We were on vacation in Nakusp, taking a much-awaited break from work. We checked into the cabin in the afternoon, and as soon as my son saw the TV he was super excited. You might be wondering why a kid of this age would be excited to see a TV. That’s because we don’t have a TV at home! You read that right… This may or may not surprise you, but we can’t afford it.
Can’t afford a TV at this age? Yes, you got me right, can’t afford a TV... You might be thinking of maybe creating a GoFundMe page to help me raise money to buy a TV. Just kidding. I’m sure there are bigger problems than me not being able to afford a TV.
When I say I can’t afford a TV, it’s not because of the price, but because it's too costly in time. Looking at my life day over day, the amount of time I get to spend with my family and me is very limited. I have 180 minutes a day. You come home in the evening tired and imagine having the idiot box at home. You switch it on and even before you realize it, the clock will be striking 9. Oh no! How did that happen? Suddenly I remember the 100 things on my list which I had planned to get done today. Well, now there is no time to get anything done. Not that I would have finished all the 100 tasks, but at least I could have got to work on the one at the top of the list… which is still better than having done nothing.
My best friend Mr. Mind opens its mouth…
Mr. Mind - oh what would happen if you watched TV for one day? You needed it! You were tired… you can get the housework or whatever is on the list done tomorrow… there's still a lot of time.
Me - Oh, but I had that article to finish.
Mr. Mind – But you don’t need that until Tuesday. You just need an hour to finish that. You can do it on Sunday.
Me – Oh man, I didn't practice my music or dance.
Mr. Mind – Don’t worry! We can wake up early tomorrow and do it… you are fine. Don’t panic. You are only human.
And like this week passes, months and years pass. And you are just left with a hollow and taunt somewhere deep inside – had you passed on watching those stupid TV series, Netflix, you could have accomplished this today. Well I can compromise on anything. But the thing I feel most guilty about is not having the time to spend with my son. He will be 4 years old this December. Trust me, I don’t know how the 4 years went. The last I remember was bringing him home from the hospital, breastfeeding him every two hours, his tiny cute little fingers and toes. The only 2 words he knew were ‘Amma’ and ‘ungo’ ... And today he is this little kid walking beside me and talking to me about his daycare. And before I know, he will have grown… taller than me and maybe moved out of home in search of his life. And at that point I don’t want to regret that I should have spent more time with him. That would kill me from inside.
Trust me; I am as human - filled with flesh and blood - as you are. It feels nice to sit down and laze around on the couch watching TV. But I keep reminding myself that my son needs my time and attention NOW. This is the best time I get to spend and play with him. These are the moments I will cherish when I breathe my last breath. I am spending time to make memories with him.
He needs me NOW - I need to fill his empty cup so that he is ready to face the world the next day. And in turn it fills my cup with all the love I get back. It feels great when I am the person he needs at the end of the day; it's my face that he wants to see first thing in the morning. It is hard work to cater to these needs… but he deserves it, every bit of it. At times I feel he could just go to his dad for at least once, but I really don’t wish for it. It is rewarding to see that I am the person he feels secure enough to share his biggest issue of the day with – that a guy at his daycare called him a little guy. Or just even cuddling him and making him laugh. And all this comes at the cost of giving up the idiot box.
So yes, I cannot afford a television at this age. And I hope you realize how expensive the television is.