Mommy Moments…

I’ve had my share in the time that I’ve been away from the Blog, as you may well imagine! ‘Mommy Moments’…mostly happy, sometimes tinged with sadness, often uplifting and always memorable. Full-circle moments that encapsulate everything it means to be a ‘Mom’. Is it just me, or do they tend to be tearful…happy-sad tears, eloquent in a way that words aren’t ? Maybe it’s just me.

Ishaan had his first Annual Day at school. He goes to a Montessori and their ways are rather different from mainstream pre-schools here in Goa, refreshingly so in my opinion 🙂 They actually allow for individual growth and development (Yay!!), and although I had a problem initially with the homework, once I realized they were not insistent on perfection or even completion, but focused instead on figuring out the child’s areas & level of interest, I relaxed, and have now learned to enjoy the ride. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Ishaan now adores school and asks to go everyday 🙂 He surprises me this boy of mine. he does the most unexpected things. I ask him about his friends and classmates in school and all I get are vague looks and strange mumbles. I know a couple of children that he hangs out in class with from his teacher and I just assumed he doesn’t know the others. he is the smallest in his class and he doesn’t speak too fluently yet! Silly me! Well, after they had their end-of-term class photograph taken, he pointed out each child excitedly and told me their names! I was pretty impressed and not a little surprised, simply because he had never spoken of them before! And right away I see, he’s deep. He does things when he’s good and ready and not a moment before! Well, that can be a good thing I suppose, and yet not so good when I’m trying to get him to do stuff. As I see the tell-tale stubbornness of the ‘Ram’ emerge, I foresee a colorful time ahead for all of us 😉

Also he’s finally begun to do stuff from school at home – on a whim when we least expect it! I remember the first time he began to sing ‘How Much is that Doggie in the Window’, complete with “Bow-wows’ 🙂 (Remember that song?) – it took me a while to decipher what he was saying, but the tune was unmistakable! Who can forget that universal song of childhood?! And I thought to myself, ‘So, the boy can sing!’, and just like that, happy tears 🙂

And then the day, when out-of-the-blue, he counted numbers up to 20! We had been counting to 10 with him and then he just looked shyly at me and said “Eeleben, twelbe, thir-tin, six-tin, seben-tin, eigh-tin, nine-tin, twenty!” reaching a crescendo on 20, before looking up expectantly into our rather stunned faces! Needless to say, we were all of us, suitably impressed with my little Einstein 😉 Much hugging and kissing and noisy clapping ensued which must have gone to his tiny little head, coz it’s become a bedtime ritual of sorts, with him chanting numbers in his harum-scarum way to the imaginary music in his head, while we march upstairs to bed! My son the clown 🙂 and another ‘Mommy Moment’ 🙂 But I digress!

Back to the Annual Day then, where the kids gave an hour-long performance that showcased the things they had learnt during the school year. It was all very well organized I thought, except that it was open-air and extremely hot, but what’s a little heat & sweat for the children eh?! The week before, parents received emails and printouts of clear instructions on arrival, drop-off and pick-up times. I had been requested by a teacher to help in the award ceremony and was glad to help. They had picked four professions they were show-casing in the Concert – doctors, writers, economists & teachers and they wanted a parent from each field. Hubby of course missed his son’s first stage appearance. He was off holidaying on a business trip in Portugal so I took Mom who as you can imagine was only too happy to come!

We got to school and found seats on the steps of the open-air amphitheatre. The concert began with the lighting of the lamp, as do most events here on the sub-continent. I liked that they didn’t have any fancy guests, but the parent of their first student do the honors 🙂 The children put up a wonderful show. They displayed various skills they’d learnt, which when you think about it are still the basic R’s – Reading, wRiting & a‘Rithmetic! They made a book and read out of it, converted currencies (!!), did yoga, sang songs, separated foods into their nutrient food-groups and recited poetry. Ishaan was part of the Zoologist group! My son the explorer 😉 They put on a familiar tableau – Lifecycle of the Butterfly. There were about six kids, and the two youngest, (Ishaan was one), were given the job of getting on to stage (preferably without stumbling), picking up two large arrows and sitting on their mats with the arrows pointing the right way! It had been a long wait…and as I watched Ishaan finally cue up by the stage, I had to battle conflicting emotions. I was ‘Anxious Mom’, ‘Proud Mom’, ‘Happy Mom’, ‘Concerned Mom’ all rolled into one – a nouvelle feeling for me! One part of me was hoping he wouldn’t see me in case that upset him or made him so happy, he forgot his tiny part; while the other, stifled the urge to go up and squeeze the Life out of him! Aah…the travails of Mommyhood 😛 He did see me! He gave me that trademark shy smile that he has, when he’s trying to be a ‘big’ boy, but stayed in his place. Already I was a bundle of nerves with a lump in my throat, and he hadn’t even taken a step! An older boy helped him on to stage and led him to his place and I am very proud to say, he picked up his arrow and settled on his mat like a little angel throughout the performance which lasted about 5 minutes 🙂 Note to self: Get magic spell for making toddlers sit still from miracle-working teachers in school. When the tableau concluded with an older girl unfurling her silk cocoon to reveal a butterfly, my boy continued to sit in his place, until his teacher led him off gently, as the other children left, waving flags! Moral of the story: A man and his arrow are not easily parted 😉

