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LMT this week

This week is the calm before the storm. Emails regarding extra curricular activities are trickling in, and I spent a good portion of this evening entering the schedules in our calendar.  By the end of it, I was left with an acute case of dry mouth and cold feet.  But hey, once we throw our hat over the fence,  what choice do we have other than getting it, isn’t it? So, I am not sure how we are going to do it, do it we will  and learn from this experience. I am telling myself that we will work hard and party hard this year. With that consolation, how about I pivot to this week’s little moments. 

–  There was a small voice that attempted to coax me into not going to school on the first day. Hari is anyway going in school bus, he is going to be chatting with his friends, the parking is going to be so chaotic, so on and so forth –  the mind was conjuring up all sorts of excuses. I am glad I did not heed to it. It was a delight seeing the school teeming with life. Familiar faces and new members blending in to build a community. 

– Hari and Ram playing with a friend’s five-month old puppy, Ocean. It was endearing to see Hari fall in love with her. He simply couldn’t hold himself from petting her, playing with her, feeding her and snuggling with  her. From Ocean’s demeanor, it seemed like she considered Ram to be another puppy and she kept climbing on him, which Ram didn’t mind at all. For the first time, I felt like I understood why a pet can mean the world to his or her caretaker.

– “Mama Abby wears nail paint., can you paint my nails too?” asked Ram one evening. The day will come when he will declare with disdain that eww, nail polish is for girls only, and will stay away from it, but today it is a fantasy that I will happily indulge him in. 

Hari savoring the tofu-broccoli dish at the Chinese restaurant made me happy. For the longest time, Hari’s food choices were very limited. These days he is tolerating higher spice level, and is taking delight in new food choices.

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Back to school

Hari will be entering fourth grade tomorrow, which means that this is his fifth year in elementary school and in another two years, he will be off to middle school. No matter what math I do, the numbers tell the same story – that he is one year closer to flying off the nest. That now is the time to hold on, so that when the time comes, we can let go with grace and savor the beauty in that phase.  

Enkay brought my attention to this article a couple of days back. It’s about developing a mindset that will boldly embrace one’s weaknesses, that will see failure as a path to growth, and it fosters the belief that we all start from zero, and that nothing is rocket science to a mind that is willing to learn. The article resonated and is a school of thought I truly subscribe to.  

So Hari, as you start your school year tomorrow, know that we are our own person with unique strengths and weaknesses. While it will be tempting to only do things that you are good at, there is something about facing your weaknesses right in the eye and giving it a run for the money.  It’s ok to have weaknesses, it is not ok to let that define your choices. Remember that glory is not in never falling but rising every time you fall. Can’t wait to be part of your learning and growing this year. Love you lovey love. Having you putter around the house this summer meant more than what you can imagine….! Lots of hugs, and best wishes coming your way from appa and amma. 

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Sue sews Sue’s socks

Lost in thoughts I was loading the dishwasher in autopilot mode until Ram came upto me with unadulterated excitement in his voice. “Mama, mama, do you know fox and box rhyme.” “Right Ram fox and box rhyme,” I replied rather nonchalantly until a couple of seconds later it hit me that the concept of rhyming words is brand new for this eager beaver who has just started playing with words.  Dragging myself out of my made up world, I extended the conversation. “Yes, FOX and BOX rhyme Ram just like how HOUSE and MOUSE rhyme.” 

Since then as we go about our usual business, Ram and I would call out for each other every once in a while and toss a string of rhyming words that catches our fancy.  We would nod and grin, and share a connection over this silly gimmick. During our recent trip to the library, we greedily borrowed whatever Dr. Seuss books we could lay our hands on. We read our favorite – Fox in Box – a gazillion times and laughed heartily every single time. Dr. Suess is quite the genius, wreaking havoc with words!. The title of this post is borrowed from the said book. Try saying it aloud with your little one, and I guarantee you that you will break into peals of laughter. 

This morning Hari and I were in a mood for some Dr. Seuss fun. I told Hari, “What do you think of this Hari – Horrible Harry howls at hungry Hari. May be you could try out something like this for your journal today.”  The mental wheels started whirring fast. A pen in hand and his Dark Knight journal on the table, the child thought and thought and whipped up the below:

  • Ten twirling twirlers twirl in the twinkling twilight
  • Eight edible eagles eat eighteen eel eggs
  • Nine nocturnal nerds nibble on nesting birds and curds 

Wading through the world of witty words is wonderful, isn’t it?  

