Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Green Stem with the Red Flower

Let your child make mistakes. Let them color how they like it and draw their imaginations the way they see it. Let the sky be yellow and the trees blue with violet fruits and flowers. Don’t curb their thoughts and ideas yet. Don’t teach them ‘how’ to do it. Let them explore and learn on their own. Guide but don’t preach. Every flower is beautiful and so is every child.

The piece below depicts it wonderfully.


“Once a little boy went to school.

 One morning   The teacher said: "Today we are going to make a picture."

"Good!" thought the little boy.   He liked to make all kinds;   Lions and tigers, Chickens and cows, Trains and boats; And he took out his box of crayons And began to draw.

But the teacher said, "Wait!" "It is not time to begin!" And she waited until everyone looked ready.   "Now," said the teacher, "We are going to make flowers."

"Good!" thought the little boy, He liked to make beautiful ones With his pink and orange and blue crayons.  

But the teacher said "Wait!" "And I will show you how." And it was red, with a green stem. "There," said the teacher, "Now you may begin."  

The little boy looked at his teacher's flower Then he looked at his own flower. He liked his flower better than the teacher's But he did not say this. He just turned his paper over, And made a flower like the teacher's. It was red, with a green stem.  

On another day The teacher said: "Today we are going to make something with clay."

 "Good!" thought the little boy; He liked clay. He could make all kinds of things with clay: Snakes and snowmen, Elephants and mice, Cars and trucks And he began to pull and pinch His ball of clay.  

But the teacher said, "Wait!" "It is not time to begin!" And she waited until everyone looked ready.   "Now," said the teacher, "We are going to make a dish."

 "Good!" thought the little boy, He liked to make dishes. And he began to make some That were all shapes and sizes.   But the teacher said "Wait!" "And I will show you how." And she showed everyone how to make One deep dish. "There," said the teacher, "Now you may begin."  

The little boy looked at the teacher's dish; Then he looked at his own. He liked his better than the teacher's But he did not say this. He just rolled his clay into a big ball again And made a dish like the teacher's. It was a deep dish.  

And pretty soon The little boy learned to wait, And to watch And to make things just like the teacher. And pretty soon He didn't make things of his own anymore.

 Then it happened That the little boy and his family Moved to another house, In another city, And the little boy Had to go to another school.  

The teacher said: "Today we are going to make a picture." "Good!" thought the little boy. And he waited for the teacher To tell what to do.

the teacher didn't say anything. She just walked around the room.   When she came to the little boy She asked, "Don't you want to make a picture?" "Yes," said the little boy. "What are we going to make?" "I don't know until you make it," said the teacher.

 "How shall I make it?" asked the little boy. "Why, anyway you like," said the teacher. "And any color?" asked the little boy. "Any color," said the teacher.

 And he began to make a red flower with a green stem. “

~Helen Buckley, The Little Boy (HT Amanda White)

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Wicked Mommy

Prabir’s grandma gave him some money with which he wanted to buy a remote control transformer car. 

1. I told him the amount was 300 (though it was more), so he selected a car for 299.
2. The car is to arrive today, so he woke up on my first call this morning. He had his bath, breakfast etc on time (for the first time since his vacation started!!)
3. While waiting for the delivery, he’s completed his holiday funsheets (finally!!) and his Mumma even gave him a little dictation on English and Hindi alphabet and numbers
4. He’s been listening to every thing being said to/ asked off of him! 

By the way, the car was delivered early morning today. This wicked Mumma has half a mind to tell him the delivery has been postponed to tomorrow. After all, I’d love to see my boy so obedient and diligent for a day more!

Am I a very wicked mommy? 😈😈

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The 'Me' in My Child

We were in the last leg of our Founders' Day celebration rehearsals with every move being perfected by our coaches. Mr. Colvin stood at the railing above the ground while Mr. Hatwal was giving us the beats on the drum. One slight wrong or fidget move meant being called out by Mr. Colvin. He was at quite a distance and I was intrigued how he could observe something as little as a twitch from that far away. Curiosity did get the better of me and I tucked a little stray strand of hair behind the ear, very intentionally, but ever so discreetly. Within fraction of a second, I was called out!

A couple of decades down to last evening. Prabir, my 5 year old, is down with seasonal cold and cough and I measured and kept the syrups in the caps front of him, asking him to drink them up while I went to put away the medicines. On turning, I see him pouring water from his cup in the caps, as the mix of the syrups and water flowed generously all over the table. I. Was.  Furious! In moments like these, I have to remind myself all the tenets of gentle parenting. For scream I will, though I know it isn't what I am supposed to do. 

Meanwhile, Prabir knew he'd triggered the monster in his mother and looked up sheepishly. But then, I saw something more than just guilt in those eyes. That look in those eyes belonged to the younger me, the one I would have had in those moments when I defied rules and instructions just to know the "what if"! I saw the same streak in my son, that curiosity to know "what if"! I quietly threw away the water and repoured the medicines in the cap, wiped the table and asked Prabir to drink it up, in as calm a tone as I could manage.

