Hari Katha, Humor, Learnings, Little Moments, Memories, Writing

With Hari’s permission, I am posting the personal narrative that he has been working on. I love how writing is taught here, right from elementary grade. In this narrative, he is required to check for transition words, sensory language, zooming in, zooming out, grammar and spelling.

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Bad Kitty!

When I encountered a lion, things weren’t pretty. It did not bite me. It did not scratch me. Instead, it peed on me. That’s right, I was a john for a lion, a once in a lifetime experience.

While visiting my uncle’s family in Bentonville, Arkansas, we decided to visit a famous zoo located 25 miles south of where we were staying.  Although the drive only took 30 minutes, it felt like eternity as my eight year old brain processed the fact that I would see animals which were uncommon in New England.

“Bang!” slammed the passenger door, arousing me.  Not missing a beat, I hopped out of the car and headed towards the zoo, thrilled about what experience awaited me. When we entered the zoo, I gasped. I was astonished at the chimpanzee swinging in its cage like a trapeze artist, a bear expertly balancing on a tiny red ball, and an iguana blending with its surroundings. The warm delicious scent of popcorn from a nearby food cart welcomed me with its lovely aroma.

“Come on Hari,” my mom instructed. “You should take a look at these majestic lions. If you need me, I’ll be in the reptile section.”

“Sounds fine mom,” I replied. I trotted towards the lions, and halted when I spotted them, their orange manes flowing in the cool wind. Standing a mere inch away from the smooth, black cage was a kid about my age, staring at the lion. Turning around, he beckoned me to come sit next to him. Immediately, I started sweating. I felt that standing that close to the cage would likely come back to bite me. However, my undying curiosity to see the lion prompted me to crouch next to the kid and face the lion. I looked in awe at the humongous lion which peered back at me as if saying, who are you, and why are you in my territory?

“This lion is awesome!” I whooped, expecting the kid to respond. Instead, the kid, whose gaze was getting more alarmed by the second screamed “Look out!” and quickly dove to the side. I however, did not have quick enough reflexes. A yellow spray of liquid washed over me, sizzling all over my arm. Embarrassed I scampered away, avoiding as many people as I could, only to bump into my mom.

“What happened to you?” My mom cried, her face turning pale as milk seeing me wet.

“Ummmmmmmmm,” I mumbled, feverishly debating in my mind on whether or not to tell my mom.

“Spit it out, what happened?” She insisted, pushing me to the brink of telling the truth.

“Oh fine!” I sputtered, “A lion leaked on me.” Instantly, my mom put a hand to her mouth.

“Come on, we’ll get you cleaned up,” she replied, extracting a bag of tissues from her purse.

As you can see, I have survived that traumatic experience, but am still trying to live down the fact that I was a urinal for a lion. Now, I always stand far away from the cages of animals knowing well not to repeat the same mistake twice. Nevertheless, I still have nightmares, imagining that yellow substance submerging over me. Most of all, I have learned to accept the facts, and laugh along with my family when they make a joke about that incident – I’m Hari, I was a potty for the king of the jungle, and I am proud of it!

 

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Experiences, Family, Food, Gratitude, Hari Katha, Humor, Kids, Life, Little Moments, seasons

Baseball Tales

Hari began the baseball season with lofty statements. “I live for baseball”, “Baseball is my life.” I looked at the better half, who takes his role as nurturer of sports passion of his offsprings a tad seriously, and saw stars dancing in his dreamy eyes. And what do you know? Before I could say baseball, the father-son duo had signed up for three teams – school baseball team, town baseball team and the club baseball team that Hari has been part of since Fall. And did I forget to mention that the second child was already signed up in Fall?

For my part, I did what any sensible mom, who has the unenviable task of planning two mini dinners atleast three days during the week and once during the weekend (and let’s not even get into calendar management please), would do. Closed my eyes shut, sent a prayer to Varuna bhagawan – let it rain, let it rain..!

The regular season is drawing to a close and I am happy to report that the household has managed to survive and I might even add that the reluctant baseball mom has become an eager cheerleader.

I am happy for Hari. The season bestowed him with a variety of experiences, from being benched to being glorified as the MVP.  He was flying high one day and heartbroken the other day. He felt like he was treated unfairly one day but was able to take a step back the next day and see the decision in perspective. He worked hard and took responsibility for improving his game. He climbed the batting order and learnt new ways to pitch.

Ram is having a great time swinging his bat and playing ball. As a parent from Hari’s batch put it, at that age you can ask how the game went knowing that you will always receive a confident and happy answer. Besides at this age, there is more excitement over snacks during break time than playing ball during game time. Da coached Ram’s team for the second year in a row. 

Now if you will excuse me, I have a pre-game dinner to pack. My life is going to be dull and empty once the baseball season is over… Not really!

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Humor, Ram Leela

Ram Leela

 Ram is into paper crafts. At one point, he was obsessed with making paper planes and rockets. He has made at least 100 rockets, filling a Trader’s Joe grocery bag. The said bag with overflowing rockets has been such an eyesore, so I tried my luck at disposing it off last night.

Me: Ram, you have had the paper rockets for a long time. Are you ready to put them in the recycling bin?

