga bagong summers.
Ang bagong henerasyon ay may iba't-ibang panlasa. Ugong sila sa iba't ibang iTunes sa kanilang mga iPods. Ito magandang receiver radyo, sa karamihan ng mga ito 17 kakaibang maikling alon na banda ngayon tahimik, Marahil ang huling ng uri nito. Ang musika at biro ng mga susunod na henerasyon ay nagbago. Ang kanilang buhok-do at mga istilo ay nagbago. Ngunit ang mga bagong campaigners singilin in gamit ang parehong mga pangarap ng kaluwalhatian bilang ng mga bago sa kanila. Kanila ay pareho gusto. Parehong hilig.