Thursday, December 26, 2013

I need my space

My sister has come down with her family and so most days have been spent with them. My nephew who is almost five, follows Raghav wherever he goes and whatever he does, not leaving him out of his sight even for a single moment! They have had their share of tiffs and showdowns, but have mostly got along really well.

Today however, when I got a call from my sister, asking me what we could do, Raghav told me that he didn't want to spend time with them, and wanted to just be home with me. :) I asked him why and when we got talking, he shared so much more about how and what he was feeling. He said that after spending a whole day with his cousin, he needed a whole day off, to be by himself and feel better. " I need my space amma," he said quietly.

Then, we got talking some more. He came out with some observations of his little brother, which stunned me! He said, "Amma, A does not know how to say that he is bored and does not know how to say that he wants to stop doing something and do something else! So he starts bothering me." I nodded and smiled, thinking about how he had made these astute observations, and yet did not himself know how to tell his cousin brother this, or help him find a better way to express himself. And that is because, Raghav himself  has a difficulty in expressing how he is feeling about some things! :)

While I am astounded by his observations of people, I am also surprised and relieved that he knows what he needs so clearly at this young age, and understands the value of honouring one's own needs and space.  After all, I do believe that it is only when one is honoured and respected for who one is, can one reciprocate that...and only when you honour your needs and your space, can you honour someone else's.

So yes, I did honour his need and stayed home with him. I also was his voice to my sister and had to explain to her why he wanted to be home by himself. And yes, it was perhaps something that she did not expect or appreciate, and was difficult perhaps to understand, but we had to still honour our needs. We did just that.

We hung up on each other with heavy hearts perhaps, but later that afternoon, when the phone rang and I picked it up, it was my sister again asking if R would like to go with them to the light house, and when I asked him, he readily agreed to go along!

I truly believe this yet again, that when you honour your needs and do so without judging yourself or
the other, so many possibilities open up, that you wouldn't even have imagined were possible.
So give yourself some space when you need to, and you will find yourself  making space for the other quite unwittingly!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What I did at a Christmas lunch....

We were out for a Christmas lunch today, with my sister and her family and my parents....and just in case any of you wonder why we celebrate Christmas, here are the reasons - my brother-in-law is half Jew, half Christian, and so every year when they come down to visit us in December, we celebrate Christmas at home by exchanging presents, being with each other and going out for a family lunch. It makes them feel at home and it adds to the festive spirit that Raghav anyway brings and creates at home at this time of the year, as Christmas is one of his favourite festivals! :)

Usually, Raghav takes his iPad with him to restaurants, as he needs to watch or do something on it while eating, and also because he needs something to do while he waits for his food (waiting is hard for him!). Today however, even though we took the iPad along, he didn't ask for it even once! He and his cousin kept themselves busy drawing on the paper place mats....I thought I had to record this historic moment as there were two milestones of sorts that happened today - not asking for the iPad at all, even when his cousin played for a while on his dad's phone, and Raghav DRAWING! - That is a really huge thing and was a wow/ proud mama moment for me!

And when I watched with intent, each drawing came alive with his words as a story - complete with sound effects and details that are invisible to the naked eye :)

Here are his drawings from today....

The Solar System

The view of the earth from space with a hurricane and floating clouds....the International Space Station in the distance....Common Modules (including one re-entering the earth's atmosphere)....rockets being launched....the Hubble Space Telescope... and the moon with its craters :)

 A view of Saturn with its rings....the Cassini probe orbiting Saturn....a comet flying by....and a weird space animal (the part that looks like the sun) that Cassini found :)

 The outer and inner view of a space probe being launched

The intent of a reclusive artist :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

How a nine year old saved the day!

Today was a trying day for me and Raghav as there were many outbursts of emotions for him and I had a lot of listening to do, besides a horde of other things with the kids and around the house....that by the evening I was kind of pooped to think straight even.

Raghav needs to watch something while he eats a meal, and my 4 1/2 year old nephew who is here now, wanted to do the same, much against his mother's rules with screen time. After a lot of argument with his mom, he got his way. But R wanted to eat at the same time, and wanted to watch and eat too, like him. The problem however, was that both wanted to watch different DVDs and on the same TV! Neither wanted to arrive at a compromise. Each wanted to have his way. My neighbour's kids were there too and were watching the arguments with keen interest.

I was too tired to think creatively and beyond the usual lines that moms dole out or suggest - about taking turns, or choosing a mutually agreeable DVD to watch and so on. I then suggested that we had three ways in which each of them could watch their DVDs - the  TV, my laptop and R's computer, and that they could choose one of those. Again both of them wanted to watch only on TV! Stalemate again! Phew! It was getting a bit much for me to handle and I wanted to give up....

Just then, my 9 year old neighbour, came to my rescue. She asked my little nephew what was more important to him - watching the movie or watching it on TV. He agreed that he just wanted to watch it. So she suggested that since the TV was the one that was not letting them decide, they should skip that, and instead choose between the two computers, to watch their movies on. Immediately, both chose the respective computers, and the problem that was bearing down on us for so long, was solved! All it took was some logic and creativity from a little nine year old!

I thanked her profusely for the solution that she had come up with and filled my heart with gratitude for little angels like her, who come my way in so many forms, now and then, to guide me and show me the way, when I am tired or lost!

I don't mind learning from a nine year old, or a baby, or anyone for that about you? :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's a LEGO Christmas at home!

LEGO is not just another toy for my son....
It is a passion, a form of expression of all that he lives and learns and internalizes....

So this is what we've been up to over the last week....working with our hands to create "Christmasy" things...
I must say that for Raghav, creating out of anything but Lego, has been a rarity up until now :)....and
this time the inspiration came from him!

A Christmas ornament made from a part of a broken drum :)
Another one

A wreath made of card, sequins and some old gift-wrapping paper

A Hanging Santa made by me, inspired by The Crafty Crow....
Raghav helped with the direction and sticking of the googly eyes :) 

Our little Christmas tree :)
Can you spot a Lego wreath?

A Lego candle
A Lego gift :) 

A little one made by me :)

Can you spot the Lego candy stick?
A Lego stocking door hanger :)
A Lego candy stick door hanger :)

Snowflakes! - This was a team effort by R, me and our young neighbours
who helped with adding the glitter :)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hey, I Shrunk the City!

When Raghav was all inspired to build and create a mini Lego city, the words that came up in my head at first thought were these - "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!" ....and yes, whenever Raghav builds a mini city like this one, both of us sit back and admire it and wish we could shrink, get into it and explore it....I am sure you will too, when you take a look at this little piece of art :)

So here are some of the pictures I took of his mini Lego city, which according to him is a mix of Lisbon in Portugal, Malaysia and Pondicherry :) - a really heady mix that must be!

And yes, when he is finished with his work of art, I become his playmate, as we pretend and weave stories while we decide to explore the Petronas Towers and overcome our fear of heights, look down and marvel at the engineering feat of the double-decker highway from the Maglev train, watch a rocket launch live, take a trip to the lighthouse on the little island off the beach, and sit down for a bite at the little beach cafe on the Promenade...the world of make-believe is filled with adventure and fun! :)

So why don't you take a trip into our little world and stop for a moment to have some fun too? :)

The Mini Lego City!

The airport - can you spot the two planes, the air traffic control, the runway, the airport bus, the tanker and the cargo loader?

The building site - with tower cranes, a mobile crane, and trucks...

The Rocket Launch Station -
with parking area, a rocket that can slide along to the launchpad, and a satellite dish for communication.

A closer look....

The double-decker highway - Can you spot the Maglev train, a long flat-bed truck, a lorry, and some cars on the highway below?

Can you find the Petronas Tower, a block of apartments, a Hotel with a "H" signboard, a garden, row houses and a mail truck?

The beach - with a jetty, beach cafe, ships and a lighthouse on an island...

A tower crane loading a ship, the Promenade with some old heritage buildings, including a clock tower, a police station in blue, a fire station in red...

A cricket stadium with floodlights and a shop with shopping bags as a signboard....

The garden with a banyan tree, a fountain in the middle, row houses and a mail truck!

The fire station with two shiny firetrucks, heritage buildings and a clock tower.

The Police Station and the Promenade....can you spot the cafe on the beach a la Pondicherry? :)

Another view of the city, with a six lane highway and a flyover...with a good view of the Petronas Towers!

The traffic on the highway and a windmill for renewable energy :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snowflakes, Spiders, Tails and Antlers!

This morning I was lazing on the beanbag and listening to Raghav (who had just woken up) talk incessantly without giving himself or me a breather :) I love being privy to these precious conversations that make me come back to the moment....that make me forget all the "shoulds" and "should nots", things to be done and those left undone. Everything else could wait. I hadn't taken a shower and it was almost 11am, there were dishes piled in the sink, I still had to finish some cooking....but all those could wait. Why would I think of those when I could fly with him on his thoughts, into a refreshing world of wonder, story telling and imagination?!

He was asking me what Christmas craft we could do today....yes, he has been enjoying doing little bits of art and craft, to decorate our living room for the Christmas season - somehow Christmas always seems to inspire and excite him more than any other festival. So I reminded him of the paper snowflake he had cut out and made, which he had wanted to decorate with glitter glue. I jokingly told him how it had been lying on the table for more than a week now, and was gathering dust and could even attract spiders!

We went on to wonder about how spiders' webs withstand gusty winds, how they hang from such a thin delicate strand of thread and how they spin their webs for days on end, facing so many obstacles. He recalled what he had read in a book about how a spider spin its web with an organ that is located near its rear and went on to speak about tarantulas and other kinds of spiders.

Perhaps triggered by the word "rear" or "behind", he moved on to talking about "tails"! "What would you do if you had a long tail like a monkey or a squirrel amma?", he asked with a smile. I thought for a moment and then said : " Ah! I can swat mosquitoes with ease, especially those that bother me from behind!" We laughed and laughed thinking about how that would be and feel :) He shared how he could get something from another room with his long tail, without moving an inch! When I asked how he would know where that thing was, without looking there, he said: "Oh! I will stick some googly eyes at the end of my tail!"  :)
"What if you had a small squiggly tail like a pig? What would you do?", he asked. I couldn't think of anything and said I didn't know. "Then why do pigs have tails?" we wondered together....

"What if you had huge horns or antlers like a rhino or a reindeer?", was his next question.
"I can hang all my things on it instead of carrying things in a bag!", I replied with the inner child in me fully awake and about now! And then we both giggled picturing the whole thing.
We then laughed about how we wouldn't be able to lie down and sleep and perhaps had to stand and sleep, if we had huge antlers that kept getting in the way of other people. :)

A funny, imaginative, fun start to yet another wonderful day in our journey!
And I so love the way the thought train stops at all these beautiful places now and then....taking me on a ride that is just too precious to give up for anything else in my life at that moment.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Lying down in the car, feeling sick because of some smell that we could not figure out, Raghav's mind still did not stop what it so loves to do - think, imagine and wonder!

The person driving our car got a mouthful from another car driver, was honked at and shown fingers, while we were making our way through the traffic in Madurai. Everyone in the car was discussing about how if our car had a Tamil Nadu registration (it has a Karnataka one now!), we would be given more respect and not be treated like outsiders.

Raghav listened to all that and asked :"Amma, who is an outsider?"
It was only as I began thinking about ways of telling him the meaning of that word, that I realised what a profound question it  actually was. As I was gathering my thoughts and words, my husband attempted to answer the question by drawing a comparison to family and how people who are outside of  or don't belong to that group are called 'outsiders'. I then added what I felt - that it was all in the minds of the people in the group - what they thought of the others, as to whether the others were outsiders or not. And as I was saying all that, I realised this - that the words that we use, often make up our thoughts and beliefs.

Raghav was lost in thought. I guess he still could not see the point of using a word like "outsider".
"But then, why would someone look at or think of you as an outsider, when cars are built and meant for traveling from one place to another?", he asked. Good question.

For the rest of the time in the car, Raghav pondered over this and asked us more questions -
"Who owns the earth?" was the starting point.....and that led to others like "Who owns the planets, the sun?", and so on. He answered most on his own too, saying that we were living on the earth, which is a part of the sun's family, and that the sun was a part of the Milky Way's family and that was a part of the Universe's family. All discussions like this one often end in only one word in Raghav's dictionary - "The Universe"!

But I like the way he always puts things in perspective for himself and for me. I like the way many or most of our conversations like this one involve looking at ourselves as part of the bigger picture. I like the way he builds a world that is free from beliefs and thoughts tied to words like these. I love these unexpected discussions that open up, often like Jack-in-the-boxes, to hit home a forgotten truth.

So where do we belong really?
Are we outsiders at any point in our lives?
Why do we feel that we are outsiders anyway?
What do we own?

Those are just a few of the many soul-searching questions that we touched upon here. I am sure there will be many more! And I will wait for them to spring up, wake me up and shake me up, in their own time :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kindness is a Choice

Last night, cuddled in bed before closing our eyes, I shared with Raghav a beautiful, poignant story of kindness that I heard while watching a Youtube video of Pavi Mehta speaking about the power of kindness and giftivism. You can listen to that inspiring talk here. It left me with a sense of joy and peace and an overwhelming feeling of love and faith in humanity.

The story was of a young man who was walking along the road and was threatened with a knife to part with his wallet, by a young boy. The man willingly gave up his wallet, and also offered the boy his coat, which might come in handy as he roamed the streets in the cold night. The boy took it too. Then, just as he was walking away, the man asked if he had had dinner. The boy shook his head. The man then said they could go down together to the restaurant down the road and have dinner. So they went and sat down at the table opposite each other. They ordered something and ate. The waiter then came with the bill. The man looked at it and said: "I could buy you your dinner, but you have my wallet." The boy slowly pushed the wallet over to the man. He took the wallet, paid the bill and then said : " You know, I want to ask you one more thing. Can I have your knife?" The boy thought for a moment and handed over his knife to the man.

Raghav loved the story. He beamed from ear to ear; his face lit up. He didn't say a word. Nor did I. We just looked into each others' faces with a kind of knowing and being. It was beautiful to share that sacred space in silence.

Then, I went on to share with him what that story and the talk inspired me to do and think about. I wanted to make smile cards (I got the idea from here ) in English and Tamil, design them myself and pass them on to people we meet, when they least expect it. He smiled and acknowledged my idea, but went on to say this -

"It is all ok to give a smile card and be kind to people.....but then it is his choice, and up to him to be kind or not and pass it on to others."

This little soul stuns me with his casual profundities. And yes, kindness is a choice. Always.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Embracing Light and Darkness - Karthigai - The Festival of Lights

Last night, while we were out in the city, Raghav heard a lot of firecrackers being burst as many people celebrated Karthigai yesterday. The whole car journey back home was laden with questions ranging from firecrackers - what they are made of, how they go up or spin or explode into colours, safety of those, why people like to burst firecrackers,and then onto bombs....what are bombs made of, how they are made, why people make them, and why people want to destroy things and hurt other people. While we did not know the answers to most of those questions (as he was looking for details) and we decided to Google for those answers, the last question triggered off a discussion which touched upon embracing our darkness...He wanted to know why people would burst bombs if people were going to hate them for doing that....."Why would they be so crazy? Why would they want to be hated by people? Why would they want to die?"....these were tough questions that could be explored only when one went deep into a space within of love and compassion...we spoke about how perhaps these people did not love themselves and actually needed so much love to fill the lack that they felt inside.

Today is Karthigai festival for us - a festival of lights, almost a continuation of Deepavali, in the south. Often when I am stuck and don't know why we celebrate a particular festival, this is after asking my mother-in-law, and her not knowing the answer, I go and look in this book written by my dear school and childhood friend - "Follow the Hindu Moon". It is an amazing and very well-researched and written book of Hindu festivals in South India. You can read more about it here.

Looking back today, that is perhaps the spirit of celebrating a festival of lights like learn how to embrace the light and darkness inside of ourselves and everybody embark on that eternal quest of the Light light up another life with love, light and joy....
"Lighted to Lighten"!

Here is a photo essay of sorts on how we celebrated this wonderful festival of lights!....

Raghav helped me with screwing on
different parts of the brass lamps.

He helped me put the wicks in all the lamps, while I decorated each lamp with dots of turmeric and kumkum.....reminiscing how I used to do that with my grandmother when I was little, every week, after she had scrubbed the lamps sparkling clean...

I recycle the oil that I use in the kitchen after frying things, to light lamps at home, and did the same today as well. It took me a long time to break this wall in my head that I had, about using this oil for "God" or for puja, until I redefined for myself what God and puja meant to me.

I love lighting lamps of all shapes and sizes....they bring a sense of inner peace, stillness, balance and a quiet energy


appam and moong dal payasam/ kheer (completely vegan made with cashew milk) - Yumminess! :)                       

the entrance to our humble home

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On Sharing and Giving

Yesterday we had a good online chat of homeschoolers which happens almost every month. One of the questions seemed to touch upon the 'touchy' subject - sharing among kids. There was a discussion about how if one 'has enough', one will give or share happily.

I have been thinking about this and would like to add that I think it is not enough if one 'has enough' (and this has to be determined by the giver himself and not by the others), but rather if one 'has possessed/owned enough'. When one feels that he/she has owned enough, when he has been given the space to say no as many times as he felt/wanted to, when he 'feels' he has 'possessed enough', I think he will give from a space of compassion, peace and joy and truly experience what it means to really give. When giving comes from a space within that one has experienced, because he/she has been respected for who he/she is, then one learns to give, with respect to the person receiving that gift too.

So can we wait, for as long as it takes, for this to unfold naturally, on its own, with our kids, and be witnesses to its beauty? Can we respect them for who they choose to be now, instead of wanting to 'mould' them into the 'perfect' human beings that we often want them to be?

'Sharing' or 'Giving' has been something very close to my heart as I have grappled with it when I was a child, and then with my son and husband. I have learned a lot about myself and them from those life experiences. 

While I was growing up, being the older one, I was 'forced' to 'give', 'give in' or 'share' with my younger sister. I say forced because I was either asked to by others, or did so to be 'good' and to please others. In both cases I feel that I was not in touch with my inner self. Giving and sharing for me, did not come from a space of happiness, but rather from a space of pain, which I realised eons later, only when I watched and listened to my son. Till today, I have to consciously 'work' on this....I give easily when I am not asked, but when I am asked, it takes a lot more effort on my part.

When Raghav was very little and had a growing collection of cars, one day a friend of ours dropped in with his son, who also loved cars. For other reasons perhaps, that kid cried bitterly as he was leaving our house, and he badly wanted to carry home one of Raghav's cars. I remember asking Raghav if he was ok to give him a car that he did not want so much. He readily agreed, handing out a little white car to that bawling kid. He remembered that white car for a long time after that. :)

There have been numerous other times when Raghav has not wanted to share any of his toys with other kids, including his own cousin brother. We have respected that and been a voice to those kids and moms countless of times, explaining how he wasn't ready as yet to share those with them. Some have understood, and some others haven't. It used to worry me a lot in the beginning that he wasn't sharing, and even felt embarrassed to be the one to explain to them. When I realised why he was being that way and that it was ok to not want to share, until he himself wanted to, these things became very easy to accept and handle. 

I remember how I was so deeply touched by what Raghav said, when we were planning what to give to the two little girls of the security woman in our earlier apartment complex, for Diwali one year....Raghav was asking us about their father, and I told him how he had gone away, that this lady was working and taking care of her two kids, and that they probably could not afford to get new things for Diwali. Raghav immediately spoke up and said that we should buy them something useful, not fire crackers, and also give them something new; not give away something old or used. He has always had this thing about wanting to give new or hand-made things as gifts to people, not pre-owned things.

I also have a husband who is so so large-hearted :) that he makes me feel envious sometimes! Being between two people like this has made me ponder and rethink everything that I held on to about sharing and giving. They have opened my eyes to new ways of seeing.

My husband can dole out money and things to people without a care, whether he has enough for himself or not. He thrives on optimism. That has held him with love right through his life, through all his many travails. I remember how soon after we got married, he was out of a job for a few months and we lived on less than ten thousand odd rupees for a while. I didn't dare tell my parents that and prayed so hard that he would be out of the doldrums soon! It never bothered him though :)

He has been instrumental in changing the way I see money and giving. I see them with new eyes now, although there is still a lot more I have to let go of. When we moved house recently, and one of the packers kept looking at the little portable DVD player that he was watching a movie on, he promised him that he would give it to him, and he did! I don't know if I can give so easily and effortlessly and joyfully as yet, to everyone.

Most often I feel that we want kids to be the most perfect human beings and we invest so much in the future. We build dreams, hopes and fears because we are imagining a world that is yet to be born....and in the bargain, we kill their childhood innocence. Doesn't it make more sense to invest in what we have NOW? Doesn't it make more sense to give them what they need NOW, rather than keep wondering and fearing as to how they will turn out twenty years hence, spending hours teaching and moulding them towards that imaginary dream or vision we have?

So what happens when you enforce sharing in kids?...or paint a picture of it being a virtue to be imbibed?...or a skill to be taught or cultivated?....Do we ask kids what they feel about that? Can we still embrace their unkindness with love? Don't we all have dark sides to ourselves?

I feel that sharing and giving are virtues that have been over-romanticized by our older generations. After all, when you 'hold' or learn to 'be' with a thought, a dream, an idea, a book or a toy, you understand it and yourself a little more and give yourself the space to let go, isn't it? ...and when you are full and feel full, is when you can truly give...with a joy that permeates everything around you.

So I will wish you this - "Happy Owning" for a while! :)....until you are ready to give!

 Here is what I found on Giving by Kahlil Gibran......

"You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much which they have--and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers... and you are all receivers... assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father."

Would love to hear your thoughts....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Finders, Keepers"?

Raghav has been reading this one book a lot over the last few days - "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" It is a delightful story of a pigeon who is determined to drive a bus - very apt for a determined child like my son :), even though some people think it is for a preschooler who throws tantrums! (You can find more about the book here)

This afternoon he came up to me and asked: "Amma, why does the pigeon have to ask if he can drive the bus? There are some people who are 'finders-keepers'.....if they find something, they don't ask anyone, they just take it and keep it. He could be like that. Why should he bother to ask?"

I guess if you are so determined, you will find a way out of anything!....although he quickly added that he was not a 'finder-keeper', that this was after all a story and that pigeons can't drive buses anyway! :)

Silent Reading is like....

Raghav was reading a book silently while he was having breakfast this morning. Sometime later, he came up to me in the kitchen and said: "Amma, I have been reading the book without opening my mouth and sounds coming out....but I can hear the sounds of the words in my head as I am reading."
I smiled and asked him if he only hears the sounds or if he also "sees" the words in his head.
"No amma, I only hear the is like I am talking inside my head!" :)
Some mindful silent reading that is!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I have seasons!

