Under the Water

12 ideas for the perfect

‘You’d never believe me if I told you that I can breathe under water, but it’s true and I can prove it,’ Jai said earnestly.

She sighed! She had absolutely no will to have this conversation. She glanced at her son’s stubborn face, ready to argue till his last breath, and she let out another sigh.

It had been an exhausting week at work and she had been looking forward to this weekend getaway with Sumit and Jai, her three-year-old. It was visions of a quiet sunlit pool that had kept her going through the week. And now this!

She glanced over at her husband sprawled on a deckchair, his face hidden behind a book, then looked back at Jai.

‘Baby, you can’t breathe under water. Humans can’t.’
‘I can.’
‘Only fish can breathe under water, darling. You need special things called gills to do that. Humans don’t have any.’
‘I don’t need gills. I can breathe without them. Some people can do things that no one else can. You remember how you could open that jar of Horlicks which I couldn’t? And Spiderman stopped a whole train. Krishna lifted a mountain. It’s just like that.’

She cursed all the superheroes of the world who had sprung up recently in her three-year-old’s life and filled it with new and interesting possibilities. She knelt down to him and, struggling to keep all traces of annoyance out of her voice, she tried again.

‘That’s different. That’s about strength. You will be able to open that jar when you are older. Tales of Spiderman and Krishna are just stories, but you’ll never grow gills,’ she said.
‘You’re not even listening to me. I told you I don’t need gills. I can breathe without them. I can prove it. I can. The other day I put my nose in the water cup for one whole minute and I didn’t even drown.’

She looked at her three-year-old with utter frustration and found her frustration mirrored right back on his small face. ‘Why don’t you believe me?’ He insisted stamping his feet.

She looked at her husband.

‘Sumit’, she finally called out, ‘can you put down that godforsaken book for a minute and come here?’
‘Hey, what did I do?’ said he peeking from behind his book.
‘Jai says he can breathe under water and is refusing to wear the tube in the pool,’ she said.
‘I don’t need the silly tube,’  reiterated Jai.

‘Fine,’ said Sumit, ‘let’s do this.’
He put down his book and walked towards Jai. taking his hand he walked down the few steps into the baby pool and gently lowered the little one into the water, tightening his hold on his pudgy hand till Jai was completely submerged. Within two seconds he shot up coughing and sputtering.

‘QED’, said Sumit throwing a dimpled smile at her, ‘problem solved’.

Just as a matching smile was beginning to replace her shock, Jai piped up, ‘You know ma, the other day I jumped from the sofa and I actually flew across the room. Really, I did. You’ll never believe me but I can fly. I can prove it’.

She looked at the little earnest face and the still shivering figure of Jai and then at Sumit and they burst out laughing.


Written for the Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018 for the Day 1 prompt ‘You’d never believe me if I told you that I _____________, but it’s true and I can prove it.’

Write Tribe

25 Replies to “Under the Water”

  1. Hahah…the never-ending arguments with 3 and 4-year-olds. Have been there, done that. On a day of weepy and gyaan filled posts, I loved reading your tale of Jai, the gilled boy, his logic and sheer determination to win over his mother. What Sumit did is something only fathers are capable of doing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anamika. It was inspired by son and so many others like him. Dhruv also strikes me as a child who is capable of saying something like this. They speak with such conviction it’s hard to dissuade them.


      1. In Dhruv’s case, he will forget about going underwater and will ask me a 100 questions about gills leading to sharks leading to whales leading to sea lions leading to sea horses leading to pirates and taking you a huge U-turn to ask me ‘kyun paida kiya mujhe’.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yeah! Those never ending tales from the little ones are funny and frustrating too at times. I still remember some the cooked up talents from my childhood. Lovely tale, Tulika!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Parul I love your gyan filled posts so there’s no need to feel shy. Fun and frivolous needs to be balanced by serious and enriching, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a delightful post! I was expecting something dreadful, but thank God, the conclusion was sweet and hilarious. Can so relate to this when your child comes to you with the belief that he or she is a super person!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I can quite believe that. In fact the premise comes from my son who actually insisted for a long time that he could breathe under water.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Isn’t Jai’s way the best? Toddlers don’t take no for an answer and have the weirdest imagination. Superheroes are a nightmare moms have to deal with! This was a fun read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haw! I could never have done what Jai did but I can so see my husband doing it. I end up spending hours convincing my children about things – just like the mom in the piece.


Like it? Love it? Hate it? Say something.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: