Inspiration

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Nurturing Mom

Nurturing Mom

When this prompt was announced, I was in a dilemma. Maybe it is weird that there is not a single person who comes to mind when I think about the people who have inspired me. Maybe this may sound like an arrogant disclosure, but I assure you it is not!

I get inspired each morning. When I feel the winds blow, when I see flowers bloom, when I hear the birds chirp away. I find inspiration from the books I read, the blogs that I follow, the Facebook interactions I have everyday and the children I see around me. Some of these young children can really make you wonder if age is the only criteria for gaining knowledge and understanding. Some people are definitely born with a nurturing nature.

I see women struggle to make ends meet. I have seen mothers trying to make a better future for their children. Most of them smile through their misery, while most of  us whine through the day on comfortable beds and sofas and complain about the things going wrong in our lives. I have wondered how these people live their lives with no luxuries of any kind and yet smile their way through life.

There was a woman who used to come in to help with the house work every morning when my kids were younger. It was a time when I was considering going to work and trying to find someone trustworthy to leave my children with. This particular lady was a good cook. She never smiled much, she just did her job and that was it. It is obvious that she has a lot of problems back home in India. Or else she wouldn’t be here working as hired help in houses. Her employment visa was getting over and if we wanted to keep her, we could hire her and get her a visa. This was a long time ago, before the maid visa rules became so strict in the UAE.

She was a strong woman. I mean a well built woman. To be honest I used to be scared of her. But then I knew better not to judge a book by its cover. So I entrusted my just a year old daughter in her care while I sat with my son helping him with his KG homework. I left my daughter in her care for less than an hour. She was listening to news on her radio while keeping an eye on my daughter who was playing in the kids room with some toys.

After the homework was done and the lady went to start on dinner, I picked up my daughter and took her into the sitting room where her brother was doing his colouring work. She couldn’t speak at that point, but she looked sad and was pointing to her right hand. I lifted the sleeve of her top and I saw a black circle mark on her arm. I was furious. When I asked her what happened, she pointed towards the kitchen.

I couldn’t control my anger, I went into the kitchen and confronted the lady with it. She initially denied it, then she admitted it that my daughter wanted to come into the sitting room where I was seated and the lady was so engrossed in her radio news that she just held on to my daughter’s hand tightly so that she won’t leave the room. I didn’t hear my daughter cry, or else I would have run to her. I am not sure how her cries failed to reach me in a two bedroom apartment! I shudder to think if she scared my child into keeping mum!

There is an inspiration for you. This lady inspired me in more ways than one. Anyone who rarely smiles is definitely not someone you want around your kids. If your instincts tell you not to trust someone, follow it. After that incident I decided to care for my children on my own. I didn’t look for another nanny after that.

My mom was a good student in school. She was majoring in Botany at a college in Thrissur when she got married. She was more capable than any one at that point in time to work and make a career for herself. She would have definitely made a wonderful teacher. She was an amazing athlete in school too. She was good at basket ball and she was quite a champion at shot put too. But she chose to leave all that and take care of us three girls. In this part of the world getting help was next to impossible in the 1980s. She grew up in a house with three to four maids doing all the work for her. Here she was doing all the work and tending to three daughters and their needs. She managed to give us good education and also got us married to respectable people in the society. All with the salary that my dad brought home. She still strives to do her best to help the three of us and our families as much as she can. My dad is with her in everything she decides to do. Together they are the best set of grandparents a child can ever have.

If that is not Inspiration, then what is? They have not accomplished wonders in their lives. But they are miracle workers in our eyes. Lives which seem so perfect from the outside, need a lot of work to survive on the inside. They believed in not showing to the world the pain that came their way and not flaunting the gains either. A perfect balance and a well lived life. I wish we could give them something in return. But they don’t want anything from us. They don’t need anything from us other than love and respect. Not a difficult task at all considering how loveable and adorable they are. 🙂

Written for the Festival of Words 3 Day 5 @ Write Tribe : An Inspiring Story 

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words -3
Photo Courtesy : Cherished hearts at Home

Acknowledgement

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Festival of Words

Festival of Words

Is that the same shirt you were wearing yesterday, son? I gathered my courage to ask him. Yes! Came the uninterested reply. The fact that I had placed that shirt in the laundry basket myself this morning along with a set of used socks and sweater ,that I gathered from the bed in his room, had no impact on him!

It is futile expecting the kids’ rooms to be perfect during exams. At least there was no leftover food or sticky stains anywhere to wipe off! Thank you mom, came a loud roar from his room. Music to my ears.

