Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bachpan ke din

The days of childhood are the most precious..talk to anyone about those days and the eyes shine up with a gleam and a sparkle and I am no exception to that.
I have so,so,so many stories from my childhood days. And I like to keep them intact in my memories by narrating them to my kids now; they are also intrigued by those stories; more so by the fact that even their mom was a kid (like a REAL kid!!!!)

I grew up in a joint family,a full house with Babaji, Maa, Chacha, Chachi, bua and my sisters and brother.
We did not even know the concept of cousins, so everyone was simply sisters and brothers.
And then we had some common toys in the house that we used to share, like the wooden orange,yellow horse like this (Remember???)



One toy and 5 kids to share and yet we were able to come up with a sharing plan between the kids, without any of the grown ups getting involved. We assigned specific rooms and areas of home to each kid. If the toy was found in those areas, that kid had the privilege to ride that toy. And even till date, my mom, chachi and buas tell the stories to their grandkids that with that arrangement, we never had a fight for the toy.

Evenings used to be party at the house. All the kids from the street used to gather at our house and Pakdam-pakdai and chupan-chupai used to be usual games to play. All the auntys and mom used to have their evening tea on the upper gallery, discussing their knitting patterns and dinner plans for the night.

With changing times, the games that we played also changed. But the theme was always the same, to have the most fun while spending the most time with the siblings and friends.
Whether it was the game of creating a towers out pillows and blankets for the little brother and making him sit as a king or playing shopping at home by accumulating different stuff from all over the house.

And then there were instances where mom became the strict on us when one of us did something really wrong or threw a fit on something. One of my favorite memory (not so favorite back then) is of a time when my brother got mad at something and decided to leave the house (yeah at the age of 5 years!) so when he said that, my mom very calmly asked him to pack his stuff and leave if he wanted to. So he looked around the house and packed all his valuables (which included 6 marbles, 4 stickers, 4 toy cars and few other knick-knacks) in his box and dashed towards the door. Me being the sentimental older sister wanted to stop him but mom asked me not to. So in the summer afternoon, he is out of the home, wandered around on the street for a while and then probably  was thirsty. So he went to the nearest park and tried to find some water. When he could not find any, rang the bell on the door and asked for some water. And that's when my mom taught him the most important lesson of life: Leaving what you have is easy but then only you realize how important it was for you.

As I remember all these stories and other anecdotes from my childhood, I cannot stop and wonder how easily we learnt important life lessons through these play activities. With all the focus now on electronic devices, video games and demanding work load at schools, the one to one interaction between the kids and free play is kind of lost on them. I try to include free outside play for my kids, just so that they can learn to interact, communicate, play and even handle their own disputes with other kids in their own ways.

I am sure they will have their own stories to tell their kids when they reach the stage to reminisce their days of childhood. 

This post is being written for the #BachpanWithFlinto blogger contest

Flintobox creates award-winning discovery boxes filled with fun exploratory activities and games for children in the age group of 3-7. If you wish to gift Flintobox to your child, niece/nephew, or friend’s child, use the exclusive coupon code WELCOME to avail Rs. 250/- off.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Missing Silliness

Isn’t it amazing how you find certain things/behaviors silly at times and then all of a sudden when it changes, you miss that?
My 3 yr old, till about 6 months back, used to identify all the colors perfectly fine except for the color yellow.
Show her anything in color yellow and ask “Kashvi, what color is it?”
And her standard answer every single time used to be “laddoo”
Never knew why !!
Not that she’s a big fan of the sweet laddoo, though.
And we used to laugh on this silliness everytime
I, even intentionally used to point to yellow things and asked her to identify the color.
And then used to correct her.

And then all of a sudden, one day, just like that, “laddoo” became “lellow”
Oh nooooo, as soon as she said “lellow”, my instant reply was “no, ladooo”
And this time, she corrected me “No mommy, it is Lellow color. You are funny”
And all I could do, was just nod along.

And it made me realize, in these crazy busy days of our lives, these moments of silliness are what I want to hold on to.
So, say whatever, I am not correcting “lellow” to “yellow” or “ninna” to “sleepy”  Or even “oti-moti” with “roti”

Life is perfect the way it is !!
With a dash of silliness and sprinkles of laughter.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Weaving stories

One of the favorite activities for my son is to listen to stories.
He loves to read by himself, but at the end of the day, he saves time to just lay by my side and listen to a story I tell to him.

I also read myself a lot, so I try to simplify those stories to his level and narrate to him.
Simplifying the details so he can understand at his level.
I even mix up some of the actual happening around me when I create stories for him.

Recently, I tried narrating him the old Indian stories like Ramayana and Mahabharata.
But how can you explain to a modern age boy that a king could have 5 wives in that era.
Or that a mother could order something and the son would give up everything just to follow her orders !!

