Thursday, June 21, 2018

Beginning never ends

Another year has passed me by in a jiffy and it is time to turn off those alarms. The alarms to wake up to make the school lunches, the alarms for the late pick ups from the school, the reminders for the concerts, to pay for the yearbooks and the ones to send in popcorn for a party...and yet I know everyone will be awake bright and early tomorrow even before the alarm would have rung... because, hey...who doesn't want to get up really really early on the first day of your hard earned summer vacation? I will see an almost teenager boy with a ball in his hand running up and down the stairs at 6 AM with "I am starving" written all over his face followed by a girl with curly hair blissfully walking down the stairs with a book in her hand!! And this is the same boy who showed me "will wake up in two minutes" by raising two fingers and then one minute and then thirty seconds right from under his sheets just until yesterday...

The beginning of the school year just feels like yesterday to me. I guess it's true that when things come to an end the beginning feels really close by but when you are in the midst of it all, it feels like every day is spread far and wide.

Soon there will be fights and yelling...fights for the same chair to sit on..fights for the same laptop to be used followed with complaints about who has gotten more electronic time and who is mom's favorite..soon there will be complaints about same food at lunch, dinner and breakfast. There will be a dozen shoes at the door, junk food wrappers on the floor... lemonade in the fridge and bug bites on the legs...

Just yesterday I was a mom who struggled to put two kids in the car seats and admired that toothless grin and waited to have meaningful conversations with them and today I am a mom who knows time is fleeting and if I have to create a zillion points on my graph, I better work hard and I better work fast. Today I am a mom who yells and the one who is in total disbelief that I can yell this much in this short time. And today I am also a mom who knows it's okay to yell. It is okay to behave like an imperfect human being. It is okay to have a messy house but playful kids. It is okay to be in those photos even when I think I look like a mess. 

Soon there will be a time when I will be in the passenger seat. Soon I will witness that shy smile with the braces on. Soon I will see them go in their rooms and chat with their friends behind the closed doors... Soon there will be no more mess on the table. Soon things will be used as they are meant to be and they will be in the places they were supposed to be..Soon it will be 6 AM and there would be me hating the eerie silence because I can actually hear the clock ticking..

Here is to another summer of making memories and realizing that growing never has to stop..Cheers!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Secret School

I recently read a book - The Secret School - suggested as summer reading for sixth grade. After reading it I so wanted to be the main character in the story - Ida Bidson - a vivacious and smart fourteen years old going to school with her seven year old brother. In 1925, her school in the valley of poor sheep farmers is nothing but a small room. There are eight students of different ages taught by only one teacher. 

Ida and her best friend Tom are passionate about completing their seventh grade so they can attend high school in another city. Everything depends on financial situation at home but passion to become a teacher drives Ida to finish all the chores bright and early in the morning every day and look forward to her studies..until one day all students get a bad news. Their teacher has to leave to take care of her sick mother and the township won't find replacement for her and that means the school will be closed for the rest of the term. Ida can't contain her disappointment and her mind is unsettled about her future as a teacher ..until Tom blurts out something weird, and now she can't stop thinking....what if Ida becomes their next teacher secretly so they all can continue their quest for knowledge and Ida can persue her dream??? Can Ida do this all?? She is just fourteen after all.. Can she be a good helper at home, study her own grade lessons and be a teacher to seven other students? Ida decides to take the plunge and along the way faces challenges from both students and their parents..

One fine day when her mom finds her otherwise bright face rather glum, Ida confesses that it's too much too handle and is worried that one unhappy parent is going to complain to the school board..her mom says the most incredible thing to her.. she says "Ida, people aren't bad. They are unhappy and unhappy people do unhappy things." 

What an incredible thing to ponder on.. Unhappy people do unhappy things which in turn makes other people unhappy..what if one of them understands this and purposely stops himself or herself from taking any unhappy action on it?

Ida and Tom are a good team and would never give up on each other's dreams..Ida makes her case in front of board of education members along with her seven disciples and continues to teach and continues to learn from her students..Along the way she somehow finds how to be a girl who is just fourteen, a daughter who helps her family take care of farm, a sister who guides her brother aim high, a friend who understands passion and a teacher who learns by just listening..

It's exam time for Ida and her students..this is The One shot she will get at her bright future..will they all pass their exams? Will Ida continue her persuit?