After months and months of being with the iPad for most parts of the day, and even while on our holiday to Coorg recently, Raghav suddenly stopped being on the iPad ever since we got back. He has been poring over books, watching DVDs and talking incessantly about various things. And now, he is setting up his train tracks and Thomas engines as he has thought up of some train game that he wants to play with me.

Out of curiosity, I asked him how he had suddenly stopped the iPad all on his own. "Amma, I just found something more interesting to do now," he said. When I told him that he had his books, DVDs, train tracks and everything else all along and that I had even reminded him of those things, he turned around and said: "Amma, but I need to find something interesting to do myself. You know, I have seasons.....just like the Earth! Some seasons are long and some are short. The DVD season is going to be short, but the iPad season was long!"

Yeah, I guess life is about seasons....some things and people linger around longer with us, while some others don't. Life follows a cycle and a rhythm, which we often don't take notice of. But what a wonderful way of seeing life....What a wonderful way of seeing one's self and the things one does, as being a part of a larger rhythm and pattern!

How many seasons do you have and for how long, do you know?

I love myself :)

Raghav suffers from constipation off and on. A while ago, he was on the potty and screaming that his backside was burning. He does have a very low tolerance for pain of any sort. Once he came out of the loo and was getting dressed when he felt a little better, he wiped his tears, smiled and said: "Ah! I love myself!". I smiled back and asked him why. "Because my body healed from it so quickly....I am already feeling better," he said. "...And only when I love myself can I love anybody else, like you or appa".

I was deeply touched and shaken by these profound truths from an eight year old. "But why do you need to love yourself to love somebody else?", I asked, looking to understand how he had made sense of all these things. "...Yeah amma, only when I love myself, can I love you or appa or anybody else. If I don't love myself, then I will be too sad to do anything, and then no one else can do anything for me, because I will refuse. So then, I will stay like that, and not even eat anything, and will die. Then I can't even love! So I have to love myself!"

What a complicated labyrinth of love we weave every moment, when all of it starts and ends with loving oneself! :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cloud watching!

We love cloud watching and in our new house, we have a great view from the balcony that draws us ever so often to stare into the open, endless sky, weave dreams, smile, hold hands and feel a warm love for all of the Universe.

Raghav loves to peep out of the window and name the clouds, or think of them as specific shapes, or warn us of changes in weather (whenever he sees cirrus clouds!) or just simply stand up and say "wow!" with a beaming smile on his face. We love watching reflections of the clouds in the sea or in the backwaters, we love to catch the evening glow in some of them, and love to wonder at what speed a fast-moving cloud must be traveling at! He is also always on the look out for dark rain clouds, to decide whether we have to go out or stay indoors, because he hates the rain on his body!

A little while ago, Raghav was busy playing something on the iPad and suddenly ran up to the balcony screaming:" Hey amma! Look! There's Mexico!"

Well, that was in fact a cloud that was shaped like Mexico! You can take a look and check it out for yourself.....

A few days ago, we chanced upon an interesting programme on Discovery Channel that spoke about "red rain" in some parts of the world - in India (Kerala), Sri lanka and in Columbia. Raghav was very curious about that and how some people thought that it contained organisms (without DNA) that came from outer space. So we Googled more and found out some more information on that. He then told me this: "Amma, you know actually, you don't need clouds like the ones in our atmosphere now to produce the time of the early earth, the atmosphere hardly had any oxygen, only carbon di oxide....and it rained and rained for so many millions of years!...maybe the stromatolites (we all actually owe our lives to these creatures! were already there and they gave out enough oxygen...and then somehow there was already some hydrogen there in the atmosphere, and so they combined to form water and rain!"

I am often amazed at the connections he makes and the theories he makes up! I hate to intervene and "correct" those. I just let them be - to be created and re-modeled and destroyed and re-created all on his own. I love to leave the magic of learning as it is.....untouched, for I believe it is sacred.