How do you control two brats who fight at the drop of a hat? My mother had a very effective way.
While growing up, I hated my brother to the core, a feeling he reciprocated heartily. We were the king and queen of Bratland. And my mother had her own way to sort us out.
If she heard any violent noise from our room, she would come charging in from the kitchen with a steel spatula slightly hot from the fire, and go chapat-chapat left and right.
It normally took about a week for the red marks to fade from our thighs -- and till then there was peace in the house.
Though my brother, being the younger, was my mother's pet, she showed no favouritism when she caught us fighting. She never asked who started it. Her iron rule was simple: If we fought, we would both get it. Period. No questions asked. No sides taken.
My father, a gentler soul, used to try and reason with us. He did not believe in hitting children. Especially with a spatula, never mind whether it was warm or cold. He explained to us many times that siblings should love each other, not fight all the time.
"You are the elder," he used to tell me. "You should be more responsible."
Then he would speak to my brother about the need to respect his elders. "Come to me when there is disagreement," he would wind up. "We can discuss and arrive at a solution."
Both of us would nod our head and go out -- and within minutes end up on the floor, trying to dig out each other's eyes.
There were many reasons for our fights. Either he would have torn my books or I would have stolen his pencil. After many 'He did' 'She did' episodes, my father left us to the mercy of mother's spatula.
And she, with passive permission from my father, seemed to find new vigour. The result was that peace reigned supreme.
After hearing about the flames in Gujarat, I wish Mother would take over instead of Narendra Modi. No questions, no bias, just the hot spatula!
There is no use preaching to brats and pleading with them to stop fighting. Just go chapat-chapat with the law.
Can anyone reason with thugs who burn innocent people returning home from a pilgrimage? Can anyone reason with hooligans who massacre 500 (and counting) innocents as revenge? If he believes in his religion, whichever it might be, can a person stoop to such crimes?
There are many in the world who are deeply religious. And they get angry, furiously, at one time or the other. Should that make them murderers?
Don't call the culprits in Gujarat religious fanatics. They are just plain murderers, nothing more. They support politicians who count the dead and turn them into votes. They support the wolves, waiting to feast on the lamb's blood.
Building neither a temple nor a mosque will bring peace as long as there are wolves out there -- and no spatula to fear.
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