Written for the Second Festival of Words at Write Tribe – Day 4 – Music.

vecchio libro con stilografica

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Being watched

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God Lamp

It was one of those days when she was busy doing what she always does. It was routine and she had been following it for many years now. She didn’t have a fixed time for the work she does at home. But she always had a set pattern. She would first dust the furniture, wipe the table tops, reset the cushions on the sofa, then set the magazines in order and put everything back into the places they belong. She would then clean the lamp, add in oil, then the wick. She would clean the God’s idol with a cloth and set up two incense sticks onto two separate holders. Next would be the use of matchsticks to light the lamp and the incense sticks. She would then say a silent prayer with her eyes closed for a few minutes.

Soon after this she would call her son to join in the evening prayers. Her 6 year old son, who during this entire time, was busy on his phone playing his favourite game, would come, touch the feet of the idol and hover his hand on the lit lamp and then touch his hand and then his chest. He would then promptly be on the sofa back to his games.

Maya had been ill for a while now. The house was always in a state of gloom. It wouldn’t be long before she has to return to God, she knew. Her son was at her bedside, sitting with a gloomy face. His hands were holding his jaw and his elbows were on his mother’s bed. Seeing her son like that was more saddening to her than her own illness and the gloom of her impending death. She gathered all her energy and got up from bed in preparation to light the lamp once again after almost 4 months.

When she reached the sitting room, she was too tired to stand even. She was on the verge of falling down when her son caught her arm and made her sit on the sofa just like her husband does when she gets tired. She gladly obliged and kissed him on his forehead. He then went about the entire routine just as his mother used to. When the lamp was lit and he had completed his prayer, he came to help her towards the idol. She stood there praying along side her son with tears in her eyes. Her husband joins them too in their prayers that day. The parents realised that day that one thing they didn’t know was that they were being watched at every step. They were instilling their habits into their child even without actually trying to. The family of three would be reduced by one soon. But the love and the understanding they shared in the few short years together, would live on for years.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing topics each weekend for Indian bloggers.

Write Over the Weekend theme for this week

This time your entry must contain, ‘One thing he/she/they didn’t know that they were being watched.’

Picture Courtesy : WhatMyCameraCaptures

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NaBloPoMo November 2013

Chapter 1 : Something special

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Surprise

Surprise

It was a tiring day at work. Shreya had everything ready at home to celebrate. Having spend the past week making elaborate plans for the celebrations she knew what to expect when she reached home.

She drove through the crowded roads of Bur Dubai with a smile on her face. She had expected a bit of traffic here as usual. It was peak hour after all. But she did not expect to spend 45 mins stuck in the bottle neck towards the entrance of Karama where her home was. By the end of the time, she was so frustrated with the traffic that the soulful music playing on the radio began to irritate her. She switched it off and patiently waited for her chance to take the last right turn that lead to her home.

Being patient was not one of Shreya’s better qualities. Her impatience has led to many a disaster in her youth. She rarely got the chance to undo whatever damage she had done in those days. Those were hurtful days of college life. The carefree life of her 20s. She enjoyed it like the next person. She smiled now at some of the things she got away with till date. She also smiled at the person she was today. She could almost hear her youthful self mocking at her now.”Is that you Shreya? How very odd that I turned into you! What did I do so wrong?”

The giggling younger Shreya vanished just as the last right turn was taken and she had pressed the remote to open the parking barrier. She drove into her parking lot and switched off the ignition. She knew she was late. But she spent a few seconds with her head resting on the steering wheel. The memory of the past needed to fade away completely for her to resume her life now.

She climbed the 20 odd steps to the first floor and made her way to the apartment. She was smiling with anticipation. She had purposely not phoned in about her delay due to the traffic back home. She wanted it to be a surprise. Even though her office hours finish at the same time everyday, she rarely made it home before dark. Today she left office on time and was looking forward to giving everyone a surprise. It was a special day after all.

At the door, her mom was standing talking to their neighbour. The tone of discussion was as usual grave. For her mom everything was a serious issue. Even the gossip sessions saw her forehead with three lines of worry. She wondered if she would be anything like her mom when she gets to that age. She thought it unlikely. But what does she know? Just like the young Shreya didn’t know anything either!

Shreya gave her mom a quick hug and inquired if the kids had got back from tuitions. Still engrossed in conversation, her mother shook her head. Shreya knew she had a little more time to plan the surprise. She was indeed thrilled to be home early today. She had so much to share with her family.

