I was watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday. And yes, if you haven’t got it by now, I do watch a lot of television.
You know how these talk shows are. The host usually does a stand up act for about 10-15 minutes and the rest of it is usually actors, singers, performers promoting something.
Yesterday, there was this promotion for the ‘Survivor’ kids called Kidnation or something, and a couple of kids came on the show along with their moms. And they were their usual smart ass selves. The kids, not the moms .
Okay so I’m not a big fan of kids either.
But the interesting bit came later when one of the viewers asked the kidnation moms questions. The questions were the usual ones – was it tough letting your child go alone for forty days, were you concerned about their safety and welfare without adult supervision etc. And then one viewer asked, “Whose decision was it?”
Ellen clarified, “You mean which parent’s?”
The viewer said, “No I meant the kids or the parents.”
Ellen was taken aback. “Oh, I think the parents. Cos I don’t think the parents would have insisted if the kids didn’t want to go.” Her tone had an implicit duh! in it.
She wouldn’t have been so derisive if she knew my father. In fact, we had our own ‘survivor’ incident when I was in my teens. Except we called it ‘survival’ incident.
The Army was organising a ten day survival camp for officers’ kids. Now my dad, who was all about competing and excelling and being perfect at everything, was keen that I go.
I wasn’t. By the way, I wasn’t quite doing high jumps at the prospect then but I would highly recommend it to all women.
I was eventually led out of my house with a lot of kicking and screaming. Him, not me. “For God’s sake, it’s just a camp!”
On my part there was just imploring. “But papa, it’s a survival camp! They put you up in the jungle with spiders and snails and other creepy-crawlies! What if get bitten by a scorpion or something?”
“So what? Other kids are also doing it.”
“Yes, but the other kids are also doing sex and drugs!”
“Don’t be a smartass. And being stung by a scorpion is not going to kill you.”
Notice he didn’t say anything about it not being incredibly painful.
And then he started on, “When I was doing the commando course…”
And I hastily said, “About scorpions, they do have antidotes at the camp, right papa?”
Anyway, I went to camp (as if I had a choice) where they taught us how to kill chickens. With bare hands.
This according to me was a useless exercise considering chickens are domesticated animals and therefore, hardly likely to be found in the jungle. Now wild boars would have been something else.
But I did learn how to snap a chicken’s neck. A story I would never tell my grandmother who would suffer a coronary thinking just about a Jain girl, her granddaughter killing living beings.
But it is a story I love to tell men, especially the ones I want to get rid of. Sometimes I dare them to a competition as well. It works every time. I guess survival camp teaches you how to survive in all kinds of jungles.
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