b Papa Dog's Blog: Little India

Papa Dog's Blog

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Little India

Quite unexpectedly this evening, Baby Dog toddled over with her copy of Little India and thrust it out to be read. She’s had this book since Charles visited in February – he thought the graphics were cute – but she’s never shown too much interest in it and we’ve never pushed it because it seemed perhaps a little beyond her age group. A request is a request, though, so I popped her on my lap and started reading.

“Little India, by Sanjay Patel,” I said. “This book belongs to….” I prompted, and Baby Dog rattled off all four of her names like one long compound word. “Gods of India,” I continued. The first page has a very cute picture of Ganesha and a lot of text describing his significance in the Hindu cosmology, so I said, “Okay, that’s Ganesha. What does he look like?” “Elephant,” Baby Dog observed. I flipped the page. “Okay, here’s Brahma. See his beards? They’re white.” I flipped the page. “And this is Durga…”

“Start ‘ginning?” Baby Dog interrupted.

“Uh…okay. Little India, by Sanjay Patel. This book belongs to….” Her name again. “Gods of India. Okay, here’s Ganesha again.”

“Start ‘ginning?”

“I don’t think I missed anything, sweetie.”

“Start ‘ginning?” Her lip trembled and tears started to brew. It was then I realised my error. She knew – somehow she knew – that I wasn’t really reading the full text. There was no way she was getting off my lap without a summary of the basic fundamentals of Hinduism.

“Okay. Here’s Ganesha. One of the most popular Hindu gods, he is recognized (sic) as the god with an elephants (sic) head. Ganesha is the eldest son of Shiva and wife Parvati. Ganesha brings good luck, and clear obstacles as symbolized (sic) by the axe he carries….”

I was somewhere around the fourth incarnation of Vishnu, Baby Dog listening raptly, when Halmonie wandered in and heard what I was reading. Halmonie doesn’t think much of eastern religion. She refers to the Dalai Lama as “What’s his name, that con man.” She shook her head and laughed, that her granddaughter was so entranced by the story of Narasimha. Well, she’d better get used to it. Ich bin ein Oaklander, but Berkeley’s only three blocks away.


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