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LMT Time

Happy moments for this week include: 

  • Singing Kurai Ondurm Illai with M.S. on Janmashtami. The perfect antidote for a restless mind that was aimlessly wandering around in all directions. 
  • Catching a glimpse of my little niece disguised as Krishna. All decked up with vangi, udyanam, chutti, bangles, with Krishna-like naughtiness glinting in her eyes.
  • Hearing a kid from the rival team come up to Hari and say, “Are you the guy that took seven wickets yesterday? That’s impressive. I am a decent bowler and I can’t do that. Good job!” I think for a few split seconds Hari defied gravity and floated in the air. And yes yes, Hari took six wickets in one game over the weekend, what with a hat trick thrown in the mix…!
  • Overhearing kids’ conversation. “What’s the matter anna? why are you sad?” Hari who was very sad from losing a game of chess was delighted that his little brother had noticed. “Anna just wants some TLC from baby kutti. Can you give anna a hug and a kiss to make me feel better?”
  • Ram getting ready to go to bed with an eye patch around his forehead, pirate hat covering his head, and a treasure chest in his hand. “You can’t go to bed like that Ram,” says Da to which the child gives a simple but a confident response. “But I really like it!” As if to say what better reason do you need to make an exception? Nice try kiddie, but we are not succumbing to the cuteness. 
  • Movie night at the library. Armed with dinner from Panera Bread, and blanket to cosy up, Ram, Hari, two of Hari’s friends, and I went to the library to watch E.T. Pure priceless fun…! 
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Biking

How could I have not mentioned the weekly biking that Hari and I did during the summer in my last post? Remember that I bought a bike late spring this year? While my grand plans of biking two to three times per week did not materialize, Hari and I went biking almost every Saturday. 

Where do I even begin about what I loved about our weekly biking. Is it the exclusive time that Hari and I shared? or is it the sheer joy of being outdoors, closer to nature, and soaking in the feeling that life is good, even if it lasts only for those precious few minutes? or is it realizing that we are capable of committing to something and seeing it through?

Let me tell you one thing though. Even for something that we enjoyed so much, taking the bikes out did not come naturally. There was always some excuse. There were things to do and places to go. We were tired. Can we do it tomorrow may be? It took effort to shut all these voices down, and loudly proclaim that we will bike atleast as much as we did last time.

As they say, there is no glory like the glory of illusion…! The million dollar question is how far are you willing to go when the illusion turn into a reality.

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Summer ends

This is the last week of summer break. A feeling of anxiety permeates me. I can sense it – the scrambling around, the chilly weather, the deadlines, the pesky germs, and the shorter days. They are just around the corner and they will be here sooner than we think. 

This summer has been about slowing down.  Just work and kids, I promised myself. I was true to my word, but what I realized was stepping down on other commitments does not necessarily translate into stepping up with the kids. I had to consciously make efforts to use the time freed up to do things that I wanted to do rather than crowding it with things that I have to do. Sometimes I succeeded and at other times I failed miserably. This summer, I detoxed, hosted our immediate family, traveled on work, decluttered a bit, stepped up my contribution to the household chores, learnt new recipes, and generally hung out with kids a lot. And did I tell you that we had to deal with a lice outbreak at our house? Trust me, you don’t want to be dealing with one! Suffice to say that I spent two weeks of summer washing and combing. Not fun at all.

Hari read, read, and read like there was no tomorrow. He played a lot of baseball, cricket and chess. He also managed to squeeze half hour of video games and watched some sports every day. He got into the rhythm of writing in his daily journal. He had play dates one and off and went to part time camps. He enjoyed the leisure and I loved having him around the house.

Ram adjusted remarkably well between his old daycare and preschool. He shed some of his terrible three behavior, and we saw his personality bloom this summer. A little on the shy side, he put himself out there making friendships with kids he has not met before.  He got more comfortable with playground structures and dreaded water a little less. And of course, he continued to delight us by just being him. 

Da had an eventful summer switching his job. He has been working long hours. All of us are adjusting to the new routine and miss him very very much. 

So that’s the summer news at our end. Stay calm and march on, that’s going to be my mantra for the next few days.

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Tagged

First things first, my profuse apologies to Enkay for being so very unfashionably late to the party. And Thank you for passing this award and tagging me. Feel truly truly honored. 

very-inspiring-blogger-award

Here are the rules of the game: 

  • Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you. 

Ok, here we go with seven facts about myself. 

  • I started wearing prescription glasses this Spring. Not at all times, but while driving, and for situations that require me to see long distance clearly.  It took me a very long time to embrace the new me.  Inspite of the reluctance, I felt like a little child who was touched by magic. One minute, I was not able to read the menu at Chipotle and the next minute, I wore my glasses, and tada, the words jumped out razor sharp. It was so magical…!
  • I am slowly beginning to overcome my fear of dogs. If a decade back I ran at the sight of a dog, today I dare to stand without squirming and even make weak attempts to pet the four-legged beings.  
  • I hate hate dentist appointments. They make me feel so inadequate and insecure. 
  • Swear words are big turns offs for me. Language is so rich, why piggy back on a few distasteful ones to vent your frustrations. Why not use the whole gamut to clearly articulate your emotions?
  • I can’t for the life of me remember details/specifics – names, characters, and dates. There are only three years that I remember after I got married –  the year that I got married, and the year that Hari and Ram were born. 
  • One of my favorite movies is Patch Adams. The whole world is mourning Robin Williams’ passing away. His movies were such real gems – inspiring, uplifting, and so very full of humor yet with a shade of sadness. 