Or that a monkey could carry the whole mountain on his hand and burn down the whole city with fire on his tail.
He just doesn’t buy those parts of the stories.
When I started telling him the story of Mahabharata, he had 100s of questions and each one of them made 100% sense:
- Why did Gandhari blindfold herself when her husband was blind? She could have been more help if she was also not blindfolded?
- How can someone have 100 sons? (even I was baffled)
- Why did Arjun not say “Oh maa, peeche mud kar to dekh lo” when her mom ordered them to divide “whatever he brought home with his brothers” (which was incidentally Draupadi)

And so many more such questions.
So I finally gave up on these old stories (Also, as a side note, I am looking for a kid friendly English version of Ramayan and Mahabharat, printed or Kindle version. If you know about it, please drop a line)

Now, in our story sessions, I tell him stories from my own childhood – story of my brothers and sisters.
Those are the ones he laughs out so loud and keeps on asking me to tell those again and again
The ones where we left our little brother in a stroller in the middle of the road because me and my sisters were busy fighting who’d push the stroller
Or the silly games we used to play just to make him laugh when he was a little baby
Stacking up all the pillows and quilts to make a king like seat for him.
The story about how we used to come back from the school in our school bus
The watchman we used to see on our way back
Or why was our school bus stop so far away from home
Our little friends in our neighborhood
Fights and games with them
Their strict Nani, their candy lover Nana
Nana getting us kulfi in the hot summer days
Nani throwing away our comics on the “machan” when we didn’t finish our homework in time or fought badly with each other.
Tales of my teachers and days at school
How me and my sisters used to negotiate with each other for school homework
Craziness of my brother about listening that one particular song on the cassette tape hundreds of time by rewinding the song
Collecting coca bottle caps to win a promotional audio cassette tape

And seeing him laugh so hard and enjoying these stories, even my daughter has started joining us for these session and she is getting to know them through these tales
For me, this is my chance to make them familiar to my family who is so far from away from me and whom I don’t get to see for such long times...
I hope they continue to enjoy these stories as much as I love to weave those snippets for them.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Z is for zooming through

So here we are, at the last alphabet and the end of the A to Z challenge. I did get delayed by 2 days but I am glad I still made it through. There were days that seemed difficult, but eventually they were not. Technology has made everything possible today. So access cannot be an excuse anymore.

And, in between all the blogging, the month of April just zoomed by fast. It seems it was just yesterday that the month began. And it is already over too.

But other than the blogging challenge, so many other things happened during the month of April, which I missed to acknowledge here:
  • The tax season is over. This had to be the biggest burden hanging on my head. I do my taxes on my own, after trialing and testing several tax preparation firms. So, I was busy till the very last day checking and rechecking all the numbers, forms and receipts to make sure everything was correct.
  • The next big thing was Aayush preparing in a Indian cultural program. This was his very first experience and participation in an Indian cultural program. With the very limited number of Indians in this area, it is very difficult to keep the kids connected to our culture and customs. So when one of the friends told us about this program, we jumped at getting him enrolled, only realizing it later that it involved taking him an hour drive long place for practice every Sunday. But, in the very end, it was all very worth it. He enjoyed the dance item so much, he even dances to that music now in his free item. He loved dressing up  and the overall masti associated with the dance and music (It was a Bhangra performance)
  • Other things that kept me busy throughout the month were Aayush piano performance practice, participating in a community garage sale (where I did manage to get rid of some of the old stuff from the house) and helping Aayush set up his first lemonade stand at the garage sale. He was really excited for it and I was equally interested in it because this is one skill I’d really like my kids to learn – entrepreneurship, soccer practice for kids, never ending school projects and finalizing summer camp schedule for the kids.

Wow, as I wrote it down, I do realize it was pretty busy. And the month just zoomed by.
And now I am geared up for May as well, with swimming classes starting soon for both the kids, school closing down for summer.
How was the month of April for you?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Y is for youngest member of my family

Your eyes are small, but the shine in them is the brightest
The dreams you have hidden there are not so small
Your lips are small, but the smile you give can melt the biggest ice
And oh those giggles and those cute "sowwiieee" and "pleassssssssse"
The questions you ask, with that smile are just profound
your hands are small, but the things you want to do are not so small
You want to reach anything and everything that you have your eyes on
You want to try everything that your "best buddy aka Aayush" does
Doesn't matter if he is doing homework, playing soccer, playing piano, riding a bike or even racing
Doesn't matter if you have to fake a headache and that too, you say is happening in your tummy,when I ask
Or that I need to call your doctor because you also have a wiggling tooth
That you don't even have all baby teeth out doesn't count
You are my drama queen, my sleeping beauty
Waking us with a smiling "good monning" every single day
You want to go to so many places and do many things
Your list is never ever ending
May go places all around the world as you grow up
And explore every single thing that you wish to
But you'll always be my little kashu, spreading smiles and cheer

Lots and lots and lots of love



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

X is for eXtra

Yes, x is for the extra hour/day I am trying to steal to make sure I reach the finish line for this blogging marathon. It is the first time I did this and I wanted to do it for myself, just to see if I could really do it.

And I did try my very best. Used my work lunch time to compose my posts on phone, staying awake past 11 on work days and typing my posts on my kindle. And I know I will make it; just a matter of how close to the finish line.

Thinking about it, I think most human beings are greedy by nature; always asking for something extra than what they have already achieved. And it is this zeal to have that extra is the one that keeps the flame in each of us going. Wanting to go that extra mile, giving a little more than what's expected of you, looking for that extra edge in your skills and career. So here's a parting wish for today, "May you all get what you wish for yourself and a little bit extra too" 

Keep smiling

Monday, April 28, 2014

W is for winners and losers

Every game has a winner and some losers; so is also true in the game of life. You win some and you lose some. But then in the usual game, the rules are predefined by the creator of the game.

Who decides the rules for winning and losing in my life? No one other than me. Sorry, I refuse to give that privilege to anyone else. So I have not lost it unless I decide that I have no more moves left. Similarly, what may be my definition of success may not be your definition of success. So may be we can agree to disagree and just not make any judgment about each other.

Because I believe life is not only about winners and losers but also about how you define your winnings and loss and how you get there and where you go from there.