5

Notes on Freedom

Freedom and Independence often go together. Don’t they? Between all the patriotic flavour, tricoloured clothes, fancy dress competition and rehashed history lessons and “Mera Karma Tu, Mera Dharma Tu” playing on loop, August 15th becomes a signifier of the Indian in each one of us.

As a parent to a toddler, this was our first Independence Day when we sowed the seeds of the Indian identity on V. In a fun exercise of dress up and role play I told him about Bhagat Singh. With a hat and felt moustache in tow, the little boy quite felt like a man!

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“I am Bhagat Singh.
Simon go back.
British go back”

At school he went on stage said the lines. His Principal said he was excellent…his teacher attached a note for the parents. In what was his first elocution day, it added a pretty memory for all of us.

Thanks to his school he now knows the national anthem as something Devyani Ma’ am sings and guess what Mum-um knows it too! He identifies the cluster of saffron , green and white as a flag. And takes great pride in throwing his tiny fist in the air saying “Jai Hind”.

The Indian identity is a complex thing…and no amount of deshbhakti sermons can rouse a thoughtful countryman. Let’s hope V grows up to understand the history of this country, love it and do his bit in making it a better place.

I also hope he grows up to appreciate the true spirit of freedom and independence as a human being. As parents, we can only give him the playing field to experience freedom. What he makes of it will be his own doing.

*fingers crossed*

Freedom from Expectations
It’s easier said than done. I promise to not impose my expectations on him. Does that mean I give up on him? Surely no, but I would rather equip him with the tools to set his own expectations of himself. I would rather have him set his own targets and goals in life. I would rather have him set his own standards than follow his peers.

Freedom to Choose
His books. His toys. His clothes. His hobbies. His passions. His love. His profession. His life.

Freedom to Live His Dream
I hope he has the craziest dreams in the world. More important, I want to have the nerve to see him live his dreams! Is it always about the acceptable pursuits in life? I have to be ready for the unexpected…I hope bungee jumping and moto-racing aren’t in them!

Freedom to Fail
Failure teaches more than success and winning. Why does failure have to be a negative word? Why is it feared? Why does it not motivate? I will let him fail. Fall. Bruise. Wound. And rise again.

Freedom to Express
As parents what we say is not the Holy Grail. We are humans too, prone to weaknesses and failings. We can go wrong too…and we will at some point of time. It is then we will need a son who won’t mince his words and tell us what we must do.

Freedom to be Different
‘Is he walking yet?’ ‘Is he talking yet?’ ‘He is 2.5 years, why isn’t he in playschool yet?’ V has a crazy set of parents who care a zilch for what the world says…so all he needs to do is go ahead and have the courage to be different!

Go on and shine, my boy!

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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! 🙂

10

A Box of Colours & A Lifetime of Memories

Dear V,

I know how much you love your kalaloo. Yes, at two, that’s what you call colours, no matter where you see them. In the books, in your box of crayons, in your clothes, your play dough at the traffic light and almost everywhere else, you have an adorable habit of noting the colours.

Remember these lovely colourful pencils I gave you yesterday? You loved them from the moment you set your eyes on it. You will use them a lot over the next few weeks, and months, I hope. But let me tell you a little story about them.

Colour Pencil 1

Yesterday I parted with the colour pencil set that Baba (my and not yours) had bought me from England 18 years back. It was a big thing then. Not like you when you thanks to your Baba got your baby-friendly cloth rattler from Amsterdam and your first walkie-talkie from Singaoore (which as of this date you are yet to use). Back in the day I think that was Baba’s first international work trip and I remember being thrilled to bits waiting for him to return. Because every time Baba went on a trip, he always returned with gifts for Maa, my brother and me. So when he opened up his suitcase (which we bought for this trip), out came the goodies! Baba had bought us (Mama and me) three sets of these colour pencils. And when we were in school I used them to carefully colour my study maps. Mama, I suspect lost them in his boarding school. At least I don’t remember seeing his set. All the more reason why I guarded my colours from him! But you don’t need to learn that. Tomorrow, if you have a sibling, I would love you to share your things with your sibling. J

Colour Pencil 2

So this was the spare colour pencil set; so pretty it was that I loved seeing them packed and preserved. I am sure back then I never thought of you. I didn’t know that one day I would have a beautiful baby who would love playing with colours. I didn’t know that you would first display your ambidexterity with these very colours. Here my boy, enjoy your kalaloo. Go and paint your world. Gee, Lello & Pulpul these are just some of your favourite colours.

