The Aphid


Every family generation has one aphid metaphorically. An aphid is basically an insect behavior that demonstrates tropotactic behavior, in which its typically attracted to the stimulus. Whether its every family or just mine particularly, but my family had an aphid in every generation. My grandmother was an aphid, which I guess passed on to my dad. These being have typical urge to do things “rightly” which means to keep doing some kind of chores all the time. When I was a growing kid I have heard and seen a lot my grandmother demonstrating this behaviour but never realized back then. I always reacted irritability towards this behaviour and assumed that this behaviour was just a growing sign of aging back then, but now I realized its importance.

My grandmother used to wake up early around 5:30am boil water in big large container for the whole day as back then there was no established purifying system, clean the toilets and washrooms, fill the storage tanks with water, take bath, do her prayers and cook the breakfast before anyone would wake up. I used to wonder how she can do all the work in such short time a so efficiently. Growing up I learned that she was married at a young age and had multiple kids and home responsibility at a very young age. During her last phase of life, I observed her always keeping her hands full like once I noticed her trying to clean the steel roof of the veranda which was at a very critical condition and unsuccessful in bearing her weight, and (I guess she knew that it was unsafe to climb up the roof in such unstable condition) the whole roof suddenly collapsed along with her. luckily, she was not injured but the urge for her to clean the roof and do some sort of ‘productive’ work surpassed the risk. The similar tropotactic behaviour was passed down onto my father.

Yesterday after having dinner, usually one of us would do the dishes. But since my dad had stroke and he was advised to rest until his by-pass surgery, me or my mother would do the dishes. After dinner since I was so immersed in reading the book and my mom busy doing other work we both forgot about the dishes. But the time I got back on track and noticed the dishes I went in the kitchen to clean it and found my dad washing. “Dad I will do it, just leave it.” I said. My dad replied “I just had a little too much in my stomach today so trying to lose some calories.” Now I know my dad he is not ‘a calorie counting’ person, but after he had this heart attack he was tired of doing nothing all day, and I guess he wanted to do something ‘productive’. So, I let him do the dishes this time. Half an hour later when I visited the kitchen to drink water, I saw him still hanging on to the dishes. “what are you doing??” I said. Trying to fix the loose screw between the handle and the pan with a knife “this screw is loosed I’m trying to fix it. It might separate one day while someone is cooking” “it isn’t that loose that one might need to fix it. we have been using this pan for years nothing happened. And your trying to tightened it with a knife??” I replied. I saw his nose drooling but he was constantly trying to take it back so that he can keep on going. “go clean your nose dad.” I said. He went downstairs in washroom to clean it. I thought he might get stuck with the dishes for another hour so I cleaned everything before he was back. “I could have done it by myself. Why did you take so much of effort…” “its ok dad, I got this” I said. As I went to wash my hands and came back, I saw him clearing the small food particles that were stuck in the basin sink mesh filter. “dad…” I said irritatingly. “what dear… I found something stuck here. It needs to be removed. Its going to clog the sink in future.” He replied in calming tone.

I realized at that moment that we were so scared with his heart stroke incidence that we started to put restrictions on him to do certain work. In a fear of loosing him we took away his freedom in these little things. At that moment I saw a reflection of my grandmother in him. It wasn’t because he doubted my cleaning skills, its just that he wanted to feel some what ‘worthful’ in this family. My dad is an independent person, he doesn’t like to seen as an old worthless man. I guess every person at a certain age becomes “an aphid” in an attempt to make us comfortable and fill their loneliness. So if someone in your family whether its your grand parents, parents or in-laws demonstrate such behaviour don’t get irritated and deal the situation more patiently (I know with in-laws its little tough) because who knows some day, some time you also might become an aphid.


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