2

Your Childhood, Our Childhood – Part 1

Call it a surge of emotions or some deep thinking about how man held the imagination of an entire nation – as Sachin plays his last test, I am left contemplating about the man who I have shared my childhood with. Why me? We all have grown up with him. There is a collective loss of childhood as Sachin retires. Ironic, that this is the same man who taught us that you don’t have to leave your ‘child-like’ enthusiasm for a sport. I believe it is this one quality that has made Sachin truly brilliant. 24 years later, he still pursues his game like a child.

 To me, he is the man who truly embodies the spirit of Stay A Child Forever

Sachin for Vihaan

Okay, let’s begin by saying…we grew up watching Sachin Tendulkar. Whenever we watch cricket, we will tell you with pride (and nostalgia), “We lived in the time of the great Sachin Tendulkar.” So live with it.

Just like our parents boasted of Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Holding, Sobers…we will fill you with stories about Tendulkar. And yes, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble, Sehwag…and all those greats who retired before you started watching cricket.

It’s perhaps too early to say if you will ever play the sport. We hope you do play it someday, in fact any sport at all. Just for the ability of unleashing your energy on a game, for harnessing your strengths, to accept your weaknesses. Playing a sport will teach you about winning. It will teach you to accept defeat. It will push you to work harder. Most importantly, it will teach you to compete not just with your competitor, but with yourself first. Playing a sport teaches you resilience, fortitude and builds strength…less physical, more mental. You will know what it means to follow a discipline. You will understand the true meaning of love and respect. Only he lasts who loves his sport and respects it.

It is not about the talent which you naturally have. It is more about the talent that you can acquire. You will have to be humble, because it is the one thing that will see you through your highs and lows. It will push you to work harder. To challenge yourself every time you fall. Being a sportsman, you will have to reinvent yourself, because somewhere along the way there will be hurdles. There will be someone who will discover your deepest weaknesses and beat you. As you grow up, you will discover the voices in your head. One voice will tell you about those who watch you play, those you compete against, those you play with. Another, a little quiet voice will tell you about yourself. It will tell you what to do. If you are a sportsman, you will learn to listen to that faint voice…always.

You can read the rest of the post at Parentous 

16

Stay A Child Forever – Children’s Day Contest

When Vihaan was young

…wait a minute, I always have to check myself from saying that!

I am a two year old mother. And every now and then I forget that he is still very small. He likes aping his father, and like a typical fan-boy does everything his father does. He rolls up his sleeves, wants to wear a blazer the first thing in the morning, eat from his Baba’s plate, parrots him when he says something…everything that he does leaves me watching in disbelief. He has a preference for clothes, he likes to dress up and steal a glance in the mirror. He has favourite toys, and he watches over them with great care. Even a broken car cannot be thrown away because it is “Mumma-gaayi” (Mommy’s car – a miniature Nano).  He has favourite games on the iPad, which he knows how to operate. He picks up dances perfectly and almost any sound is enough for him to start tapping. When Baba and Mum-um are in the middle of a conversation, he joins us for his two bits. Mostly it is a babble of seemingly sounding intelligent words.

In everything that he does, I can’t help but notice that he is growing up! And oh! So fast…

I wish I could do something to turn back time. I wish could do something to freeze these moments. I wish I could keep my child a child forever!

Stay a child forever title

It is not just about moments…it is about the child-like qualities that I cherish about our journey as child and parents. I have forgotten many things about my childhood. And my parents only remember a select few…small snippets that are our pet conversation points when we meet. But I often wonder if I shared the same qualities that V exhibits today; his ability to deal with rejection, for instance. It’s a sheer moment of delight to watch my son walk up to absolute strangers and befriend them. With a smile and an tiny hand outstretched, he believes everyone will be his friend. The very next moment my heart is broken into a million pieces as I watch him being turned down. It hurts to see him being turned away from a game of play by the older boys. Unflinchingly, he tries again. I wonder if I was like that as a child. If I was, then what happened as I grew up? How come I am disappointed with rejection? Why do I give up so soon? Why have lost patience?

Childhood for most of us is a pretty memory of the past. And as I watch my son grow up, I hope it isn’t the same for him. I hope and pray that he doesn’t grow up thinking that his childhood was an idyllic world. I hope that my child grows up to carry some special qualities into adulthood. I believe that childhood doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. Childhood is special to us because of the worldview we had has children. It is remains an idyllic world because it wasn’t coloured by prejudice. It remains a fond memory because as children we were ruled by our hearts.

