Monster that wasn't
For most Indians, the ritual of shradh is a very sacred ceremony. It is said to bring peace and prosperity as we feel it showers upon us the blessings of our ancestors. Come shradh and I start missing my parents, particularly my mother, who used to be especially kind to me. Father used to be a tough boss, a dreaded one as long as he was at home. Prof DC Sharma writeschandigarh Updated: Oct 30, 2012 10:29 IST
For most Indians, the ritual of shradh is a very sacred ceremony. It is said to bring peace and prosperity as we feel it showers upon us the blessings of our ancestors. Come shradh and I start missing my parents, particularly my mother, who used to be especially kind to me. Father used to be a tough boss, a dreaded one as long as he was at home.
While father used to be a strict disciplinarian, making all children carefully do home work in time, he would provide us the choicest fruit of the season, even hot jalebis every night, when we would relish hot milk at bedtime. The milk would give us such a sound sleep that we would get up refreshed every morning. Mother would tell us that cow's milk was beneficial for developing our brain, as even most rishis and munis would relish it along with honey.
While my brothers and sisters would immediately go to sleep under the blue sky after taking hot milk, I was the one who would go on counting the stars. Sometimes, I would try to locate the golden galaxy, and sometimes I would try to find out where rahu and ketu would be.
One night, my mother casually told me that those children who do not go to sleep immediately after taking hot milk are taken away by the maon. I would get terrified on hearing the word and would think that it must be a terrible devil who could anything to a person.
Though mother had simply tried to make me sleep, the fearful idea sank so deep into my subconscious that it made me dread the maon for years, till my professor of practical psychology rooted out that fear forever.
Children have more faith in what their parents tell them, rather than what even their teachers tell them. I was thus afraid of the maon even after my teacher had clarified the fact to me. So one day, I dared to ask my mother: "Ma, you love me so much, I know that. Then why did you make me afraid of the maon whom I had never ever seen? Could you help me see the maon today? I would like to write about that terrible monster in my research project in psychology. You would be glad to know that my teacher had agreed to let me write on the maon!"
Mother had a hearty laugh, the like of which I had never seen. But there were tears in her eyes when she had that rarest-of-the-rare laughter. She gave me a pat on the back, and kissed me time and again. Perhaps that was the last time she kissed me with that much affection. She told me with blissful motherly affection: "Dharam, there's no such thing as maon... mothers often use the word to make children sleep"
Why do mothers use the name of any terrible thing to make their adamant children go to sleep? Is it out of love? It's better if your baby goes to sleep a bit late, but it's never too late for dear mothers to mend their lulling tips which are of a negative nature.