The Whywallah and an Illogical World

The babe is an extremely logical kid. By one and a half, he learnt to say ‘why’ and since then, my knowledge of the world has been on an upward spiral while my exasperation at the illogical nature of it has grown.

It all began with very simple why’s. Why do you need to boil water for pasta. Why do I need to take medicine. Why should I not touch wires, etc etc. Which brought delight to my heart ( I have a budding scientist here!) and an opportunity to brush up my own knowledge. Then as the babe and his vocabulary grew, the why was banded with the How, the What, the When and so on. Since then, the questions have ranged from the mundane – Why is the KLM plane blue –  to the alarming ‘Why is a sperm whale called so’ – it turns out according to Wikipedia, its because of ‘spermaceti’ a waxy substance found on its head – to the impossible ‘what is above space’. In the begining before I was pregnant, I would go to the library and seek out books to explain answers. Of late, its all been Wikipedia. So much so that when I express my ignorance the babe says ‘You can look it up on the internet’.

He also started what I call the cascade questioning – a why followed by a how and a who.

On our India trip, baba christened him ‘Whywallah’ because of his fascination with the Why’s and also the many wallahs that visited our home (press wallah, subzi wallah, doodh wallah etc). And I think so far thats the nickname that suits him the most.

For the last few months, he has been fascinated by how babies are formed. To such a logical child, all my half hearted attempts to skirt the issue has only piqued his curiosity. Inspite of all the questions and the advice of the child development books, I have not been able to explain the process scientifically to him. Which had only increased the barrage of questions. How did the baby come? Was she always there? Was she there when I was there? Where was I before I came to your tummy? After using euphemisms and managing a reasonably scientefic explanation one day on how his sibling started growing inside mom, he did back off on the process but the questions continue. (The latest on the topic was how do jellyfish have babies)

I think it would be easier if I could use religion or magic. Amazingly, in the ‘What is above the sky’ ‘what is above the space’ series, when I told him ‘Above the space is God’s home’, he stopped for days, apparently assuaged by this explanation when all my attempts at science has failed. But the husband is very scientefic too and scorns such answers. So its back to wikipedia.

Now he is on to one of the most illogical aspects of my life – the English language. Why is Do ‘do’ and not ‘doo’? Why is c sometimes like k? Questions which I know no answers to.

I know soon he will move me into a rapid fire round, quite like the quiz shows I used to watch as a kid.

But inspite of my frustration, I dont really know if I want him to slow down, as he figures out that the world is illogical and life is non scientific, or I want him to go on with the optimism of a three year old that everything has an explanation.


Last 5 posts by Khushi


  1. sands

    Babe and my daughter should sit together to solve these mysteries of life. why do you love me mamma? Why do you sleep with daddy? why do we grow up? And I am so clueless on what to say why can’t I spell car with a K or kite with C! Who will be in my belly when I grow up like you!!!?

  2. Khushi

    That is so funny!

  3. Pry

    good one…Why questions are still there for my 7 year old..I thought it would pass by 5 but it doesnt…

  4. joysree

    nice reading.this is only the should encourage questioning.once the world of book opens to him may be he will slow down.

  5. Khushi

    Thank you for your comments. I do want him to keep going. At least he is talking!

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