So dear V, please stay a child forever. Please carry these beautiful qualities all your life. Carry them with pride and believe me, life will be just the way it is now…

Curiosity-final

Stay the curious child that you are! When you were just a few months old, all you wanted to do was be held up. When you began to crawl, all you wanted to do was explore your surroundings. You find intelligent and crazy ways to discover things around you…sometimes even yourself. Your are curious about your reflection. But I can’t help imagine what if there was really a mirror image of you? Am I curious about that thought? Umm…I don’t know! Don’t let that happen to you when you grow up.               

forgiveness-text

Every morning I trick you on my way out of the house. My heart breaks every time I step into the car because by then you realize that I am gone for the next 10 hours. And I can hear you cry for me. I think of you all day, wondering if you are thinking of me too. But your little big heart soon forgets me. By the time I return in the evening you forgive me for not being there. Please be forgiving. There will be bigger disappointments in life, more hurtful moments and things that wouldn’t be pleasing. Don’t hold a grudge ever…may your little big heart have it in you to forgive forever.

Smile through your tearsIt takes a lot to smile through tears. And looking at you, I know how effortless you make it look. That time when you were hospitalized, even between those raging fevers and painful injections, you kept the whole hospital staff smiling. May you always find a reason to smile…not just for yourself but also for those close to you.

Sense of Wonder-text

From you I have learnt that there is music when utensils are banged. That there is beauty in watching the rain and sailing little pretty paper boats. Never lose your sense of wonder. Give the world a chance to surprise you. Keep the discoverer in you alive and don’t be scared of taking risks. Yes, but when I ask you not to jump on the bed, please listen to me!

little joys in life - text

When you came into my life I learnt that there are little things in life that matter. You taught me to play with a broken toy. You taught me to enjoy a hug. You taught me that it is fun to sit at the dinner table and eat together. That it is beautiful to watch a Youtube video of a baby chasing a tiger in a zoo and laugh as if it is us! The tickles at bed time. The silly mix of hockey, cricket, football and golf that Baba and you play. The silly steps that you make us do. The selfless kisses you give me…life is about these moments. These are the little joys of life. May you always find your moments of happiness.

collage-stay a child forever

Never give up - text

When you have to walk a mile, you often ask to be picked up. You are not a cranky child…and you know that no matter how hard my resolve it will eventually dissolve. In this world, dear son, everyone’s heart is not as vulnerable as your mothers. There will be many roadblocks ahead. There will be many challenges. Like your little persuasive self, that you are now, never give up. You will have your way. It will be tough, but not impossible. So hang in there!

Imagination - text

You believe us when we attempt to threaten you with a lizard. As you grow up you will know it was just the light we’d switch on in the balcony…but in your little child’s brain, you would imagine a lizard, flashing its eyes. You humour us…just because we are trying to scare you! Sometimes you turn your blocks into a garage for your cars. Sometimes you make a room for your soft toys. I love to watch you pretend play…keep imagining my child. The world is yours, as long as you look beyond the obvious.

utility

Looking at you, we know a toy basket is not just for storage. We look at you and learn that a souvenir can become a driver in your car.  Or that the cushions on the sofa can form a hurdle for your cars. or Pooh can take a plane ride. To me, you are the master of all things juggad! Keep it that way, and you will find many solutions in your life.

Never Stop Learning - text

Be it words, numbers, colours, or the beginning of alphabets. Or the sheer joy of reading. I watch you in delight as you naturally pick up learning skills. I am not doing anything here…I am just trying to make learning fun. Even if it is to learn how to make funny noises in your mouth! So far, it is…and as long as it remains that way, I am sure you will keep learning. Never close your mind to anything. There is so much to read, see and experience. There is something to learn every day. Today Radha Maashi (your nanny) teaches you numbers. Tomorrow someone else will give you life’s lessons. I hope you are always open to learning. Life ends, the day you stop learning…

get your hands dirty - text

You are a child now, and it is the one thing that you instantly love. You love your hands messy. You love to colour your hands, to squash a tomato, or sit on the floor and get them dirty. Just like when you paint, remember you have to sometimes get your hands messy in order to make something. Don’t be scared of it…

Contest Details

Share with us that one childhood memory or quality you would want your child to remember forever…because childhood doesn’t have to be a thing of the past.

Open to parents of all ages! It doesn’t matter how old your child is! If she is grown up like me, tell us how she resembles the person she was a child. Or if she has lost that spark in her, why she should she bring it back! I would love my parents to share. 🙂

Contest Sponsor

This time round, we’ve got not one but three different sponsors! Each of them Entrepreneurs in their own right, building their companies through passion and talent.

THE MOTHER’S BASKET 

A mother takes care of the home, hearth and family. From mothering a baby, to setting the perfect table, to fluffing the pillows, to knitting woollies for the grandchild, to weaving the perfect shrug for her daughter. A mother, a homemaker she has her hands full all through the day. The Mother’s Basket is a home-business for one such enterprising home maker. What began as a hobby grew into a preoccupation, and today Shampa Ghosh at 55, is venturing into the world of entrepreneurship with a hope to make lives of other mothers beautiful. 100% handmade, 100% homemade, these items will make your life truly colourful.

MOTHERS BASKET

Shampa Ghosh (who happens to by my mother :)) will give away a hand-crocheted stole. Made of baby-soft wool, this pink, cosy piece will go well with all outfits and silhouettes.

