Children’s Month: An idea of birth

How do children explain birth? How do they think they come into existence? When I was a kid, I was never a total believer in God, nor was I a total atheist. I was more an atheist just for the simple fact that I hated attending church every sunday while all the other kids were happily playing. So how did I think I came into being? I don’t know. I don’t remember now. In those days when I believed in God, I must have thought that God said, ‘Let there be Nookendra Pradeep Raju Thota,’ and there I was. And in those days, when I was a non-believer, I would’nt have known how I came into existence. I didn’t probably have an alternative theory. Nothing more than understanding that children are a consequence of marriage. If you are not married, you can’t have children. Just like a job is a consequence of education.

It is only recently that I saw the 1941 animation movie, Dumbo. It features a little elephant, Jumbo Jr., nicknamed Dumbo for the huge ears she was born with. While everybody mocks her and makes fun of her for those huge ears, she makes them an asset, and finally becomes the star attraction in the circus troupe she is part of.

The movie begins with a curious sequence, which explains birth with the help of Mr. Stork. So, Mr. Stork, as explained in the song ‘Lookout for Mr. Stork’, carries babies in little bags around their beaks and deliver them to expecting mothers.

Look out for Mr. Stork
That persevering chap
He’ll come along and drop
A bundle in your lap
You may be poor or rich
It doesn’t matter which
Millionaires–they get theirs
Like the butcher and the baker
So look out for Mr. Stork
And let me tell you, friend
Don’t try to get away
He’ll find you in the end
He’ll spot you out in China or he’ll fly to County Cork
So you better look out for Mr. Stork

Look out for Mr. Stork
He’s got you on his list
And when he comes around
It’s useless to resist
Remember those quintuplets and the woman in the shoe
Maybe he’s got his eye on you

Dumbo was both a financially and critically sucessful movie, and one could see its influence in this video, where a little girl explains to an old man how children are delivered to mothers by storks. A whole generation of parents must have explained Mr. Stork’s role in child birth to their kids.

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