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I am planning a 31 part story this month. (God bless me and my readers) 😀

Please wish me luck….

As a part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and for NaBloPoMo

Picture Courtesy : Bubblenews

The Story of a dead Cabbage!

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Vegetables have a life too. This is the story of a dead Cabbage! We are not being fair to them. How many of you have encountered this question from your child?

I am curious to know what makes a five year old ask so many questions! Being the egoistic person I am, it is mandatory that I answer my kids to the best of my knowledge. Would I be ridiculed if my child says to someone in school or otherwise that her mom didn’t know the answer to even simple questions? Yes, indeed I would have been, at that point in my life at least. Having the kids ask you impossible to answer questions is a very common phenomenon. Children with all their innocence and love sometimes leave us speechless with such queries. In the sixteen years as a parent, what has always fascinated me is the enthusiasm with which the kids come with new questions to bother us.

I had been embarrassed when my son innocently asked me a question about a very personal choice a few years ago. And yes, he had an opinion and he had judged me at that point too. His question followed a discovery that he was born the year after I graduated from college. He asked me the dates and the years and came to the conclusion that I was indeed fast in producing babies! His exact words were, “WOW! That was fast!”. I am so glad he didn’t add, “What was the hurry?”.

Certain questions like these are better left unanswered. There is no surprise to the fact that I was stumped. But I had to give him an answer. I said, “I wanted to have you as soon as possible”, and planted a kiss on his forehead. I didn’t know that my younger one was listening into the conversation. She asked, “So you didn’t want me first? Why?”.

Did I say I was stumped before? I was floored now. What was I to say to this now? Was it my choice, was it in my hands? I gave her a tight hug and said, ” I wanted to have a little girl who will remain a baby always to me, so you came second.” Phew! Not really sure if I made any sense to them or not, I fled from the scene at the quickest possible pace.

When my daughter learnt from school that plants have life too, she refused to eat the cabbage dish. Explaining the food chain to a 5 year old is easy, it really is. Especially when you have already encountered tougher questions in the past!

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Safety First

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My daughter ,the other day, was ordering some items from the grocery nearby over the phone. The same order, if my son or I had given would have ended in less than three minutes. She took more than five minutes. That too after I asked her to disconnect the line. She was being nice on the phone. She spoke very sweetly to the person and was trying to make the guy understand what a “Strawberry Flavoured Yoghurt” is. That was fine. She was giggling too during the process. This somehow rang alarm bells in me. She was then being asked the particulars of the curd and other items that needed to be ordered. Which generally never happens on certain items , because they are a small shop and have only limited varieties and brands. I asked her to end the conversation as soon as possible.

This is something typical what my mom would have asked me to do. She was always highly cautious of who I spoke to and how I spoke to the person. She was my moral and behavioural watchdog. Though I resented it at the point, I now realise how important those teachings have been. Being naive and thus being nice to everyone is an inborn faulty trait. Sadly my daughter has got it from me. These kind of people trust everyone blindly. They are highly immature in their ways. And hence are the ones who end up getting hurt the most. If it was just an emotional hurt, that is bearable. Not acceptable, but bearable. The breaking of trust can leave a scar. But when that very same breaking of trust ends up violating someone physically, it ends up being a crime.

In many ways I was restricting my daughter’s freedom to do and say as she desires. Being a feminist I would want her to talk in whatever way she choses to and to whoever she wants to. But I just couldn’t. Does that make me a hypocrite?

Being nice gets you friends in the long run. Being cautious of people rarely helps in that account. It takes ages for someone like me to trust someone first. Friendship and everything else comes a long way down the line. I am in a dilemma whenever parenting issues come up these days. Am I so proud of what I have become to make my daughter follow the same cautious path that I took? Or do I let her be more open and trusting to people. I am not just referring to men here. Girls can deliberately land you in trouble too.

I can stay back and not be a helicopter mom if all that would come out of that was a failed test or unattended extra curricular. But should I back out from protecting her or teaching her how to protect herself emotionally and physically?

Everyone says if you have one of each kind, a son and a daughter, your family is COMPLETE. I think it is time this is rephrased. The mother of such a family is FINISHED! This situation is the worst to be in. I want to be a feminist when I teach my son how to respect women and to treat them as equals. On the other hand I am restricting my daughter from doing certain things. No, I don’t make any differences in the way the two are brought up. They enjoy the same rights to attend parties, movies , sleepovers and trips. But they have to be taught a different set of rules when it comes to safety.

Where does a parent draw the line between his/her own views on feminism or right to equality and the safety of his/her child?