When you will have kids.

Train travels fascinate me as much as time travels, even after discounting the possibility of girls in my compartment. Last time, however, I had a beautiful girl for company.
It was a sweet, little 5 year old chatterbox from Manchester coming with her parents to spend the Easter holidays here in India. And though it was well past midnight and everyone was soundly sleeping, the girl was wide awake and talking nonstop for it was still only evening in U.K.
I observed from my berth how her father attended her. He listened and listened and, God, listened for hours to all the stories and questions and comments she was making. The guy had landed in New Delhi only that morning after changing 3 flights, hadn't slept all day and now he was torchered to this. I had to comment, "I was watching you... you know, keenly listening to her for so long. It must be tough being a father."
He said understanding what I was referring to, "Yes but it is exciting as well. I can easily scold her and make her sleep but listening to her is such a joy."
I nodded as if I got it but it was a little hard to follow. The guy was hardly 30. Why then was he seeing this differenly than me? I would have scared the baby to sleep...if not woken her mother up. How did he find so much patience and energy? What was so motivating? Kids are good, they are lovely and seriously, hearing that girl's gibbberish in British accent was pleasurable....but for how long!
I decided to listen attentively to all that she was saying; it might be fun. And if he could do that so could I. Of course, I have always been bad at listening and good at day dreaming and so after every minute or so I would drift off to some distant thought then catch myself and try again. But there was him, still talking to her, teaching her, playing with her, answering her- all this with an occasional smile on his face.
I guess being a father is more than being just a guy with a kid to raise. A child transforms you. I remembered how I always laugh when my parents use the most cliched comment as a resort to my arguments- You will understand when you will have kids. Well, may be they are right. There are things that can be understood only through experience. Next time I won't laugh when they say it. Next time I'll nod...as if I got it.

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