I would say ...library is just a few steps away from your for it...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Circle Of Life

J and N fight a lot - which by popular belief means they love each other a lot. But after the fight is over does the love go up or down? I think that depends on the kind of fight they have just had. I happen to think there are three kinds of fights – a bad fight, a really bad fight and a really really bad fight. A really really bad fight is when both parties involved do not know what they are fighting about and it can go on and on…Man..really really bad fights are scary and boring…this word "really really bad fight" is giving me a squiggly line which makes me think it is grammatically incorrect. May be back when the grammar was invented J and N were not fighting. Which makes me think may be it’s time someone should rewrite the grammar and why not? Things improve over time so why not grammar? Which makes me think I should be the one who should be re-writing the grammar because why not..which makes me think writing grammar should be a pretty big task and it will make me do work. I distinctly remember I explain to a lot of people these days that I do not  have time to do anything these days and if I had time I would just sit on the couch and do nothing…..doing nothing …. Which makes me think doing nothing may be very close – very very close – to doing meditation. Which makes me think if doing nothing also means doing something, then why would that even be my goal? Goals…now this makes me think..really really think..there are 2 schools of thought going on here..some people say it’s a must to have goals and stick with them no matter what..and some people say it’s good to have goals but we should be flexible about for example, if my goal was to have a nap on a weekend and then on Sunday I realize oh my god, no nap?? Then I should remind myself, it is good to have goals, but I should be flexible. Which makes me think why would I not even take a nap on a weekend…hmmmm…could it be a bad fight? A really bad fight? Or may be a really really bad fight??? 

Monday, April 18, 2016

An Indian American Mom

Dear kids,
I am writing this here because I want you to read this when you grow up. I am not happy writing this blog today. I am deeply disturbed, saddened and feel extremely responsible. Recently you were part of a very disturbing incident and I want to write about it. First, I will write the way it happened and then I will explain my thoughts about it.

On a typical Friday evening, I took two of you and some of your friends to a common play area so you can run around and have a good time playing. You guys immediately started running around and playing. There was a guy sitting with another guy near a table in the corner. He noticed you playing. He asked you to stop making noise - twice. He was not polite. I saw some of you getting uncomfortable. After a minute of two, he shouted at you and said “Shhh….keep it down..will you??”. His voice was loud and the tone was very rude. All of you immediately felt something is wrong. I walked to the person and told him politely “The kids are playing here. I don’t think they can keep it down.” The person banged his fist on the table and pointed his finger at me and said very loudly “You listen to me. If they want to play here, they better to keep it quiet or else I will call security on you. This is a meeting place..” I told him firmly he can go ahead and call security. At this point, I saw fear in 14 little innocent eyes looking at us. The room got very quiet as the person walked outside to call the security guy. I told you guys to not be scared as we have not done anything wrong and it is not okay to be rude like this and I will talk to the security guy. You guys moved to the ping pong table anxiously waiting to see what will happen next. The security guys walked in and told us to be respectful of others. I told him you guys are playing since this is a game room. He asked me if we can move the kids to some corner and I said that would be possible but the person in question is being very rude and that is not acceptable. At this time, the person who had complained about us walked fast towards me and put his face right in front of my face and pointed his finger at my face and shouted “You are a bad mom. You are letting you kids run around and be all noisy.” I told him “You cannot talk to me like that.” and turned towards security guy and told him “He is being very rude to me. This is not the way to talk”. The person put his face against my face again and told all of us “If you want to play like this, go back to India.” I turned to the security guy and told him “He is being racist. There was no need to bring up this in the conversation. I want to talk to manager and complain about this right now.” At this point all of you kids were scared. I could see fear settling in your eyes and some of you wanted to go and play in some other area. I tried to comfort you and messaged all the moms I knew about what was happening and told them I am going to complain.

India. My county. My Love.
The United States of America. My Country. My Love.

I am part of the generation of immigrants who came here to exhibit our skills and expertise and have settled here…some by their own choice and some for many different reasons. When I came here, I faced lot of challenges. I had no family. All my close friends were scattered. I was making my own living. And I felt no sense of belonging. But the sense of belonging is built by you slowly and gradually. I have gone all “When in Rome” on myself and the people I interacted with have helped me build trust and respect for what I do in this country and what this beautiful country has offered me.

But I am still an Indian. I am an Indian American. I am an Asian American. I work very hard to make a living. I pay my taxes and I abide by the laws. And let me tell you, this is how I have always been. My parents taught me not to litter. They taught me to be respectful. They gave me great education. This is not something I learned new when I landed in this country. Sure, these things were polished and put to use more often but they were there. No matter how much I change myself, I can’t change how I look. No matter how grammatically correct I speak, I will never speak in American accent. I am an Indian and I am proud of that. I am also aware of all the unlawful things going on in India and I feel huge sense of responsibility that I am not contributing to make anything better there. I am not one of those people who hang around in a corner in a party with beer in their hands and talk relentlessly about corruption and dowry.  I know if I can’t contribute, I can’t complain. I am proud of my country. I am proud of my values. And I will never change anything that makes me an Indian just to be part of something big, exciting or different.

