As a small child I had this (bad?!!) habit of thumb sucking.
My parents, especially my mom had tried many things to stop this habit but nothing could prevent me from doing so. Whenever I found myself in deep sorrow, this habit was my last resort providing me with the much required relief. The relaxing effect it had on me was so intense that during night, I always went to sleep with my right thumb inside my mouth. And it was my mom’s duty to take it out once I have slept and to remove the silky smooth blanket which I used to rub with my other hand. Thus, this habit was like a constant companion to me, helping me, consoling me in my very difficult times.
I am not sure when I had really started this habit or when I had really put an end to this, but I remember that I continued this even in my 1st standard. Let me proudly announce this to you now that I did it even in my class room! No! Not in public in front of all those girls whom I silently admired and those who silently admired me – no kidding here ;-) -, but by hiding my face on the desk in a sleeping posture, making sure that they won't catch a glimpse of what I was doing.
Smart, aint I?? Yea, I know!
I remember my mother had applied “chenninayakam” on my thumb in an attempt to stop me from doing this. Chenninayakam is a bitter substance that even grown ups won't dare tasting it and applying it on the thumb was a common and highly effective tactic used by many moms against their thumb sucking child.
And I must admit that she almost succeeded in her mission. The bitter taste of chenninayakam kept me away from finding my relief for many days, until that day when I finally decided to put an end to my mom’s (bad!!!)habit of applying this damn thing on my thumb every 10 minutes.
That was my first under cover operation, at the age of 4!
My first task was to find out the secret place where she was hiding it.
The refrigerator! I found out.
The second task was to steal it from there and destroy it for ever.
And for that, I waited for the right opportunity. The opportunity I know was that small time window of 30 minutes when my mom would be having her well earned after noon nap!!
That day after giving me food, she applied chenninayakam on my thumb as usual. She smiled at me as I gritted my teeth.
Ok, this will be the last time. My eyes told her.
She then kept the chenninayakam inside the refrigerator, took me to bed and started the Himalayan task of putting me to sleep. And I slept very fast that time for her surprise and satisfaction. After all that means she would get some extra time for her own sleep.
She was totally unaware of my devilish plans and was in deep sleep within minutes.
I waited for some more time just to make sure that she will not be disturbed as I get up.
“Failures are unacceptable!”, I told myself.
I got up quietly without disturbing her and moved tip toeing to my enemy’s hiding place.
I opened the door slowly and searched in a frenzy to find it in a small plastic bag deep inside the refrigerator.
I took it with the bag, closed the door, went out of the house and threw it away as far as I can…
And as I saw it lying far away in a distance, I knew that the mission was accomplished.
No, not yet.
I went back to my mom, and started sleeping with utmost content.
And as I woke up, I could hear her complaint that the chenninayagam was found missing from the refrigerator. I was the last person in her suspect list!
It took her almost 25 years to know the secret of the missing chenninayakam. I only told it to her as a grand confession during an afternoon tea time chat with family.
Hearing the story, she came round the dining table and caught my ear.
“So it was u?!! I was searching the entire house for weeks! Have u got any idea how difficult it was to get one????! At least u could have saved me from the trouble of searching the entire house….u could at least…..”
And I had to interrupt her…
“But mom, without chenninayakam itself I managed to stop this bad(?!!) habit, rite??”
“Yea yea, good that you stopped it by urself. Otherwise u would have been doing it even now and even in front of
wife”, she told looking at my wife and
then winked. ur
“So is there any other stories that I don’t know?”, she asked again.
“Let the right time come and I myself will let u know….”, I winked back….
Sreeram R. Warrier ;-)