Pen Drive column: Out of the mouths of babes

It was amusing to read a long time back a newspaper report on how milk is processed and delivered at home. That was not the funny part. It came towards the end. The report elaborated on how the milk goes through several processes – all mechanised – till it comes out as a sachet. The cheeky reporter ended the article by saying it would have been helpful if the company had said milk comes from cows in the first place.

Smirking, I found this was rather exaggerated because everybody knows that milk comes from cows – or their cousins buffaloes – take your pick. Did somebody have to tell that it comes from cows? Naw.

The penny dropped a few years later. It happened that I was watching a Tamil TV show featuring little children – some barely capable of speaking. When the anchor of the show asked the kid he was talking to where eggs came from, pat came the reply, “From the shop.” We burst out laughing.

But a girl sitting next to him picked up an argument with him. “No, they come from ‘kozhi,” she insisted. The boy would not give up and kept insisting that it comes from the shop. He was cocksure of what he was saying…

Maybe the newspaper report on milk was right? Maybe they should have mentioned in the first place that milk comes from cows and not some man-made machine?

So, when an NGO, working on restoring waterbodies in and around Chennai, recently said they want “to save lakes and ponds so that the future generations know what ponds and lakes look like”, I no longer found it funny. This is as serious as telling kids that milk comes from cows and that eggs come from ‘kozhi’.

R Chitra