The Man & his arrow!

He came back out a little later with all the children for the award ceremony. We four gave every child a medal – no firsts or seconds, no bests – just equals. I loved it 🙂 The ceremony concluded with the National Anthem, which is one of Ishaan’s favorite songs, along with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and De Ghumake, the Anthem for the recently concluded Cricket World Cup. He sings it ever so often at home, as an effective distraction, usually when he wants to shut out my yelling, which is pretty often 😛 He did not however sing a word of it that day on that stage! I wouldn’t be honest if I said I wasn’t just a teeny-weeny bit disappointed, not because he didn’t sing, but because I thought he loved it so much he wouldn’t be able to resist! Moral of the story: Mothers don’t know everything. They just like to think they do 😛

Medals & the Anthem!

It was a wonderful, happy morning for all concerned 🙂 And in typical Mom fashion, the show had hardly ended before I was off day-dreaming about next year, when Ishaan would hopefully play a more active role! Living in & for the future…that’s Me 😉 In the car, on the way home, Ishaan has already moved on to his favorite thing in the whole, entire world – Cricket! As he chatters on about Sachin (his favorite), and Sehwag & Dhoni & Harbhajan (all members of the Indian team that won the World Cup)  and I pretend to pay attention (Yes, I do pretend! Quite often in fact and I feel no guilt so sue me :P), my mind wanders to how quickly he’s growing up! Conflicted Mom’ takes over…I want to freeze time so he stays like this forever – innocent, trusting, protected and happy. No, no! I want him to grow up, so I’m done with the raising and start to enjoy the just being (like that will ever happen!), be a star in whatever he chooses to do and still stay innocent, trusting, protected and happy. I want only the light, never the shadows. Aah…I want the world for my boy. Can you blame me?! I know, I know! I’m delusional! It’s alright. Comes with ‘Mommy’ territory 😉 

Loud shouts of “Muuuuuuuuuuumy!” in my ear interrupt my reverie…he’s catching on. He knows when I’m not paying attention…”Muuuuuuuuuuuumy!”…”What?! I’m right here!”….He always keeps me grounded this boy, never lets me stray too far away from the business of being a Mom 😉 He’s smart like that and rock solid. My anchor 🙂 Howz that for a Moment, eh? 😀

That’s it for this post…but more Mommy Moments to come. A big one…the Birthday!

Have a Fun Sunday, People 🙂

Epiphany

This morning I had a moment. You know – the kind of moment that arrives without warning, usually offering a calm oasis in the midst of chaos. The kind of moment that comes sometimes from recognizing the truth but mostly from just accepting it. Yup…an epiphany.

I had a rather thorny start to my day. Granny had a fall on her way to the loo early this morning at 4 am. I was completely unaware of the fact until I came down all bleary-eyed in the morning. Thankfully, nothing’s broken, just some nasty bruising. At her age (she’ll turn 85 in April) though, I’ll take bruises over a fracture anytime! Unfortunately in characteristic fashion, I had been rather short with her. It’s just like me that. My concern always seems to manifest masquerade as irritation, especially with those I love. I don’t why that is, except to blame it on some genetic character flaw beyond my control or maybe it’s a defensive mechanism to mask my fear of losing my loved ones. Whatever the reasons, suffice it to say, when it’s time for Ishaan to leave for school, I am not in a good place.