But I am also an American. I lived all my adulthood here. I love the infrastructure and the laws. I enjoy the freedom of speech. I love that people here are very social and accepting and respectful. I love that what makes America great is this mix of cultures and diversity. I am humble that I am part of this country and I teach you kids the same every single day. 

But the truth is whether I am an Indian or American, I am just a human being and I feel that I am being bullied on several levels in this incident.

I think nobody can ever say to anyone that you are a bad mom or bad dad. Period. We human beings have taken it upon ourselves to be judgmental. That is so uncalled for. I feel like often moms are the worst target. I am a great mom. Sure, I need to improve but I am doing my job right. I want my kids to play. I NEED my kids to play. I want my kids to not put their face against some electronic device and get lost in virtual world that leads them to depression and leaves them with no real social skills to survive. I know when I take my kids out to play, I am supervising them from a distance. I want them to resolve some things on their own but then I also get involved when there is a need for it. I believe I am bringing up smart human beings. And if some guy is shouting at me because my kids are being noisy, I take it seriously. I will not let this go. My kids are going to play. Of course I will reach an agreement if someone is politely talking to me about taking them to a corner, but I will not tolerate rude behavior.  And lastly, I am being bullied for being an Indian. I can be from any part of this world; but no one can bully me about it. Period. No one can ever label me. We should not tolerate this and turn deaf ear towards it.

Lastly, what I am going to write in this paragraph is very important for you and me. Whenever someone is exhibiting aggressive and racist behavior when you did nothing wrong, it makes me think. Why would someone do it? It is a chance for me to reflect on my own behavior. When I look at someone, what do I notice? Do I notice skin color, accent, how costly his or her attire could be or am I really looking at his or her eyes and listening to what they are saying? Why would someone hate me so much and call me names because I was born in some other country? There is always a big picture and a big story behind it and as a part of this big society I feel responsible for it. I feel sad that human beings are labeled. I feel sad that many of us are unknowingly hurting others. I feel sad that many of us do not get outlet for some frustrations or setbacks in our lives and then we are destined to host hateful feelings about other religion, other country, other cast.

We are all just human beings in the end. I just want to be myself. I want you to be yourself. Whenever you feel the urge to call someone names, I want you to stop and say to yourself “I do not have a right to say that because it is just plain wrong” When someone is bullying you, do not tolerate it but at the same time, try to think about the big picture and find out how we can make this better. Be humble that we are alive.  We may be born in India, we may be born in America, but aren’t we all part of the same big world - the same world where we bring up our beautiful next generation and treasure the old generation?

Friday, March 11, 2016

यूँ ही

यूँ ही एक मुस्कुराहट कल
चेहरे पे आ रुकी थी

रास्ते थे जब धुंदले धुंदले
सांस थी जब धीमी धीमी
सपनो से खेलते खेलते
पलकों में वो बसी थी

थामा जो तूने हात था
गाया जो तूने गीत था
चाहतों की गलियों से
मेरे दिल से वो जुडी थी

तेरी यादों से घिरी
तेरी दमन से लिपटी
ईक फूल बनके जैसे
मेरा साज बन गयी थी

तेरे शहर को छोड़े
ज़माना हो गया था
फिर सीने के दरिया से
क्यू दीवानगी हो रही थी

यूँ ही एक मुस्कुराहट कल
चेहरे पे आ रुकी थी
एक अफ़साना बनके
फिर आंसू से जा मिली थी

Monday, March 7, 2016

Word Mole

Behind all the pretenses and smiles, we all have our story. Real Story. That’s such an Oxymoron. Real. Story. We adults have THE STORY OF OUR LIVES. It could be “I know a lot of things but I am good at nothing” or “I am good at this but will never be good at that. EVER”
When we are kids we have many stories of life. They are rather innocent and short lived. It could be “they don’t include me in their group” or “mom always favors her” or “gee my math used to be awesome but whatever the heck happened?”.
I have come to realize that may be around we reach double digit birthdays, our stories might start to feel real. They slowly start to become who we are and how we think people will see us eventually. Even if there is any small positive story that comes in our mind, we always have the big sad story pity party going on along the side which always wins.
Stories need to be talked. They need to be dissolved like the ones in the Word Mole game. The moment they form, I want them to vanish and we get rewarded for creating it and saying bye to them.
Today is a beginning of a new tomorrow..Let’s play Word Mole with our kids and make up Real Stories and say goodbye to them….