Experiences, Introspection, Life, Little Moments, Ram Leela

The best laid plans (LMT Post)

After waking up every hour or so since midnight, I finally tossed my comforter to embrace the day in all its fullness. I had a plan. To make lunch for Ram for today and tomorrow. To review Tamizh with Hari for 15 mins. To unload and load the dishwasher. To make dhalia and sambar for dinner. To go on a quick 15-min morning walk. All before my work hour began at 8:30 A.M. A very doable plan. Except that I conveniently failed to factor one critical variable in the equation.

“Mommy, mommy, I am here”, chirped little Ram dressed in his hooded sweater, having woken up earlier than expected. He too had a plan. To read. To eat breakfast. To play. With who? Why, with amma of course!

The sight of steaming hot pasta in the colander must have tickled his hunger pangs. He quickly grabbed the lunch box meant for the next day and was eager to gobble the macaroni. “Are you sure you want to have pasta for breakfast Ram?” I asked in vain with the ultimate motive to save it for the next day as I intended to “I like pasta. I am hungry and I want to eat it now. Can you read Mallipoo Sundari and Lai Lai elephant now.” Sigh! Reading to kids during breakfast is a non-negotiable part of our routine. As much as it does not foster good eating habits, it’s something I look forward to. It’s my way of hitting the pause button during the morning rush hour for some togetherness. Normally that’s fine, but today Hari had an early start to his day, so it was the time budgeted for reviewing Tamizh with him. “Hari, let’s do Tamizh in the evening, ok kanna?” Double sigh!

Fast forward 20 mins, breakfast done, child happy, mamma happy. Or so I thought. Just when I patted myself for not losing it so far, Ram came upto me with his basketball in hand – “Can you play with me for sometime?” Nooooo! screamed the voice in my head. “Illa da kanna, it’s amma’s turn to work in the kitchen”, saying so I moved to take my pots and pans for dhalia and sambar, the frustration of not having anything on my To Do list slowly building up.

After dodging Ram for the next 10 mins, I warned him that he has only five minutes to play after which he had to get ready for school. He came up to me and said, “But amma you didn’t play with me. I wanted to play with you in the morning.” Darn, those bambi eyes, that endearing smile..!

Playing with me for those few minutes meant the world to him this morning. How many years is he going to want me so intensely? And yet letting go of my needs to accommodate his does not come easily or naturally at all times. I muster every ounce of maturity and heave a big sigh again! Except this time, it is not accompanied with frustration but with lightness that comes from simply letting go. So for the next few minutes, we tag team to focus on HIS plan. The plan to just be with each other!

Sometimes the best laid plans are the ones that lead to other plans.

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Craziness

Did you read about how the city of Atlanta came to a screeching halt yesterday and is still reeling from the measly two inches of snow? Apparently, there was nothing amiss with the weather forecast except that the city was in denial and in general unprepared for a once-in-ten years weather condition.

Two of my cousins live in Atlanta. I wrote to inquire about their well being, and was told how a commute that would normally take 20 mins took them roughly 10 hours. Can you imagine that? Another story was how a friend’s friends were stuck in the day care of their infant overnight as there was no access due to the weather.

Of course us New Englanders are scratching our heads wondering what all this fuss is about? I guess having a predictable cold weather and snow season has its own perks. We are better equipped to handle the vagaries of Mother Nature.

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Experiences, Hari Katha, Kids, Ram Leela

Mr. Sulky and Mr. Grumpy

Mr. Sulky and Mr. Grumpy are tossing and turning in bed as I type this post. Mr. Sulky is sulking because Mr. Grumpy unknowingly used Mr. Sulky’s homework log to practice his budding art skills. So Mr. Sulky is losing sleep over the possible embarrassment he will face when he reports the incident to his teacher tomorrow. Mr. Grumpy is grumpy at the unfairness of his art work being taken away, and in an act of stubbornness has decided not to wear his pull-ups tonight and “read” his bedtime story all by himself.

Tell you, it was quite the entertainment as the drama unfolded tonight. Like prime time reality show.

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Hari Katha

Video games

As I was arranging Ram’s clothes in his dresser this evening, Hari came up to me with the Scholastic newsletter from school and asked me rather confidently, “Hey mom, do you think I could play video games tonight?” An odd request, given that the rules governing video games are very stringent in our household. Half-hour during weekends and holidays. Not a minute on other days. Hari knows that this arrangement is non-negotiable. Yet, how could he let an opportunity go to waste without giving a shot at milking it? He pointed me to a research in Germany that showed that certain parts of the brain actually grew when people were made to play video games for half hour every day for two months.

It was my turn to roll my eyes and throw my hands in the air. Really Scholastic? was this necessary? aren’t you suppose to be anti-video games?

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Catching up

About time that I shook my lethargy and wrote something, isn’t it? Believe it or not, there were days when I itched to stop by here but was simply too exhausted. And somewhere along the way, the exhaustion turned into laziness and took the form of excuses.

So what have I been upto? Well, for starters, I have been complaining a lot about the super cold weather. You must have read about the Polar Vortex and all. Tell you, not fun at all. Spring can’t come soon enough! Then, read The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. Despite sharing a love-hate relationship with Picoult’s works, I read her books quickly, but this time it was a tough one. It was story revolving the Holocaust, so it was hard. What else? what else? My dance class will resume in a couple of weeks, so I have to get my act together and start my practice. I finished setting up my mid term paper for my kids at Sunday school. I am not sure who is more nervous about the test – the kids or I?

Signing off for now. Let me know what’s going on in your world.

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Inspiration, Introspection, Learnings, Life

Inspirational

I came across this piece in the Op-Ed column of NY Times written by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who went through near death experience three years back when she was shot in her head. Since then she has built her life, literally, step by step. Today, she skydived in commemoration of the three year anniversary of shooting. Hats off to her…!

In this piece she likens her fight for gun control legislation to that of her rehabilitation efforts. The purpose of this post is not to discuss gun control but to share the grit, determination and enormous hard work that has gone into her recovery from paralysis. Her writing is the much needed reminder:

– to wake up everyday, determined and resolved, with a sense of purpose
– that sometimes it takes a lot of hard work to make miniscule progress
– to make progress, one step at a time
– that we are bigger than the problems thrown at us

Hope you find it as inspirational as I did.

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Ommachi Kapathu or Pretend Play

…. and is there even a difference if you are a three year old?

Ram hearts pretend play and the world of fantasy. So the practice of offering prasadam to Ommachi (Deities) is a blessing in disguise for the child. Holding the silver bowl with steaming white rice in his tender hands, he would leave it at the altar and quickly add, “Ommachi don’t eat it right away. It’s very hot. Let me blow it for you… uuuuffffffff.” Or he would take his corn muffin in a bowl and pick an Ommachi frame and unilaterally declare, “I think this Ommachi is hungry today, let’s give the muffin to Him. Here you go Ommachi, you can have the muffin.” Sweet innocence!

On that note, Happy Hanumath Jeyanthi to you all. Hari recited a couple of slokams with me this morning. Ram listened to the story of Hanuman for the first time and couldn’t have enough of it. I joined MS in reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. Know what is my favorite thing about Hanuman? The orange Sindhuram. Today I learnt that Lord Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Once Hanuman learnt that Lord Rama likes Sindhuram, he covered himself with Sindhuram to earn Rama’s affection, which is why many Hanuman statues are smeared with Sindhuram.

Winding up this post with bhajans from the littlest devotee of our house. This was recorded when Ram was 2.5 years; just when he had started stringing words together.

Ram Lakshmana Janaki
Bhaja Govindam

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