My baby thinks I'm funny: 'Nursery rhymes, or nursery crimes?' That is the question

In 'My Baby Thinks I'm Funny' comedian Sorabh Pant offers a humorous take on the insanity of fatherhood. This week: Nursery rhymes!

Sorabh Pant June 04, 2016 09:13:49 IST
My baby thinks I'm funny: 'Nursery rhymes, or nursery crimes?' That is the question

Editor's note: Sorabh Pant is a newly minted father and he loves his son. Of course, that's not where the story ends. In this series titled 'My baby thinks I'm funny' he explores the insanity of being a father — be it nursery rhymes, competitive play schools, the impact on grand parents, feeding/breast feeding, a father being a hero to the son and more.

I recently became a father. However, I deserve very little credit. My wife did most of the hard work. I was merely the neta who showed up once the project was completed and claimed success. The ceremonial ribbon that is usually cut was an umbilical cord — and, that honor belonged to our gynaecologist. So, I wasn’t even capable of performing the most basic aspect of the launch.

My son has quickly become my favourite person on Earth. Displacing Me from #1, my wife from #2, the rest of my family tied at #3, while Rahul Dravid maintains his steady stay at #4 (unlike Number 3, which was his position for India.)

My baby thinks Im funny Nursery rhymes or nursery crimes That is the question

Now, babies have to fed. I think it’s the law. But, babies don’t like to be fed. That’s the unwritten law. So, to induce babies to eat the food that is effectively a legal requirement — one has to confuse them into eating. And, that’s where we use nursery rhymes. YouTube channels like Chu Chu TV — a strange name given the arrangement of letters — and others, help fool babies into getting the nourishment they are vehemently opposed to.

My wife and my life involves at least an hour of 10 little monkeys jumping on beds while five little ducks go swimming as Humpty Dumpty turns into Eggs Benedict, which hopefully my son eats. And, here’s what I’ll never declare publicly: I LOVE THEM.

I love nursery rhymes. They’re devoid of perversion, cynicism and humanity shitting all over them. They make me happy. I love listening to them and I love even more watching my son listening to them and bobbing his little head or screaming in joy or waving his hands like he’s at an EDM party with Mother Goose.

Of course, historically some of the nursery rhymes we hear are a tad more devious than we previously reckoned. This is the issue with being older — information and history paints simplicity. I miss you, Chotta Chetan.

At a point in British history when censorship was so far flung, the only way people could spread the news and loathing for their rulers was through seemingly innocuous and happy rhymes. Such as:

Three Blind Mice

This already macabre rhyme is allegedly about three bishops that tried to overthrow the murderous Queen Mary or Bloody Mary. Yeah, they overthrew her by giving her shots of Screwdriver, Sex on the Beach and the very dangerous, Patiala Peg.

London Bridge

You know London Bridge — that wonderful soulful poem by Mother Fergie Goose; with lyrics by Father Will.i.am. Either way, as per one theory, that poem may be about child sacrifice. According to an old tale, priests in England believed that human sacrifice would ‘bless’ the construction of the ambitious London Bridge. This is what happens when you don’t have Ambuja Cement — you believe any sort of nonsense to ensure your structure stands.

And, what a subtle threat it is to sing that rhyme sing to your kids: “Listen, bro you better go to bed or I’m going to start repairing the London Bridge. If you understand my meaning, kid”.

Ringa Ringa Roses

“Ringa Ringa Roses,
Pocket full of poses,
Haisha Huisha, we all fall down.”

So much fun, right? Contradictory theories float about this song. One claims it is about the bubonic plague, that killed 100 million people. Again: wonderful to have kids sing. Not sure what the purpose of that was. Have kids sing a nursery rhyme to remind people of the deaths of their relatives? The British are strange people. No wonder they like blood pudding.

The logic though was that one symptom of the plague included a rosy red rash and pockets were filled with posies that quelled bad smells which they believed was the cause of the disease. One must be glad the British never invented a poem for syphillis or worse still, piles. That would not find much lyrical muster — even if Shakespeare had attempted it. Very little rhymes with ‘butt boils’.

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill is about King Louis XVI being beheaded. Hence, Jack ‘broke his crown’ — as in his whole head not just the ornament atop it. Jill is Marie Antoinette who ‘came tumbling after’, and because traditionally the French last longer than the Brits. Presumably the detached head of Marie Antoinette did not get a slice of cake. If you didn’t get that joke — read your history. And, give love to Monginis.

The rhymes may be as they are. But, I still love them — their theories and conspiracies aside. They literally feed my son! And, there is no rhyme or conspiracy that is not worth that.

Sorabh’s show ‘My Baby Thinks I’m Funny’, tours NCPA Mumbai today, 4 June, followed by Pune, Bengaluru, Singapore, Kolkata. He tweets @hankypanty

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