Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Law of the little.

I happened to be around a couple of kids recently which brought back memories of childhood. As I have grown older, I have forgotten so many rules and regulations I once followed religiously, and I am sure you have too. I must say that I have learned more about laws and rules from these kids in the past few days than I have learned in years. Let me share some observations.

Once I got a chance to observe a heated conversation between my a seven-year old boy and his six-year old cousin. They were playing together. Things were going fine. The first happened to have a pocket full of candy. The other didn't. He asked him for a piece of that candy. He said no. The first tried again, and was refused, again. It was on the third try that the second made his threat.
"If you don't give me some candy, you are not my cousin anymore."
And there it was. I had forgotten one of the greatest aspects of childhood. It was pure, it was simple, and it was being enacted right before me.
The laws that govern the little.

As silly as 'you are not my cousin anymore' sounds to adults, to a six-year old, it's serious business. At six years old, you can have your cousinhood annulled verbally! It was a valid threat, and it worked! The other coughed up some candy real quick!

You can't help but admire the simplicity of the kiddie legal system. No lawyers, no paperwork. Just word. Yet, so many legal areas are covered.

Insurance was big back then, I remember.

You're playing cricket, and you've got a new ball that cost you twenty rupees. Before the game starts, you make an announcement.
"Jo Gumaye ga, woh bharega"
Bingo! You just bought insurance. Now, if someone loses that ball, hits it on the roof, throws it down the sewer, you're covered. That person is responsible for re-imbursing you.

"Dibs" on the other hand, was how you staked your claim to something that wasn't your's yet.
Dad's driving to get a job done. He asks if you and your sibling want to come along. Without wasting a precious second, you shout!
"Dibs on the front seat!"
Now you can take your sweet time getting to the car. You wanted a certain piece of real estate, and "dibs" was your down payment. But "dibs" could be tricky, like any legal contract, you had to be guarded against loopholes. At any moment, your sibling could shout:
"Dibs on the front seat.. on the way back!"

It was a simple system. But you had to know all the ins and outs, otherwise you could end up in the backseat until you had your own car.

If only we have the same system among the adults. Simple, pure and cheap. Of course, once you become an adult, you realize the necessity of our complicated legal system. Yes, it'd be nice to get rid of all the red tape, but think of how high the divorce rate would be if all it took was:

Husband: "You're not my wife anymore."
Wife: "Dibs on all your money."


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