In all seriousness, the child replied.

Ram: No mama, I am going to sell them. I am just waiting for the right time.

What can I say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

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In Ram’s school, one of the projects that they worked on was drawing self-portraits. One representing how they see themselves now and another representing how they think they will be when they are an adult. Promptly, Ram drew both. One like how he is now, with half trousers, and a soccer ball or something to that effect. The other adult one showed him with beard, glasses, and fully dressed but with what looked like an incomplete head. I told  him, “Ram you have forgotten to draw your hair, do you want to complete the picture?” to which the child replied non-nonchalantly, “I think when I grow up I will be bald. I think I will have no hair.” 

Some imagination..! Have you ever heard of voluntary baldness? 

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Experiences, Hari Katha, Humor, Sunday School

Learning made easier

What do you do when you are not proficient in a language but are charged with the task of preparing your child for a writing competition? Google translator to rescue!

Hari is preparing for a mandatory tamil writing competition. While I don’t think it’s fair to make a child participate in something that he is not ready for, it’s a decision that is outside my control and rests with someone who belongs to a different school of thought. You tell yourself it is what it is, and roll up your sleeves to see how you can make the best out of the situation.

The topic for the tamil competition is who would you pick as your role model. And of course, the child has to pick someone who would truly stretch our non-existent tamil writing skills – none other than the legendary boxer Muhammed Ali. Turns out, with Google Translator, you can accomplish a lot more than you would expect. We have just begun but are feeling good about the progress made considering the novice we are in the language. We will have it run it by a willing soul that is good at tamil. But atleast we don’t feel as stranded, and it is turning out to be an excellent bonding experience with the child. Long live Google and its products.

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Hari Katha, Humor, Introspection, Little Moments

Writing and goals

We write about things that we strongly feel about. For some, it is people. For others, it is life experiences. Yet for others, it is places, books, movies or food. Want to know what evokes strong emotions for my 10-year old?! Check out the blurb he wrote in his school writing journal.

“I glared at my plate of brussel sprouts, my eyes narrowing into slits, my nose twitching at the putrid odor of the lime green nightmare. I couldn’t bear to imagine how it tasted and I could swear there was steam coming from my ears. “WHY DOES THE WORLD HAVE TO BE SO CRUEL!” I screamed.”

I laughed my heart out. And just for the record, I have made brussel sprouts a grand total of one time in all the ten years of this child’s life. It’s not the cook, it’s the vegetable!

On a related note, at the start of every school year, kids are encouraged to think about their hopes and dreams for the school year and are required to set one academic goal and one social goal. Hari’s academic goal for this year is to enjoy writing. He told me that the voice in his head moans and groans when he is asked to write something and that he wants to work on that attitude this year. It made me happy on several counts – that he is aware of his attitude, that he is willing to work on it, and that it has to do with writing. His social goal, in his words, is to hang out with kids that he has not hung out with before. Here’s to achieving those goals.

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Experiences, Health and fitness, Humor, Milestones

Dentist appointment

It took every ounce of willpower to not yield to the temptation to have the dentist appointment rescheduled. After years of using that tactic, I have learnt my lesson. You can reschedule once,  may be twice. But sooner or later, you have to face the music. Wear a plastic smile, be polite to the receptionist, say hello to the hygienist, exaggerate the truth behind your flossing, test your ability to be zen as all the unmentionable instruments poke and prod, and finally listen to the grim report that your dentist will deliver asking you to take care of a filling within the next month. Sigh!

This time I decided to bite the bullet  instead of buying more time to undo the undoable damage I may have done since my last appointment. But what do you know? A new hygienist, a new story this time around. “Fantastic, your teeth look great, we will see you in Nov.” Really? Seriously?  I had to pinch myself to make sure that this was not some kind of a dream. No filling? No deep cleaning? No predictions about root canals down the line? Maybe because this time they didn’t take the x-ray. Maybe because the hygienist spent more time polishing my teeth rather than cleaning them. Oh the never ending list of maybes that was going on in a loop in my mind!

Suffice to say I sprinted my way out of the office lest the dentist changed his mind.

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Humor, Ram Leela

Words

Very often we forget that Ram is still in the early stages of building his vocabulary and throw words at him without realizing that he may not have internalized the meaning.

Many times he would stop us, and ask for the meaning.

Me: Ram, leave a couple of cookies for anna, ok?
Ram: But what does a couple mean amma? is it two or three?

What does according to mean mama?
What does based on mean amma?

Sometimes he would use the words without knowing what they mean.

I like your drawing anna. It is terrible.
My leg is bleeding amma. But there is no blood outside.

To that add the dynamic of using tamil with english.

Amma does sorkkal in tamil mean circle in english?
Amma does nenju in tamil mean ninja in english?

Ram: What does mean mean amma?
Me: There are two meanings for mean kanna. One mean means rude. Another mean, we use it to ask the meaning of something like how you asked what does mean mean?
Ram: No mama, not that mean. I am asking about things like bird and  tree
After thinking about it for few minutes, I finally figured out what he was asking: Are you asking what does the tamil word mean mean?
The child nodded away…!

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