I am tagging Shuba, Mia, Anamika, and Just Someone. I am also tagging my readers. If you are reading this, will you indulge me with seven facts about yourself? Would love to get to know you all better…!

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Thinking of Babu Thatha

We call our maternal grandpa as Babu thatha. My earliest memory of him was visiting him in Manamadurai, where he was a station master. After retiring as a station master, he continued to work in other capacities in other places until he was 70.  That he worked for as long as he could was important to him because it meant he was self-sufficient and physically active. Amma would take Sathya and me to his “office”, and he would pamper us with “color” (sodas) and paneer sodas. He bought me “disco” paavadai and introduced us to noingu. He loved his plants and would care for them with his life. May be my mom inherited her green thumb from him. His garden boasted of several bounties – lemon, pomegranate, jackfruit, and jasmine to name a few. Before going to work he would recite slokams for an hour and a half, and we would eagerly wait for the prasadam call. He would dole out special gifts from his old bureau. He was a devoted husband, helping patti in the kitchen, picking saris for her, and nurturing her love for bead art. The kind of support that was not as common for that generation. He always preferred to drink hot water, and would not let us go to bed without a tumbler of pasum paal, no added sugar. And what is Bhogi without a visit from thatha. He would dutifully visit us, sugarcane in hand, and other groceries in tow. I vaguely remember his Sashtiabdhapoorthi. Thatha and patti being showered with a kodam of blessed water. My amma is her daddy’s daughter. You can say that she has a soft spot in her heart by the pride in her voice, and sparkle in her eyes as she talks about her dad.

Until a couple of months back, thatha was as healthy as you can expect a soon-to-be-90-year old person to be. No BP, no cholesterol, no sugar. Just age related aches and pains. But then he fell, and had to undergo surgery. He never recovered from it. He went through unsurmountable suffering these past two months. He passed away around 2:45 P.M. on August 12th.

Babu thatha lived a full life. He has seen, not one, two, but six great grandchildren. He added his grandpa touch to our childhood and has created a lot of fond memories. He had a kanakabhishekam with patti a couple of years back, which I hear is a rarity. My heart goes out to patti. How does one live life without a companion of 60 odd years? 

Rest in peace thatha. Thank you for being you. We love you and will carry you in our hearts and memories. Today and always.

Posted in Family, Hari Katha, Kids, Life, Little Moments

Sibling-ness! (LMT Post)

For the longest time, it was a one-way street. Hari would lovingly proclaim, “I love you very much Ram kutti”, and Ram would reply with an air of entitlement, “But I love my mommy very much.”  The smile on Hari’s face would fade. “It feels like Ram doesn’t love me as much as I love him amma,” would complain the heartbroken child. With time, he took the lack of verbal expression in his stride.

This summer, the one-way street morphed into a two-way path. Ram would go to his brother asking him to check if he is wearing his shoes on the right legs. He would hog his library books and plead that he get a turn to “read” Calvin and Hobbes, Big Nate and Dragon Breath. “I want to sit with my brother and eat”, “Can I have a sleepover with anna amma?” In return, Hari would teach him some tricks of the trade. “Ram if you ask appa like this he will let you watch T.V. – “appa, I am begging you, I really really want to watch T.V. Please, please, please.” Make sure you have bambi eyes when you ask, ok?” And sometimes Hari would mimic us, borrowing the very words we use with Ram – “Anna is very proud of you because you used words instead of crying. If you cry, anna will not understand what you are saying”, And then of course he had to pass on his love for sports to Ram. “I will teach you how to play soccer Ram” and would proudly report to me, “Amma, I think Ram is a born thrower. Look at his throw.”

Don’t let this sugary syrupy description mislead you into thinking that it is all love and no war in our household. Far from that, the days are filled with tattle tales. “Amma, I don’t want anna to sing the Frozen sang. But he is not listening to me”, “ You do not even know to read, so why do you want my library books”, “I will not listen to you anna. I will only listen to appa and amma,” “Stop copying me Ram”, “You stop copying me anna”, “You started it, so you stop it”, “No you started it.” When a child comes to us complaining, we play the role of a  dutiful umpire reminding him the rules of the war in our house – hands to yourself, talk to each other and figure out a solution, don’t use your size to your advantage. If none of this works, take time out from each other.

Today after finishing up his morning routine, Hari settled himself on the love seat in our living room and got totally lost in the book that he had recently borrowed from the library. Ram who was clinging to me for some TLC slowly slipped and plonked himself on Hari’s lap. No words exchanged, just the comfort of being in each other’s company,sharing a common love for reading. It was a sight to behold..!

Nothing better than seeing the two people you love so intensely love each other.

 

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Quotable quote

A friend had shared this very inspirational quote on FB.  Yes, take it all in and go create something.

“You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner.

You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colors fill your mind until there is nothing left to do but explode. There are no wrong answers. Inspiration is everything. Sit back, relax, and take it all in.

Now, go out and create something.”

– Jac Vanek