Do I Look Like a Kidnapper to You?

January 12, 2009

A rather nasty thing happened on Saturday. We had just got the girls’ ears pierced, and I was walking them to the toy shop nearby. They were both still crying, and I was chattering away to them in English, trying to distract them from their pain. I had achieved a certain measure of success, when Amit caught up with us and that set them off again. (Kids are weird that way.)

Anyway, the toy shop put an end to their tears, and they were ok-ish by the time we were walking back. Then, from the verandah of one of the houses we were walking past, a young chap asked Amit, “Whose kids are they?”

Amit said, “What’s it to you?”

The chap said, “Well, they were crying…”

By this time we had passed the house and the conversation therefore ended. But what the person was implying slowly sank in: They don’t look like your kids, and they were crying (all the more when Amit appeared), so whose kids have you walked off with?

I don’t know whether I felt insulted, outraged, ashamed, shocked, defensive or what. I just felt horrible. I have been so comfortable with my kids, and they with me, that it never even crossed my mind that anyone could suspect that we don’t belong together. Of course I know they don’t look anything like us, but does that alone make us kidnappers? I know that often people look at the four of us together and guess that the kids are adopted, and that often people assume that it is ok to ask us outright about it, which, actually, is ok with me but I don’t really understand how they can presume that it is ok… But to look at us and wonder whether we are walking around with someone else’s kids, just because the kids happen to be crying…!?

Amit, thick-skinned as he is, just shrugged off the matter, and I probably should do so as well, but it really shook me.

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