He is outside as always, playing cricket with our driver and Pushpa, utterly oblivious to all of Mom’s flaws for the moment 🙂 Oh that it would stay like that forever! Hubby calls out. It’s time to leave and there’s a flurry of Goodbyes to Pushpa, Grandpa and Grandma. It’s a familiar scene, repeated every Monday through Friday before he leaves. Just before he climbs into the car, I hug him and hold him close, tousle his hair and tickle him while he lays his head on my shoulder, in the crook of my neck (a perfect fit :)). He erupts with laughter and climbs onto Hubby in the car. The sun is shining and my boy is happy. His eye’s are sparkling and his tiny nose is all scrounged up, crinkled with joy 🙂 Suddenly I am in awe of this perfect moment when nothing else matters but the happiness that radiates from my son in great big tidal waves 🙂 I know, I know, it’s crazy…we’ve done this a million times before, but today, although I’m laughing with him and squishing my nose against the car window making funny faces, inside I’m still. Something is different.

Magic smile!

There’s a strange duality to the moment. I’m suddenly aware of its fragility. Of the power of laughter & the healing that comes with happiness. Somewhere deep within, a load feels lighter. There are a million good things in this World and a million bad, but there’s not too many things that can’t be made better by the sound of your child’s laughter 🙂 But the moment is also symbolic of the power my son has over me. Of how my happiness is now forever linked with his and my eyes get teary – whether from joy or sadness is hard to say. Probably both. It’s scary but I feel cleansed.

I stand still and watch the road after the car is long gone. He’s growing up so quickly…too quickly. And that’s when it struck me. It’s always like this between parents and children isn’t it. Children moving away, parents left behind, happy, concerned, and proud. Did I think it would be any different for me? This is how it’ll always be…him leaving, me watching him go…happy, concerned, fingers crossed, like mothers everywhere.

I take a deep breath and walk back inside.

Wedding Tales:Leftovers!

This is the last post in the wedding series. 5 posts for the 5 days I was away seems like a fair trade! Just had a few things I wanted to share, leftover from posts 1 through 4.

My voyage of discovery:

1. I can survive away from Ishaan (barely) for 5 whole days. He can survive away from me, quite happily however, for the same amount of time 🙂

2. Reruns of ‘Charmed‘, a series I enjoyed, are showing on AXN @ 6 pm 🙂 A fact I discovered in Hotel Elite in Tiruvalla!

3. Not every wedding is about garish bling, overdressing and an overt display of wealth! Some can still be tasteful and straight from the heart 🙂

4. There’s nothing quite like steaming hot mutton biryani 🙂

5. The jury is still out for train travel in India. For me travelling First Class is not a luxury, it’s a question of survival!

6. If a destination is well-connected by air, fly! When it’s not, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

7. When buying sarees, less is more 🙂 Also applicable when buying, eating, thinking food 😉

8. Train travel is much pleasanter when one is lucky in travel companions and the views gorgeous 🙂 I guess that applies to all travel in general!

9. I discovered a side of myself that was not paranoid about sharing personal details with fellow travelers and actually enjoyed the interaction with people I would never have met otherwise 🙂

10. When in need – Ms. Blyton never fails me 🙂

There’s a moment from the wedding I want to share. I had just finished greeting Auntie outside the church while waiting for the bride and groom to arrive, when I heard an urgent, excited voice calling out my name, ‘Harsha? Is that you, Harsha?” and as I turned, I found myself enveloped in a bear hug! It was Reena’s (an old school friend) Mom and she was thrilled to see me and I was happily surprised to see her after all these years, nearly 2 decades! She cupped my face and said the best thing anyone can ever say to a woman a certain age – “You are looking so young dear!”, and she obviously meant it 🙂 She looked amazing herself and we went over to meet Uncle who didn’t look a day older than when I saw him last! He then went on to call his daughter, my friend Reena and arrange an impromptu phone conversation! What a wonderful thing to do! Moments like these are what Life is all about 🙂

And that’s it for the trip and the wedding. I’ve enjoyed reliving my memories through the blog and I hope you guys have enjoyed reading as much as I the writing 🙂

Now…back to routine…or maybe not…Ishaan starts play-school on Wednesday…should be fun…for us both 😉


Moments…

Yesterday morning was special…my dad tried his hand at driving again after ages. Frankly, I can’t remember the last time he drove the car, it’s that long ago! He learnt late like me, in his forties and quit when Parkinson’s struck. The tremors made it difficult to change gears and gradually he lost confidence and stopped driving altogether.

