yesterday evening. 8 pm.
mithi and her dad are snuggled under quilts on the bed.
"family time!" she announces and we smile. i get under the quilt with them. here's what happens next:
mithi: poppy, it's valentines day today.
mithi's dad: hmmm...
mithi: so what are you both doing about it?
dad: we are here cuddling up with our darling chingudi.
mithi: why don't the two of you go and 'do' dating?
i look at her. her dad looks at me.
me: mithu, what is dating ma?
mithi: arre baba, go somewhere and do some dhamaal masti.
me: what dhamaal masti?
mithi: like have fun. have a good time. you can also go on a long drive you know.
me: (ulp), a long drive? what's that?
mithi: you people don't know a thing. arre, means go on a long drive in the car. listen to music.
me: what does dating mean mithi ? (am trying to probe where she picked up the word from. also trying to investigate what it means to her)
mithi: i don't know what people do, but i know they 'do' dating.
dad: see, this is all a result of watching those Disney programmes meant for adolescents. mama's right. you are not supposed to watch these programmes. they are for older children. you should watch cartoon network or pogo mithi.
mithi: you know, once Shinchang's teacher went on a date with someone. that's how i know dating.
me (mutturing under my breath): this Shinchang is really a strange one. teaches kids to be naughty, and not listen to grown ups and now all this!
mithi: mum, have a heart. grow up. what i see is not bad. when you ask me these questions, you are bad.