Alarmed. All senses alert.
Mission: Rescue the field of history. Why?
Meanwhile, don’t answer. A weak response merely invites rebuttal. Then what? Stay calm. Say nothing. No one need get hurt.
Ah, now I remember what to do. Listen.
Do something. Explain why we need to study history. Justice––that’s right, we can start with justice. Rosa Parks. Freedom struggle. Forest rights. Let’s just take care not to get too complicated.
The next morning as my daughter ate breakfast, I combed her hair. I had my question ready and eased it ever so casually into the flow of braiding and talking.
“Have you ever come across something that is not fair?”
“Yes,” she said, wailing. She tends to take on the mood of whatever she is talking about. “Like right now, I am finished with my oatmeal but you are only finished with one braid and I don’t have anything to eat during the other braid.”
As I took that in, she asked, “Why did you ask me that?”
“Oh,” I chirped cheerily, “I just wanted to hear what you thought.”
“That is nice,” she said, genuinely appreciating it. Though many of us have come to hear “that’s nice” as an idle dismissal, when she uses the phrase, she means it.
On that happy note, we carried on an easy banter as I finished up the other braid. No further inquiry.
Throughout the day I kept my troubles regarding the beleaguered field of history to myself.
Read Aravinda’s full story of history immersion with her daughter in our March-April issue. Subscribe.