This morning I was D’s uncle. Sometimes K is D’s amma. D asks me-” Amma, am I a ‘good girl’ or a ‘bad boy’?” (Something, I gather, she has heard over and over again in school). She has asked me a few times, why she is a girl or why is her friend a boy. To which I reply, that she is born as a girl or her friend is born as a boy, but they could choose whichever way they want to identify themselves.
In her world, it seems like there are no separate genders, the feminine and masculine mix, blend, change quite often.
Today she saw my friend’s photo on the computer, then called him, mama, but thought the better of it and was referring to him by name after that.
She switches over calling people by their names, usually our friends become her friends and aren’t uncles and aunties but just identified by names.
The only people she usually addresses by their relationship is her grandparents. That’s probably because she has noticed us also calling them amma or appa, never by their names. There is a certain comfort for me addressing someone by a common relationship name, but respect for a person lies in our behavior towards them, not in how we address them. By imposing on her that she calls a person a certain way, which I did try to do when she was younger, seems quite pointless, seeing the love and affection she carries in her heart for that person.
The question of bad or good has been in her mind, for as long as she could talk in our languages. She is always wondering if someone is good,what makes them good, why should they be called good, why should she be called good by other people?
Should there be so many boundaries?