I still remember my first boogeyman. The only one. I’m pretty sure he was born from the depths on my Mother’s imagination when I threw a tantrum or refused to finish my bowl of cauliflower soup. Nonetheless, he was an important part of my childhood. My scary ‘Moosakka’.
In retrospect I realise that it was not even a scary name. Moosa is a pretty common name in India. Its the Arabic version of Moses and ‘kka’ simply means brother. Logically, it should have been the worst boogeyman ever. I mean, who calls their monster, their brother? But my Mum being the ever so polite person that she is, decided to adoringly call it Moosakka. I guess kids are oblivious to logic cause this Moosakka was my stuff of nightmares. Every time I was naughty or unmanagable, mum would call out his name in a low, hoarse voice reserved just for him. I don’t know if it my imagination or if she really did it but it always appeared to me that his name was called out in slow motion.
No attempts were ever made to tell me how he looked like. Well played Mum, cause in the absence of a description, my little brain began to perceive the most horrific figure. In my head, Moosakka was a huge man with a minaret for a head. SCARY! Well, not so much now, cause I am used to mohawks that resemble minarets but to a 4 or 5 year old it was.
Moosakka never did anything or I never gave him a chance to do anything. My Mum had me around her little finger thanks to him. I distinctly remember wondering where Mum got to know all these people and wondering if Mum kept the right company but I dared not question her lest she summon Moosakka. He was always just around the corner.
I did eventually get over him. Today Mousakka is one of my favourite dishes and the instead of sending chills down my spine, it gets me salivating and hungry. Have you tried it? Its most yum! As my friend, with whom I had the same conversation yesterday, pointed out, it is the saddest fate ever to befall a monster: his transformation from horror to deliciousness.
As a mother myself. i completely understand why Moosakka was born. We underestimate our toddlers. We underestimate their power for chaos. They thrive in chaos and confusion and gain strength as our resources go down. And then they send their bowl of soup flying around the house. If you have ever had to sit and pick spaghetti off your hair or wipe clean the walls off any remnants of beetroot puree, you will know exactly why Moosakka was born.
I haven’t yet created a boogeyman for Z. The impending worry of a possible ‘Time out’ seems to work just fine for him. I know a lot of mothers turn their noses up at the concept of scaring their kids into obedience. I say to each her own. I grew up scared of a monster but only scared enough to tow me back into line. Infact the monster has left me with more memories I cherish, than nightmares.
Someday I know I will need my Moosakka again but until then I shall chase him away. He has done me no wrong but I need him to lurk in the background for now cause while he’s the monster my Z may deserve, he’s not the one he needs right now. So I’ll chase him away, because he can take it. He’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian of Mothers’ sanity. A watchful protector around the corner. The Moosakka
Pic credit: 4.bp.blogspot.com simplyrecipes.com