So a cousin has come to stay with us for a fortnight. He is, what I ruthlessly informed N, exactly half N's age. That makes him a teenager. A true blue young teen boy of the year 2012. A true blue young teen boy of the year 2012 with a blackberry, an ex-girlfreind, a will-soon-be-girlfreind (two different young ladies, please), a passion for football (soccer, as some call it), an unhealthy passion for facebook and his curly, over-long hair.
Our household, as of date, consists, on a regular basis, of four adults and an adult turtle. All of us have been teenagers at some point in our lives, but either that is a far distant memory or at least a respectably distant memory. Our average age is 44.5yrs, and we are all very safely far away from even the age 25, OK, even the age 28. The poor turtle Goofy, is probably younger, but as far as we understand, he is old too. He understands when we talk to him. He likes his peace and quiet. He likes his habits.
Basically, in our house, a teen boy is a new phenomenon. You see, N is an only child, just like me. His family has been a nuclear family, clear from pestering cousins around the year except during summer holidays, just like mine. We have both seen ourselves grow up, and not anyone younger - except from a distance.
Perhaps I have a little better immediate experience of modern day teenagers because of my sister and the girls who are now my sister-in-laws. THat only helps me in the 'modern-day' sentiment type. My mother in law, on the other hand has had parenting exposure to a teen boy - but without the modern angle.
It is a very interesting mix. For us, I mean. As far as the boy is concerned, well, he has his world on BBM, including music, a nice cozy bed where he can plonk on for 18-20 hours when needed and food. The 5 moments of nothing to do but sit with four adults is a little excrutiating to him, but I think he can live with it.
To us, however, he is a very interesting creature. (italics are his responses)
'How much does he eat? Shall we ask the cook to make 2 rotis or 8?'
'He is STILL sleeping??'
'What will we occupy him with when he wakes up?'
'Uh, do you mind if I work out and then sleep some more?'
'He has not spoken since morning. Is he upset about something?' 'No, he is smiling on his BB'
'Will he really eat a WHOLE pizza?'
'How will we entertain him this evening?' 'Dont worry either he will sleep or chat on phone'
'Popcorn? Pepsi?' 'No, Ill wait for protein at lunch'
'Sunday is family time! I will be with you' 'Oh great, what shall we do?' 'Um, I plan to sleep, of its ok?' *Proceeds to sleep all day*
'Shall we wake you for lunch?' 'Yes please. Breakfast was good. *Burp* Definitely please'*snore*
'Hi A, so what is your plan for today?' *silence* "A, whats your plan' *Silence* 'A? You there? Are you home today?' *looks up slowly* 'Hmm?' *looks down again* *Exchange of glances between adults* 'Yay!! My ex-girlfreind is probably coming to town! I will probably be meeting her in four days! cool' *goes off to sleep*
And so on. The only thing that sparked his interest for 2 mins - To me: 'you've really heard Dub Step?" me: 'yes' Him: 'cool!' *proceeds to play the same tune on loop in car for next 20 mins, unheeding to - 'next song pls' from us.
Of course, I have grown up seing my cousin brothers eating 20 parathas for lunch, each, and then some snack (past). And my sister not looking up from her BB when I visit Calcutta (present) and looking equally dazed. It prepares me a little. But I have never hosted a teenager and planned on the cooking of those 20 parathas.
As for my Mom in law? Well, my husband was a very poor eater when young, someone eating more than 3 rotis and staying reed thin can stun her, and she has never met anyone with a dedicated relationship with their phones. He counfounds her. She is therefore, constantly worried about what he will do in his 'spare time'.
Typical conveersation - 'You are very quiet'. Yes. 'Kuchh hua kya beta?' No-no! 'Are you this quiet with your frnds?' Hmm? No. 'Then why are you qiet with us' *silence* 'Kya hua? Getting bored?' Hmm? oh, my tutor is on BBM ill just respond and then talk, OK? *she sits there tense, she is on tenterhooks. I chip in - 'I think he has nothing really to discuss with us.' He suddenly wakes up, gives a big grin - Yes! Exactly. Goes back to BB. My mother in law, is plunged in confusion and doom.
My husband finds him entertaining. His thin structure, his steel-hard abs, his ability and freedom to sleep, his girlfrnds. Of course, when he doesnt talk back, he starts by being supportive, humorous, and ends up being bugged. ('Oy! Look at me while Im talking' - while explaining card Monopoly's nuances). This non-response stops when there is 'girl gyaan' being given though.
My father in law wonders about very few things in life. An addition to that list now is, how can he not follow cricket? Why doesnt he talk? Does he do as many adventures as my dad in law did, when he was the same age? Afterall, all Delhi-iites should be the same no matter the era, right? Right. So go bang up a few cars, wont he? This earns him dagger looks from his loving wife.
This gives us a lot to talk about on a daily basis.
And that leaves A with his favorite response - 'huh? Sure.'