Friday, October 05, 2007

Conversation with daughter-19

Came across this dad-daughter dialogue, in one of Maxim Gorky’s stories called “The Nightingale”:

..Floating from somewhere a good way off, came a strange, husky whistling that resembled a yearning, a long-restrained sigh from some small but powerful, and very passionate breast.

“A nightingale!”, the old man exclaimed with a laugh.

The young lady, his daughter, smiled dreamily. The old man sighed and said,

“ There we have it, the playful and fantastic wisdom of nature! A small, useless bird is endowed with such a wealth of tone….but the cow, though a useful animal is capable of uttering a single, unpleasant, mooing tone. Both in our life and in nature, men find the crude and ugly useful, whereas, what is beautiful and enjoyable…..touching to the soul… finds useless”

“Don’t talk, Papa… I can’t hear”, the daughter exclaimed tartly

The father smiled skeptically and growled again, “But, you must agree that if cows sang like nightingales, it wouldn’t be at all that bad, eh?”

“Do stop it, Papa”, the daughter implored.

I must say that the wisdom and the profound philosophy embedded in that old man’s words appealed to me and I decided to try it out on my daughter.

“ Tell me, whenever I manage to go to Switzerland, would you like me to get you a cuckoo clock? There are two models. In the first one, a cute-looking cuckoo peeps out every hour and lets out a bovine“ Mooooooooo”. In the other, a cow pops its huge head and sings out a divine, “ cuckoo; cuckoo”. Which one would you prefer?

“I’d rather have a box of Toblerone chocolates”, replied my daughter.

I was disappointed. What’s wrong with modern-day kids, I thought to myself, as I walked down to the balcony for some fresh air. How can they prefer these synthetic chocolates to models of animals? Yes, times are changing.

I stood in the balcony for some more time, pondering over the future of the next generation. The moon was out, the stars were hidden in that glow, the air was fresh and the trees quite still. I enjoyed the silence of the night, till my neighbour’s Labrador spotted me, from across the compound wall and started meowing menacingly.


Lalita said...

And the Lark says in bewitching tones, 'too whoo'. What a lovely post, Raj.

Raj said...

Lalita, the lark ought to say 'mooo..'respecting the wishes of that old man...