Sunday, 19 August 2012
There is an element of sweet innocence in the older generation that i admire. They simply don't see things the way we do. My mother in law is a good example of this.
A long time ago, when I had only been married to my husband for a little while, we sat in the in-laws' sunny conservatory sipping tea. My mother in law was playing with a niece of mine. It was time for the child to gather her toys and go home, and my mother in law asked, rather loudly, if she remembered her pussy.
I tensed in my armchair but managed to compose myself. My English was good enough to know the word Pussy. However, it was not good enough for me to appreciate that my mother in law could be using that word so freely, without a slightest hesitation, when talking about cats.
'Did you remember your black pussy?!' She shouted to my niece, and I winced, hiding my face in the tea cup. What about the stripy one? She asked and at that time, i just had to leave the room.
Since that day, many years have passed. I feel that we know each other well enough to discuss many things.
'Look', I said to her the other day, when i heard her use the word again, pointing out a 'pretty pussy' in the neighbour's garden to my baby. Can you just add the word cat after the pussy? That is all I am asking! Just say 'here is a pretty pussy cat'.
Mother in law pretended she saw no double entendre in that word. Fine, i thought. Two can play that game. As i sat there feeding my baby porridge this morning, i explained to her what noise a cat made, and how many cats we see in Doha every day.
'You tell nanny how many pussies we have in our compound!' I said deliberately loudly.
'Oh. Really?' Mother in law's lips twitched a little. She wanted to laugh but kept her cool. 'Totally!' I said. 'It is like pussy central! Feral pussies, you know. We have all sorts!' I paused, getting ready for my own version of 'From dusk till dawn' Chet Pussy's speech when my mother in law stopped me. 'Enough, enough!!!' She exclaimed. Point taken, me thinks.