Sunday, September 30, 2012

Train up a child in the way he should go - and when he is older he will not depart

John 6:9 -“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

This is the story of how Jesus fed 5000 people. But I recently heard a message ... actually part of a message where the preachers talked about this little boy who had the 5 loaves of bread and two pieces of fish. I am not sure how old this boy was  or whether he realized he would be part of an amazing miracle. The disciples brought him to Jesus under the assumption that he would be willing to give up his lunch!

I wonder who was the mother of this boy. I am sure if she had seen him give up his 5 loaves and 2 fish ... she would have been very proud. I wish she would take a class on parenting or give me some tips on how she raised her child to share so beautifully.

We live in the age  of  'Mine' - Isaac has said 'Mine' so often that if I had to give him spanking for it ... there would be time for nothing else. The art of hoarding our toys so no one else at the park plays with it has made this 'Mine' issue even worse. It takes it to the level  that Isaac not only says 'Mine' for his toys but also for toys that do not belong to him!

Being a mother there are those motherly instincts that arise in me when I want to protect my child when something is plucked from him. I have even made the mistake of interfering and helping Isaac out. I wish I had not ... but not doing so led to Isaac wailing. I do not want Isaac to be strong and pluck back - but I want to train him to just give up. After all we want him to realize that he is living for something much bigger than any of his material toys or possessions! I am sure when he knows and accepts the Lord Jesus he may automatically change his ways. But till then I am responsible for his heart. If I can just change his heart to realize  --- its not worth it.

The 'Mine' and plucking has reached such great heights that now brother and sister i.e. Isaac and Ziva are becoming pretty stubborn about giving up what they hold in their hands. Invariably Isaac wants what Ziva has and vice versa. Maybe I can just teach them the exchange offer.
Any other parents have any training suggestion - I would love to hear it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It happens only in India

A friend of mine recently put up an 'only in India' - where she rushed her kids to school only to realize that school was closed due to a bandh (Rebecca Thomas)
I was thinking of all the 'It happens only in India' and I had a few good ones this week. As we were travelling back from Mumbai to Bangalore on Monday morning, we (Suresh, Kids and I) had a few good experiences!

Well to begin with we rented an Inova (mini van) since we had lot of luggage. The driver who was a friend of my sister's dad-in-law came 4:15 am. He called me on my cellphone ' Shall I come upstairs and help you with luggage?' ---'It happens only in India'

We arrived at the airport and after check-in headed to security check. In India the lines split at this point - ladies one line --- gentlemen another line ----'It happens only in India'.

I was pleased since the ladies line was short. I sent Isaac off with dad since I could not handle both the kids. (Isaac is not a gentlemen yet ---So he can be allowed in the ladies line). However I had forgotten that Indian women -- well we carry everything with us. And the short ladies line took a very long time leading to a very fidgety Ziva. I was trying to maneuver the stroller and my gazillion bags and control Ziva. About midway through Ziva decided to wander off a little - only to be stopped by a few friendly ladies playing peekaboo with her. One of them even helped me with my stroller. 'It happens only in India'. I must say that this was 6:45 am flight and all these women looked like professionals who I am sure would have rather been at home with their family. But here they  were willing to entertain my child.

As we stood for security check, the lady with the police uniform and a metal detector in her hand searched me and then moved to Ziva. She swept the metal detector over Ziva and then winked at her and pinched her cheeks before she stamped an OK on our boarding passes. 'It happens only in India'. Something about a kid in your hand makes everyone around friendly in India.