CREATIVE BOX

Started in 2006 by Bhairavi Malkani, Creative Box began its journey by conducting art & craft workshops, with environment as a theme. Taking this theme a step further and combining it with a personal penchant for folk art & fashion, it ventured into fashion accessories, home & living products and wall art.The little box brings out a mix of clutches, handbags, trays, coasters, boxes and home decor products which are purely hand-made and up-cycled. All the products are made from left-over,unused or extra fabric, accessories, materials etc, which are sourced from various tailors, shops and almost everyone who has something that they don’t know what to do with. The products are hand-crafted with skilled artisans thereby supporting their welfare and livelihood and also preserving our folk culture. Bhairavi also conducts art & craft workshops for all ages. At the workshops various kinds of art are taught – warli painting, glass painting, paper craft, upcycled art(using waste things and turning them into utility or decor products) and regular drawing & painting. Bhairavi was born into a creative family with her mother and sister into baking, and other siblings as a professional artist and advertising. For Bhairavi, her husband is her biggest source of inspiration and ideas.

Creative BoxBhairavi will give-away a specially designed Vanilla-Creme handbag…a perfect accessory for the fashionable mum!

YELLOW GIRAFFE 

Richa is the founder of ToyTasting, a video channel on toys. After its success, she launched an online toy store called Yellow Giraffe. Apart from being a regular contributor to international toy magazines, she is  part of the international Trend Committee at the International Toy fair which is held in Nuremberg, Germany. Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg is the largest international trade fair for toys and games held annually since 1949. Richa stays in Mumbai with her husband and two daughters.

YG-Final

Since toys are personal, Richa and I agreed that parents should be allowed to select the perfect toy for their children. As the third prize, we give away Rs 1000 discount voucher for a single purchase at Yellow Giraffe.
All You Have To Do

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On-board the MommyshipCreative Box & Toy Tasting

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VeesMother (That’s Me!)

Tell us in not more than 150 words that one quality you want your child to remember all his / her life. You can use the blog or the Facebook Page to post your comment. You can also send me your entry by email. Send your entries to: rituparna (dot) doc @ gmail (dot) com.

We would love you to share one image as well, although it is not mandatory. There are prizes for all entries, so you’re a winner anyway.

Contest is open to residents of India and is open all through November!

So write in! 🙂

2

Book Review: Watch Out

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I have a curious obsession with language. We are Bengalis and most of our conversation at home is in Bangla. Most of our books are in English. When it comes to V and his books, I read them to him in English and translate it with words he is familiar with. As V grows up I know Bangla will recede into the background. Much like it is for us. And English will become his first language too. You can read a previous post to know better.

So when I found this delightful bilingual book from Tulika Books, I grabbed it.

Watch Out is a beautifully illustrated, action-packed book about three baby lions. One morning their mother sets off to get her baby lions food. While she is away the baby lions decide to play. And in their innocent play they encounter some very dangerous animals. From an eagle that threatens to scoop them away, to a crocodile that crawls towards them at the watering hole, the porcupine scares them unknowingly and a wicked hyena that growls at them menacingly…life without mommy lion is difficult and unknown. Like with every other nice story, mommy lion returns right on time to defend her babies. She roars back at the hyena, sending him running back to his pack.

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V has a set of wooden animals. So while we were reading I decided to bring out his crocodile. He made an instant connect and in his baby language all right said, “Crocodile is here, run away!”

Watch Out is written by Shamim Padamsee. A grandmother of four, she is passionate about wildlife and has written children’s literature. Most of the text contains action words like, “Let’s play”, “Let’s pounce”, “Let’s drink” or “Let’s roll”…making children instantly connect with the histrionics of these playful cubs. But the jungle is not a safe place. The animals come for the cubs but the text doesn’t namr them. Elsewhere in the book (on the inside covers actually) the animals are drawn with their names im English and Hindi.

For V it’s his first exposure to some of the animals. The Eagle (since his understanding of birds extends only to the harmless pigeon) and the Porcupine (I am trying to make him understand the existence of an animal with prickly thorns) to be precise. What’s a revelation for me are the Hindi names of some of these animals. For the longest time I thought a crocodile in Hindi is called magarmach, well it is also called ghadiyaal. Thanks to the book I know that a porcupine is called Saahi in Hindi. See, there’s something we learn everyday. 🙂

Watch Out is a bilingual book from the house of Tulika Books available in a combination of different Indian languages with English being a common language.  But I discovered this only when I checked the book on their site.

Ajanta Guhathakurta and her beautiful illustrations for children’s books is well established.  I particularly loved the three cubs…with bright and naughty eyes, that’s how kids are, no matter which species. I also liked the double page silhouette illustration of dusk.

Do you read bilingual books to your kids? Tulika Books recommends Watch Out for 2 year olds. Mine enjoyed it.