Thursday, April 24, 2014

Words and their meanings

Last night we were driving back home after having dinner at a restaurant. My parents (Raghav's grandparents) were with us. We were at a roundabout, when all of a sudden, a man on a motorbike, sped in from the right, overtook us pretty close, and weaved in and out of the traffic in front of us, almost doing a little dance, while revving up his engine. We all held our breath watching the way he drove. "Why would he do something like that?!" exclaimed Raghav. My tired self mumbled: " He must be showing off his new bike"....and I knew even though I was half asleep, that I had done myself in. :) ... I should have known better - that I cannot get away with words, with Raghav around!

"What does that mean? What do you mean by showing off?", he asked innocently. I was flummoxed. I couldn't find the words to explain to him. He insisted that I explain. I asked my father to bail me out, and he explained it so beautifully, with a little story, without using the word "showing off" at all! Then, we thought of a few more examples together, about instances when we felt somebody was showing off, including Raghav!

"So then, showing off means you are actually comparing yourself to someone else no?", he said, in a very matter-of-fact manner. :) Who would have thought that showing off  is actually reflecting something deeper? Perhaps the need to show off stems from not feeling okay about oneself, and hence the need to seek attention and recognition, and comparing oneself to another to feel better about it. I was stumped by the depth of his understanding!

I have grown up in a system where the usual thing to do when one is stuck with the meaning of a word is to look up a dictionary. I realised today that there are other ways to learn the meanings of words - that life gives you real ways to understand some meanings, if only you see those with an open, non-judgmental mind...a mind that is free from scripts....a mind that is like a clean slate, that creates its own strokes and connections.

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