“ek billee aaya
doodh pee liya
jao jao jao”
“one cat came
go go go”
Participant – “So, when I was little my grandpa, who is from India, and he speaks Hindi would come and visit us and he would always tell us little nursery rhymes and a lot of them I don’t remember but I remember this one because he did it every single time. So like he would have me put my hand out and like as he would say it, he would fold each of my fingers down and in the part where it’s talking about…where it’s like go go go, the cat’s walking he would walk his fingers up my arm, like really slowly and suspensefully and then like tickle my armpit and every single time I thought it was hilarious and I would start laughing, and I didn’t even know what it meant, I just thought it was fun.”
I asked the participant if she had grown up with any songs or nursery rhymes that had stuck with her or that she could still remember. She immediately knew there was one she loved as a child about a cat and after some time recalled it and shared it with me.
The participant was born in the California Bay Area and grew up there until she was 8. Her family then moved to Minnetonka Minnesota where she lived until she moved to Los Angeles to join the University of Southern California’s class of 2021. The participant has a half White and half Indian background. This nursery rhyme was passed on to the participant by her grandpa.
Nursery rhymes hold deep importance in our personal lives as we grew up with them being engrained in us. Though these vary from family to family there are most often common strands between them all. Typically, within a family all of the kids share the knowledge of the songs with their siblings. Nursery rhymes often offer some sort of meaning or lesson that can be taken away but often times kids are too little to understand. In this situation, the participant was too young to be aware of the messages but the importance came from the strong bond it helped form between her and her grandfather and the positive memories it left her with.