So, yesterday morning, when he got into the car and started the engine, we all ran out shocked with surprise! While it’s true that this past year, we’ve managed to get his symptoms under control, we were surprised that he would even want to attempt such a thing! Well, it didn’t stop there. He called out to my Mom and Ishaan and off they all went, chugging hesitantly down the road as my father rediscovered the power in his limbs and the courage in his heart. 🙂 I have no words to describe what I felt then, a combination of pride and joy tinged with trepidation – but all good! Yes indeed, all good! 🙂

They were back in 15 minutes (all of which my Granny spent praying earnestly to every God in her book, to deliver them home safely! So much for confidence in your son-in-law ;-)), my Dad’s face aglow with excitement and a sense of accomplishment. 🙂 He even attempted, successfully albeit haltingly, I might add, to reverse the car back into our garage! We all broke into spontaneous applause when he alighted and it was one of the happiest moments we’ve shared as a family in recent times and one that we will cherish always. 🙂

He may never get back to driving full time, frankly he doesn’t need nor want to, but the occasional drive with Ishaan and Mom will bring them all great joy, I know. 🙂

It’s moments like these that make all the rest of it worth your while…

Serendipity…

Last night…I had a moment…one of those much-needed, unexpected, ‘all is well with the world’ kind of moments…

I was out all day at a medical CME on Pediatric Rheumatology and had spent Sunday, away from my munchkin, listening to lectures on how to diagnose, investigate and treat children with all kinds of joint aches and pains and other related issues. That’s the thing about Pediatrics, while it is uplifting to be of help to children, it is hard (though necessary of course) to have to sit through images and cases of those same children suffering from all kinds of problems and for the most part, being ever so brave about pain and life in general. It’s heartbreaking and yet so incredibly…I don’t know…I can’t seem to find the right words to describe their extraordinary courage, but I know they have my complete and total admiration – I salute them! So after watching pictures of children suffering from all manner of deformities, I came home rather jaded, looking to escape reality, for sweet release from a day of overwhelming medical jargon and debate. I was anesthetized from all the listening and thinking I had been forced to do and longed for my two tried and tested ‘stress-busters’ – my boy’s impish smile and a comfy bed! I needed a renewal of spirit.

Back home, after a quick dinner, I gathered up Ishaan and off we went, upstairs to bed. Lying down, side by side, we curled up, rather like a dog curls up on itself, with its tail tightly wound around its body, a ball of warm fur 🙂 That’s when I realized, how well he & I fit together 🙂 How wonderfully he fills the hollow spaces in and around me, physically, emotionally, spiritually, with his presence –  his fragrance, his smile, his fingers that clasp mine. How beautiful it is to hear him whisper “Mama” as only he can, how one deep look into his sleep-drenched, liquid eyes makes my life, my world, this planet a better place…and to know that here – I am needed, I am loved, I am safe, I am home 🙂

Serendipity 🙂

Click!

Lately I’ve developed an avid interest in photography, thanks to one of my best friends Anshu, who first introduced me to the magical world of pixels and shutter speeds! I’m one of those eager amateurs, that when they get their hands on a camera, start snapping away, any place, anytime or should I say, every place, all the time – often annoying all & sundry, which, in my case, usually turns out to be hubby dearest!! He’s often had to stop the car, braking dangerously, with me shrieking “STOP!!!!STOP NOW!!!!CAN’T YOU SEE, THIS IS JUST PICTURE PURRRRFECT???” It’s happened so often now, he takes it in his stride – like he has a choice! Seriously though – he’s a good man 😉

So on my recent trip back home to Goa, I went kind of shutter-crazy! I’m lucky though – Goa is beautiful, even through the amateur lens 🙂 I must confess, since I grew up here, I was for ever so long immune to her unique charm. I craved, ‘the fast life’, speed, excitement, adventure and the Goa of my childhood and teens was anything but! Now I’m moving back after 14 years and Goa has changed like most places would, after a long chunk of time. Yet, something of the ‘old world charm’ still remains, in the quietness of its temples after the tourists are gone, the off-season beauty of its beaches, the silence of its pristine white chapels and the feeling of oneness with nature that is never far away. The very things that once drove me away, now bring me back, offering hope and the promise of a new beginning! A ‘Full Circle’ moment if ever there was one!

Thank you Goa – for shaping my Life! You dwell eternal in my soul…

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: My Goa!
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P.S. This is my first Smilebox creation to be posted on the blog, but expect more – am a self-confessed Smilebox addict! You have been warned 😉