Friday, March 19, 2010


Two minutes after having been introduced, he gazed at me soulfully and proclaimed, "I've been waiting for you!"

And I fell instantly in love.

Debbie warned me this would happen; she lost her heart to him back in October ...

Abishai, son of Salome and Sam, is one of the smartest, quickest, brightest people I have ever met. He remembers everything he hears; and his powers of observation are unparalleled. He informed us that he doesn't need to go to school; he went and in the first few weeks he discovered that he already knew everything that they tried to teach him. And if there was nothing new they could teach him, what point was there in his continuing to go? I asked him to read me a couple of words from a disseration I was copyediting. When he admitted with reluctance that he couldn't, I suggested that when he went back to school in the fall, perhaps he could ask them not to tell him all the baby stuff but just to focus on teaching him to read. He seemed unconvinced; but when he saw his Dad marching down the graduation aisle in full regalia, and I told him he could only wear those robes and the cap if he went to school and learnt to read, he decided that he would go after all so that one day he too could walk with his Dad.

He is a sunny, well-behaved little man of four, the apple of his grandparents' eye and the darling of the campus. His mother is expecting a baby in May, and when Abi was speaking to "Uncle Ironside" and his own Dad about the roles people played in his family, he decided he wanted to be the boss of the family. "Daddy is the boss of the family," Sam explained. When he asked his Dad who he could be the boss of, Sam said that Abi could be the boss of the family dog. "And the baby!" Abi amended.

When his Mummy and Dad decided that it was time he slept in his own bed, he didn't think it was fair that they got to sleep in the same bed and he had to sleep alone. "We're married," Shalu explained to him. "Then I want to get married too," he retorted. And now he is on a new mission. His grandfather told him that if he didn't go to school he wouldn't get a good wife. Big mistake. "You are not in school, and you got a good wife!" he flashed back immediately. "But you're too little for a wife," I tried to argue. "I will find a small wife," he countered.

Fully engaged in all aspects of the life of the household, he was right beside me as I made chocolate pudding for dinner one evening. Standing on a little footstool, he measured ingredients, stirred, poured the finished pudding into a cut-glass bowl, opened the fridge door for it to be chilled -- and, of course, got to lick the spatula and the saucepan when it was all over, eyes sparkling with delight. He earnestly tried to wipe the counter because "we shouldn't make extra work for Mary"; poor Mary!

One day, his mother told me, he chattered from the moment he woke up until about 11 o'clock that evening. Finally - in exhaustion - she asked him, "Abishai, why do you talk so much?"

"Because I am smart and I have so much to say," he replied matter of factly, without any trace of pride. Indeed, that is one more noteworthy thing about this child. He is completely secure in himself, knowing absolutely that he is surrounded with love and by people who want only the best for him. Perhaps because of this he has not an ounce of vanity, and is very receptive to taking direction. He is one of the most obedient, easygoing kids I've ever spent time with.

The last day I was with him in Coimbatore, we had been chatting about various things people do with their lives. I asked him what he would like to be when he grew up. Almost instantaneously the answer came back: "I don't know; what do you want to be when you're 65?" 

Of course, this child cut right to the heart of it all ...

Good question, Abi; do you have the answer for me?


  1. Aunty Karen you're so right Abi is a little bundle of fun, energy, and smart things to say. He also likes to be called a cool dude, and when he's in the mood makes everyone else call him that.

  2. Hi, Chloe,

    Nice to see you on here! I'll be writing about our shopping adventure very soon, so look out!!

  3. Hey Karen,
    That was lovely to read. Abi wanted me to read to him what you wrote. Sorry we could not say bye at the airport. Hope you and uncle are doing well and recovering from jet lag. We had so much fun with you both and would love to have you visit us again. Keep in touch and I will do the same.
    love ya


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