Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Letter to My Son - On Your First Day of School

My Shona,

It's a big day tomorrow. It's your big day! For tomorrow, you begin a brand new journey that will teach you so much, carve and mould your personality and take you places. This journey also means venturing out from the comfort and security of your home, as well as the paranoia of your mumma.

You're super excited, as any toddler would be. You've ensured your bag is packed and picked the tiffin you're going to take too. In fact, you wanted to go to school right away (at 8.30 pm!), but this mother of yours put you to bed instead.

To say that mumma is excited wouldn't really be very apt. Your mumma is super nervous and jittery. If course, it might not be a big deal for others as every child eventually goes to school, but only you and I know how critical and big a moment this is for both of us.

We've not been apart for more than a couple of hours in all these three and a half years, and that too you've only been with your Dadda. To put it in short, we both are like Velcro, isn't it?

Your second home, your school, will teach you a lot and give you plenty of friends. I wish that you also learn the basic life skills as you learn what the books have to offer to you. Always be kind, betu, with everyone, irrespective of everything. And learn humility. No work is big or small, neither is any profession. Treat everyone with respect always, like you do now. Thank a person when you should and apologize when you need to. To make it big in life, it's important to be a good human first.

It's going to be fun out there, betu, and a little crazy too. While this journey is long and often challenging, it's super adventurous, I assure you! You'll tread new paths. You'll falter. You'll learn. You'll grow.

And as you spread your wings and embrace the teachings from your teachers and create new relationships, your mumma and Dadda will have your back always, at every step and in every decision. Put your heart in everything you do and believe me, the rest will simply follow. For only where your heart is, you can invest all the required time, dedication, and effort. As you strive to achieve your goals and fulfil your dreams, remember our love for you will not waver with your grades or your rank. You are our world and in your happiness, lies ours.

Go on, my little sunshine. Do not fret. Do not be afraid. This world is beautiful and will be even better as you step into it. Spread your love and laughter everywhere. Live every moment to the fullest and never cease to learn.

You are our rockstar! We love you!

~Mumma

Friday, June 30, 2017

Raising Prabir- Humour Amid Chaos!

We were stuck in the (in)famous Delhi rain traffic jam, trying to look for a way out, exasperated. Just then, the title song from the Dhoni biopic started playing.

Puzzled, Prabir asks, "Mumma, har gali mein Dhoni hai! Dhoni toh ek hi gali mein ho sakta hai... hai na?"

And we all burst out laughing.

There's life in every moment... even in the middle of a pathetic traffic jam. And we adults tend to take life too seriously. Just a little reminder to laugh more, enjoy the rains, hum along with the music and live a little more :)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lessons from My Life

I was never a brilliant student, going by the academic standards set by our system. Though I did fare a little above the average usually, it was never good enough, neither for my parents nor the teachers. I still have a few of my report cards and the remarks have been consistently similar through the years - Neha is a bright child but needs to focus more and can do much better.

Though there were things I happened to be naturally good at, like sports, public speaking and even a bit of dramatics etc. Yet, it was never good enough. If I participated in a competition (and I participated in most of them!), it was expected of me to win. A second position or (God forbid!) a third meant failure. It had to be No. 1 or nothing at all.

And it was this incessant pressure to excel and win that broke me on those several occasions when I didn't get the top spot. Most of the times, the sheer fun and enthusiasm involved in participating was crushed with that pressure. And often, I had cold feet, numb fingers and a dry throat just before my turn at the mike or before aiming a basketball during a high intensity match. And I'd fail! It wasn't nervousness as much as it was the fear of failure and the consequent rejection I knew I'd face. Like every child, I wanted to feel loved and make my family and teachers proud of me. Yet, more often than not, I felt helpless and gave in to mindless self blaming and even guilt.

Today, as I look back at those times as a mother myself, I understand better as to why I was expected to excel in all. And that my parents did just what most parents do - make me fall in line and adhere to the standards set up by our education system and society. For it is, sadly, only the academic brilliance that is still noted and encouraged. Creativity and professions related to it weren't and still aren't given their due. Children are still measured by the digits they are able to rake up in the report cards through rote learning, which make or break a child's career as well as confidence.

My professors in college wanted me to prepare and sit for civil examinations. They'd tell me about the greener pastures in the IAS part of the world. When I defied them and took up a course in mass communication instead, most thought I'd lost my mind. That was over a decade ago. And even after so many years of work experience, I still am in the process of finding a profession or work I can give my heart and soul to.

Would that mean I've lost out because I didn't follow the norms or the herd? No. Instead, I've learned and grown. I've tested more waters than many others would have. I've failed and succeeded and learned a lot in that process. I've known hard work and most importantly, I've followed my heart. And that makes me happy.

As a mother, I pray that I don't get influenced by social and academic pressures as my parents did. While I'd want my son to excel, it shouldn't be at the cost of his confidence or never should he feel the need to excel to rise in my eyes. I want him to know that coming second, or even third, isn't a failure. There's just one top spot out there and it goes to the one who performs the best on a given day. And that doesn't mean that others weren't good. It's what he learns in the process which is important. Success doesn't necessarily imply self worth, for a child is much more than the medals and trophies (s)he brings home. I want him to know that his mother will stand by him through his failures and achievements and that she'll have his back always. 

For that's all I needed as a child and I know that's all my son would ask of his mother, in words or in deeds. And for that, I'm prepared.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Raising Prabir- Talking Shapes

Prabir (just now, looking at our marriage pic) - Mumma, woh jo tumhari shaadi ki photo hai uss mein aisi mumma kyon hai? (In that marriage photograph, why does mumma look like this?)

Me- kaisi thi mumma tab? (How was mumma then?)

Prabir - round round

Me- ab? (Now?)

Betu - Oval

I always knew motherhood reshapes you and your life completely. Hence proved!!

#RaisingPrabir #ToddlerTalks

😂😂😂😂😂

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Raising Prabir- A Lesson for Life

We were walking out of the passport office last week when this little one came happily to Prabir, wagging its tail. Prabir declared that it's hungry and fed him a few biscuits I was carrying.

As we moved on after feeding the puppy, Prabir asked who will feed it when it's hungry again. I had no answers for him then, yet a sense of satisfaction loomed large within me.

Nothing exceptional in what happened, but a life lesson well learnt.




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Raising Prabir - A Telephone Conversation

Prabir on a pretend-play call with his imaginary friend DD. The monologue went something like this:

"Yes, DD. Tum aa rahe ho mere ghar? Tumhe raasta pata hai? Nahi...? Main bataata huin raasta. Yahaan se Wahaan!"

(Transalated - "Yes, DD. Are you coming home? Do you know the way? No..? I will tell you the way. From here to there!")

That friend will never reach our home, it seems! 😂😂😂😂😂

Monday, December 26, 2016

Raising Prabir - A beautiful morning

Our househelp took a break from mopping the floor to have a cup of tea. While she stood with her cup near the kitchen door,  Prabir rushed to his room. He emerged with a little stool and kept it near her, asking her to sit.

Sitting at the dining table, sipping my coffee and simply taking in what just happened, I smiled as my eyes welled up. There's something somewhere I did do right as his mother.