Colour Pencil 6

No need to preserve them like I did, because as you grow up you will need a lot many colours to brighten your life. Colour your days. Your growing up. Colour your childhood. Colour your memories and mine. Don’t worry, you will never run out of kalaloo. For, if they do, I will bring them all for you, my love.

Always Yours,

Mum-um

 

Give a child a box of colours and you will see the brightest smile as pretty as a rainbow.

4

Dear Son, Happy Teachers’ Day!

Oh! So it is teachers’ day. Two years down the line, I think there is a long, long way before I graduate from Mommy School. Looking at my parents in their 50’s and 60’s, I wonder if one ever graduates from parenthood! Needless to say that this has been the most active phase of my entire life with never a dull moment. So my darling V, thank you for being the most awesome teacher in my life. Greater than my parents, than the teachers through school and college, greater than life itself!

Happy Teachers' Day

Dear V, thank you for making me,

… a better person,

…more patient,

… more creative (after all, I created you!),

…a better child,

… a willing multi-tasker,

…a not-so-efficient superwoman,

… a wanna-be story teller,

… a not-so-boring workaholic,

… more ambitious,

… a mompreneur,

… a writer,

… a student,

… a teacher,

…. a child (again),

… believe that life is about the small joys,

… see the utility of an empty bowl,

… play like a small child,

… babble like a baby,

… look at the world through your eyes,

… more responsible,

… more adventurous,

… more loving,

… more happy,

… more fat,

… more messy,

… non-organised,

… more rushed,

… more late,

… more happy,

… more content,

…cry more,

… laugh more,

… worry more,

… love more.

Thank you, my darling kiddo, thank you for choosing me to be your student.

Lots of love…may there be more and better lessons down the years,

Mum-um

4

Happy 6 months Son!

He smiles every time Mom sings him “Good Morning”

Shies and hides his face when she says “I love you, Betu”

Gurgles in delight when his Dad picks him up

Tugs at his hair as he squeals and chuckles

Daddy’s boy

That’s our son!

His toys always find their way into his mouth

Sometimes his hand, towel and his mom’s hand are juicy

He loves his rice and lentils

Vegetables too are yummy

And so are banana and grapes

A little messy

A little impatient

He has the makings of a foodie

He believes in power naps

But fools sleep late

Twisting, turning and rolling over

Nappy times are harrowing times

Out come the nursery rhymes

He loves his Mom’s books

Perhaps a page or two would taste great

Dad says he’ll be a bookworm like his Mom

She is happy and smiles inside

He loves his bath

The tub is his playground

His floating ducks his playmates

Splash! Splash! Splash!

He rubs his feet

Brings them to the surface

Tries to drink the bath water

He knows its time to sit up

Time to crawl ahead

A little by little every day

He drags a little

Pulls himself a little

He is cheered

He is cuddled

Showered kisses

Hugged tight

His hair is growing too

Darker

Covering the pate

He still makes faces

Wrinkles his nose

Flashes his dimples

And pouts

He eyes his Dad’s Ipad

Wants to hold his BlackBerry

Mom has a laptop

He taps on it with his toe

He tugs at his  Dad’s sleeve

When he wants to play

And when sleepy

He looks at his Mommy

When he isn’t happy

Little by little

With each passing day

He fills our hearts

And our lives

With unconditional love

Being a parent

Is the happiest job

Watching a child grow

Is God’s greatest blessing

Thank You Baby

Thank You God