This isn't a one-off incident. As he is growing and realizing that he has a mind of his own, he's even more curious, intrigued, impatient, angrier et all. And I'm fumbling. Because I know now what exactly I am dealing with here and it's not going to be easy. With both of my parents gone to the better world a long time ago, I have no references to look up or speak to. 

However, there's one thing here I know and am sure of. I know exactly how he feels and what must be going on in his mind when he behaves this way. Because I know how the younger me felt and what went on in my mind then. I was reprimanded, scolded, and even caned more than a few times when I tried to know the "what ifs" then. And then I hid stuff. I hid incidents. I hid myself. Because I was scared. Scared of being told off. Scared of being scolded. Scared of being punished.

So, I know exactly what I SHOULD NOT do. 

Yes, there will be times when the human in me will get a better off of the patient mother I try to be. There will be times when I will question my gentle parenting approach. There will be moments (and there are plenty!) when I would want to bang my head on the nearest wall.

But after such difficult moments pass, I know that I won't have regrets. I'd know that I have done the best I could. And I'd be a much more thankful to my little one, who shows me the mirror every single day.

After all, I am just another human. And a mother.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Happy 5th Birthday, Our Little Sunshine

When it was just him and me

We never knew our hearts could contain

So much more love and dreams

Until you came!

And now...

When you turn and smile

And in your own way, you tell me

Things are just going to be okay

I see a little bit of him in you...

When you rattle off numbers and days

And memories from years gone by

Of when you were even more little

I see a little bit of me in you....

When you keep your calm

In the midst of chaos, and

Give me a solution I just couldn’t figure 

I see a little bit of him in you...

When you come crying

Because you couldn’t find a toy 

In the place it’s meant to be

I see a little bit of me in you...

When you outwit me 

With a matter-of-fact statement

And say it all with a straight face

I see a little bit of him in you...

When you widen your eyes 

With expressions and gestures so dramatic 

And yet so natural 

I see a little bit of me in you...

When you roll your eyes 

And clinch your teeth

To express your anger and yet contain it

I see a little bit of me in you...

You’re a bit of him and me 

But more of your unique self in every way

You’re every dream we’ve ever seen

The answer to all our prayers

As you’re growing by leaps and bounds

We too are growing with you every day

You’ve made us not only mumma and dadda 

But better humans in every way.

May you grow up to be a beautiful person

And flourish in all that your heart desires 

Flying and yet grounded to your roots

Spreading love and sunshine everywhere.

Happy 5th Birthday, our little Sunshine.

Mumma and Dadda love you the most ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Note from a Stay-at-Home-Mom

Being a mother is a full time job. There's this never-ending exhaustion and admit it or not, we are often in a state of paranoia over just about every thing.

But today, this is about stay-at-home-mothers or a SAHM. Those that are often looked at with envy as we are home with kids all day without having to go do a 'real job'.

Motherhood is beautiful, but overwhelming too. Especially so when you've been going through the grind (don't kill me for that word!) for years with no actual break. Oh come on, vacations aren't really a break! You are actually doing the same thing outside the comfort of your home, which, believe me, can be more back-breaking.

While being a SAHM is more or less a choice we made, under various circumstances, most of us have worked at a point of time and have had a flourishing career too, which we gave up to do what we are doing! And in a way, lost quite a bit too - our financial independence, interacting with peers and colleagues, rising to challenges at work and overcoming them successfully... I can go on.

And yet, while others feel that we are the 'lucky' ones who just have to stay at home and don't really have to do much all day, there's so much going within us all the time!
  • We have mostly forgotten our first name at times as we are mostly called Mumma or Mommy, or Mom or.... you get the drift, right?
  • We are lonely. The only interaction we seem to have over days on end is with our kids and may be the house helps!

  • There's no 'I' or 'Me' anymore. Even a doctor's appointment needs to be worked around others' schedules.
  • We love what we do, but we also get tired of the monotony, physically and mentally.

  • We yearn for a few minutes when we can just be us, not a mother nor a wife!

  • Stay at home is not considered a real job as it doesn't pay you in cash, so basically we do nothing at all, as we are home all day. Cooking, cleaning and cleaning up (several times a day), running after the kids, bathing/feeding/putting them to bed, managing kitchen, groceries, running household errands etc etc don't come under any job specifications.

  • We are mostly too overwhelmed and exhausted most of the time and no one ever seems to understands why.

  • Our socializing hours are only during our kids' school hours (which are others' working hours). That's also the time we need to run errands that can't be done with the kids. 

  • We become an emotional wreck every few days for want of some space and time to ourselves.

  • And worst, talking about it all puts the blame on us as we were the ones who made this choice in the first place!
This isn't about whining or venting, but just asking to be listened to without being told how lucky we are or how thankless (oh yes, I've heard that too!).