We had to take a bus from the terminal to the plane because there aren't enough runways in Mumbai. I dont know whether it was the travel to the plane or that it was 6:15 am but Suresh started complaining about how this was just too much ... blah blah .. blah. We reached the plane and realized that we had to climb up about twenty stairs. Two kids, a havasack, a laptop bag, a small carry-on and a stroller ! It seemed that we did not have enough hands for this. Right when we were discussing this
Me:' Suresh you take all the bags ... I will handle the kids and the stroller'
Third person:(Whose face I do not remember now): ' Aaa .. yeh bag lekhe jao upkar -- aur yeh stroller pe tag lagao'  (Translation : Take this bag up and put a tag on the stroller)
Just like that in a few seconds we were left on a runway with two kids and nothing on us. Never felt lighter. I dont know if it was the airport staff or the airline staff who helped us - but Thank you very much. 'It happens only in India'.

As the flight took off and reached cruising altitude and the flight attendants started getting about their chores of serving food. 'It happens only in India'. One of the flight attendants came to me and asked 'Mam would you like the omelet of the idli -wada'. Me: 'The omelet please'. Flight attendant looking over at Isaac: 'And what about him'.  Me:' The omelet please'. She completely ignored Suresh and came back in 5 seconds with a tray of food for Isaac and me. Suresh looked over at me holding a sleeping Ziva and smiled. 'It happens only in India'. I have always wanted to get that special parking place at the mall that said 'For pregnant women' or 'For mothers with little children'. Thank you Kingfisher airlines for making me feel special by serving this mommy with her baby first!
'It happens only in India'. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mumbai Meri Jaan

‘Aye dil hai mushkil, jeena yahan
jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan’

I lived in this city for 22 years before I left for grad school. There are lots of things in this city that annoy me.... the crowd ... the lack of lanes sense in the traffic ... etc ... but there are many more things I enjoy about this city called BOMBAY and then renamed MUMBAI. I love them both.
Though I am a Keralite by heritage … by birth I am a Mumbaiker. I was born to this city (and to my parents … poor guys didn’t know what they were in for) on what is called Janamstrami in Mumbai. Janmastrami is Krishna’s birthday apparently and therefore I got the name ‘Rohini’ for Rohini Nakstrtram (for though my parents were Christian they didn’t know better probably). Now 35 years later I celebrated my birthday again in this city. Well I was not in Mumbai but closer than I have been since my last birthday in 1999 which I celebrated here.
I got into an autorikshaw last week and I saw the glee on my son’s face as we rode in this crazy vehicle! I realized how much I had missed Mumbai. To top it all it is in the season that I love. (like I hate …like I love). Crazy rains have let down and there is a downpour every 5 minutes. It literally seems like the heavens open up and throw down buckets of water and then close up! I love it (like I hate it). Crazy rains remind me of first day at school, travelling in local trains as the rain hits your face and eventually gets you wet and autorikshaw’s bringing out these curtains that are supposed to protect you from the rain while they whiz past the traffic.  I love it! (like I hate it … like I love it)
I love the familiar places … Dadar … Goregoan … Vashi … Borivali and of course Bandra. I love that none of these names cause me to feel uncomfortable (like the unfamiliarity of Bangalore). I love that I am willing to venture into unknown areas and not be afraid that I will get lost … that I don’t need to pull out my GPS to direct me back home.
I love that the autoriskhaw charges me Rs. 19 and when I give Rs 20 … he actually gives me Re1 back. I love it that I pay Rs. 7 for a bus ticket and the conductor looks at my son and says ‘He’s not 3 yet right … well he rides for free!’ Love it!
I love that there is a local train at 11:17 and the next one is at 11:23. Love it!
I love it that people are friendly and willing to give you directions no matter which language you ask them in.
I love my mom’s flat that reminds me of our old place in Bandra. Our Bandra house overlooked an Arabian sea creek that everyone who came from Kerala swore smelt like dead fish. To me it just smelt like Home… Love it!
Suresh does not understand my deep down love for Mumbai. But he does agree that everyone who comes from Mumbai has a spell cast on them that makes them love this city. He once took a flight from Bangalore to Mumbai. As he sat in the bus that took him from the aircraft to the terminal he overheard a conversation.
First man: ‘Went to Bangalore for business’
Second man: ‘Oh ok’
First man: ‘Yaar but there is nothing like Amchi Mumbai’
Second man nods his head vigorously in agreement.
As sweat beads accumulated on Suresh’s forehead from the heat that had not subsided even at 8 pm in the evening and as he dreamt of cool Bangalore, he shook his head and thought ‘My wife would totally agree with you’.

jara hat ke jara bach ke, yeh hai bombay meri jaan
Love it like I hate it

Total time pass!