This isn't about comparing, but a request to be considered an equal and not less. 

This isn't about any envy or sympathy, but empathising with each other.

And most importantly, this isn't to ask for appreciation for all that a SAHM does, but a little acknowledgement wouldn't do any harm, would it?

So, when we meet next time, please be a little patient if I tend to break down or go on a rant about how tired and exhausted I am. Please bear with me if I go on a monologue as it could be days or even weeks since I would've had a proper conversation with an adult. And please be kind enough to not put me down by saying I have it all easy! 

Trust me, it takes up a hell lot of me to put myself aside every moment, every day.

~A Stay-at-Home Mom

Thursday, March 22, 2018

OPOS - A Magical Revolution in the Kitchen

For those who know me, know that I've never been inclined towards cooking. I can cook just enough to feed myself and my family and given the first chance, I'd gladly pass on any kitchen related work.

Well, the tables have turned. I look forward to cooking and trying new recipes every single meal! To be honest, it's not less than magical for me. And if you'd ask the secret, it's a magical technique - OPOS!!

Just imagine making just about anything, be it butter chicken, biryani, kurma or pulao, in a few minutes! And how? In a pressure cooker!! Yes, you heard it right. Opos is all about cooking food in its own juices while maximizing its nutrients and taste, and all this in a pressure cooker.

OPOS is not about cuisines, vegetarian or non vegetarian food etc, it's about techniques. And the person behind this wonderful concept is Mr Rama Krishnan, or RK Sir as most of us call him. A journey that he started over a decade ago is now a full fledged revolution and we all swear by it.

Here is Sir in his own words! A heartfelt thanks to him for agreeing for this interview.

A decade is a long time! Not many people have the courage to stick to their ideas for so long, and most quit after the first few years of non acceptance. What helped you stay put all these years? 

I'm very surprised myself. I am notorious for jumping fields. I guess I realised at the back of my mind that something really nice is shaping up. I would also like to believe this was my destiny! 🙂

What is the biggest challenge you've faced in all these years? (Any such moment where you felt that all that you've invested would yield nothing?)

When feedbacks were totally inconsistent. Some would rave. Others would slam. This had me completely puzzled. Do these techniques work or not? I was not sure. 

And the Eureka moment in this long journey?

1. Realisation that themes underlie all cuisines.
2. Realisation that food needs to be pressure cooked in its own juices, at the highest possible heat for the lowest possible time to intensify natural colour, taste, flavour and texture.  

Who's the first person who believed in you and Opos?

A small group comprising of Chitra Viswanathan, Varalekshmy Raghavan, Majula Natarajan, Saraswathy Jayaraman, Shymala Srivatsan and a few others.

You've mentioned that it's been the difficulty of trying recipes in cookbooks that made you look for something that any novice could make themself a meal. How did a pressure cooker come in your mind? What made you feel it had the power to change the way food is cooked? 

After spending a decade on writing One Page cookbooks, I could see no one was using it. It took a few more years to realise this is because there is no way to translate the recipes into food consistently. It later dawned that for the results to be consistent, the equipment needs to be consistent. And pressure cooker fitted the bill perfectly!

Your determination and focus are inspiring! Who inspires you?

People who suffer for want of food, in the midst of plenty. People who waste enourmous labour, fuel and food to cook up simple dishes.

Who's that one person who always has your back, no matter how crazy the ideas get or how worse the time?

The OPOStars! 

It's like the dawn of a new era in cooking with Opos. Did you ever have a premonition that this would happen? 

Not consciously. But I guess the subconscious belief was what kept me motivated all along, when I had no followers / no one trying the techniques.

What do you like doing when you aren't trying out new Opos recipes? 

Hang out with friends. Read. Travel. I love lazing for days doing absolutely nothing.

How is RK as a person after he takes off the chef's hat at the end of a day?

Difficult. Unpredictable. Unconventional. Easily irritable. 🙂 

And one last question - who do you love cooking for (apart from yourself)?

Friends. I do it almost every other day.

If that doesn't excite you as much already, Google OPOS now or better still, check the Youtube Chef videos! You can even buy the "OPOS COOKBOOK - 5 Minute Magic" on Amazon!

To put it simply, I'm addicted to OPOS. It's given me a whole new freedom with such scrumptious food on the table every single day. Whether you're single or married, man or woman, in a nuclear family or a joint one, OPOS is for you. Try it once and you'll be hooked for life. That's an OPOS promise :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Raising Prabir - Humour All the Way

We had gone to see my skin specialist this Tuesday. The clinic is quite a distance from here and I was using the GPS on our way back.

At a point, the GPS voice-over said, "After 200 meters, make a U-turn."

Prabir immediately responded, "GPS Aunty, 'Take a U-turn. We need not 'make' a U-turn. It is already there!"

And like every other time, he had his Mumma almost rolling over laughing while driving. Dangerous...aint it!