 It has been raining since the day we reached Mumbai and of course as the days go by Isaac has been getting more and more bored … leading to more and more whining and leading to more and more fighting with Ziva. Finally after one week of watching it rain and realizing that there was no place to take him that would not be wet I took matters into my own hand. It was time to teach my son to do ‘timepass’ … the Mumbai way … i.e. TOTAL TIMEPASS.

                                                     Isaac standing in from of the BEST bus stop

As you exit the gate of my mother’s building there is a bus stop. The bus no most common there is 240. There are a few more buses as I would soon learn. I did not know where 240 went but I did know that it passed via Borivali station. I got Isaac and ready on Monday morning. Put Ziva to sleep want left her in the excellent care of my mother and went down to the 240 bus stop. It has been a very long time since I have taken the 240 bus and so for the first 10 minutes Isaac and I stood on the wrong side of the road waiting for the bus. With every ticking minute Isaac got more and more impatient. ‘Where is the bus amma?’. Finally I asked a shop nearby and they directed me to the correct location. As we walked a bit and then crossed the road at the signal, I saw a 240 bus coming along. I picked Isaac and ran to the bus stop while waving madly at the bus. I don’t know whether it was my outlandish looks or the fact that I had a kid in my hand but the driver waited. We got in and even before could get a grip the bus jerked into gear and caused Isaac and me to swing around. Isaac rather gleefully, me a little annoyed. I think as adults we loose some of our sense of fun!

We sat down and I looked at the conductor (ticket giver) and said ‘One Bhagwati hospital and does he need a ticket’ pointing to a puny 2.5 year old who was way too thrilled! Conductor ‘How old is he?’ Me ‘Two’. Conductor ‘No ticket. Only after he is three. Seven Rupees’. I considered telling him that Isaac would turn 3 in one month but I had lost the conductor who had moved on to other travelers. Isaac sat at a window and since the seats were high he was able to see outside. We got off at our stop and I was contemplating some shopping and decided to check with Isaac. Me ‘Isaac what do you want to do now’. Isaac ‘I want to go in another bus!’ I looked down at his bright eyes and I thought oh well shopping could wait… today we would be doing some total timepass! We got into another 240 buses that came in 3 minutes and I said ‘Borivali Station’ assuming that would be the last stop. Conductor ‘Five Rupees’. We sat in the bus and I saw Borivali station come. The conductor came to me and said ‘This is your stop’. Me handing him money: ’I want to go back now’. Conductor looking rather confused. Me: ‘ Humlog ghumne ke liye nikle hai!’. He looks at me and then at Isaac and grins knowingly. He looks at Isaac and says ‘Maaza aa raha hai’ I felt like saying ‘I am not sure if he is having fun --- but I am’.
Tuesday my mom took Isaac for a similar round
Wednesday was my turn. I got into the bus and told the conductor ‘Shanti Ashram’. After my first round in the bus, I had figured out what the last stop. The conductor looked at me and full of wisdom said ‘Ek kaam karo … next stop pe uthra jao … 284 bus pakado … jaldi pochonch jaoge’ … (Do one thing – get off at the next stop and take bus no 284. You will reach quickly)
I looked at him and said ‘ Mujhe jaldi nahin pochanchne ka hai – Mujhe ghoomne ka hai’ (I don’t want to reach fast. I am out roaming)!
Loved the expression on his face and caught a few of my fellow travelers looking at Isaac and giggling.