Saturday, November 23, 2013


Genetics is fabulous....
No - not the subject that teaches you about X and Y chromosomes (or talks about dreadful diseases)

But the one that you see with your own eyes when you look at a child and say ... 'You look exactly like your dad/ mom'

I remember my friend Anita's husband saying, a long time ago, its amazing how kids look like a combination of both parents! Amazing indeed -- its another sign that we have an amazing God who knows how to form us 'Fearfully and wonderfully'

For I was fearfully and wonderfully made
Why fearfully -- because he did not want to make even one error --- i.e. you are perfect. And why do I believe I am 'wonderful' because I see Ziva and Isaac each day and I can see a little or a lot of me in them - and I believe they are wonderfully created!

I always believed I was adopted when I was growing up --- some kind of a strange complex because I never got treated well by my relatives ... rather I felt that way... One day Suresh and I were talking about strange complexes and I shared this childhood fear that I had and he laughed ....'Do you see how identical you two look- Mona and you ... You could be twins'. Mona is my sister --- older by 3 years. I actually still don't see it! The similarity ... neither does she.

But what I do see is how our family is split. As someone in our park said - 'Your family is divided well. Ziva looks just like you and Isaac looks just like Suresh'
I can see Ziva looking like me but I see a lot of characteristic behaviour of mine showing up in Isaac. I was just thinking this when Suresh says 'Isaac looks so much like Grace!'. Grace is my 13 soon to be 14 year old neice.  I rummaged through all Grace's old pictures to find a perfect match and finally gave up and went back to Suresh. He pulled up this picture and said - 'Its not how they look like each other - rather some kind of behaviour similarity.'
I looked at the picture again and saw it!

There is also the case when you look at someone next to someone and they look alike... or is it still genetics. Here is a picture of Ziva with my aunt. i.e. her grand aunt. I have been told often that I resemble my aunt and in this picture I feel Ziva looks like her.

We were on a vacation with another couple (Veena and Satheesh) when at the breakfast table an exasperated Satheesh said something to the extent of 'exactly like mother'. Veena had this thousand watt smile on her face. It wasnt a flattering similarity .... but Veena took it just as the biggest compliment. What is it about us moms and dads that we want our kids to look like us or behave like us.
I told a father that his daughter looked liked him -- and he was overjoyed --- he even went home and told his wife -- 'See there are people who think T looks like me'

Have to end this one with a little bit of an emotional twist ... Its a time like this when everyone says ... you are just like your mom or just like your dad ... that Suresh misses his mom and I miss my dad. If  anyone asks my my mom if my kids look or behave like me she just shrugs her shoulders and says 'I dont remember'. But I remember my dad bringing out  my sisters baby pictures when my niece was born and showing it to everyone who came to the see the  baby, ... the similarity!
We were at Suresh's friend's place and his friend's mom had a slip of tongue ... calling her grandson by her son's name. A moment like that ... and Suresh is reminded about all the stories his mother would have told of how naughty or good he was as a kid  and how Isaac /Ziva was exactly the same as dad!

So who do you look like?
So guess the folk in the pictures below





Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bye Amma - The Saturday after Dussera Camp with Creative Adda

October  2nd to October 11th .. 8 Glorious weekdays... where I did not have to wake up and plan school for the day for Isaac.

Thanks to Creative Adda for a fabulous camp.  It was a great time to realize that my son was independent. At least when he wanted to be - he could be on his own.
For 8 days I had the amazing feeling of what it must to be to send kids off to school. Not because I want to .... but it was just nice. I also got to spend 3 wonderful hours with Ziva... Just the two of us... Walking around the neighborhood... reading books her age and not having to split my hair trying to divide my attention between two kids.
Suresh dropped Isaac every morning by 10 am. His biggest complaint 'Isaac doesnt even say bye to me . He just runs off'
One of the days Suresh complained that Isaac saw Kuhu (Kanchan's older daughter about 7 years) and just ran off with her. Not looking back once. :)

Just to mention  ... my favorite thing about these camps are the range of ages  .. 3-12 years. It kind of strengthens my pursuit of homeschooling where a thought is not to restrains kids to one age group. Kids learn to mingle with all age groups. Of course activities are age appropriate ... but communication is across all. Expectation of discipline and behavior is uniform. They may not all comply but still ... More importantly kids learn a lot from older kids (Sometimes bad sometimes good). Just like Ziva has figured out a lot of songs just by listening to Isaac.

I would leave home about 12:15  and go to pick up Isaac, finishing off groceries and other chores along the way . Great schedule.

The changes we saw in Isaac during this camp were.
1. He did not want Suresh or me to hang out with him
2. He enjoyed the dancing this time  even humming the songs. Thanks Kreative Steps
3. We heard he was picking fights - I know this is nothing to be proud of ... but we had heard from a few moms in the park that he was not standing up for himself. So when Kanchan told me that he and a few other boys of the same age were forming a human pile I could not help actually saying 'Thank God'. Kanchan looked at me with disbelief and so I shared the theory about his lack of 'aggression', she reassured me 'Oh you dont have to worry about that' :)
4. Art, Craft and the general use of fevicol has been set firmly in his 4 year old heart - Thanks Artsy craftsy.

But the biggest victory of independence was what we saw the Saturday after Dussera Camp. I mentioned to Isaac on Saturday October 19th that if he ate his breakfast quickly and alone, I would take him to art class. I got a message from Kanchan a few minutes later asking to just start class in November (since I was planning to take Isaac in the middle of the week and join him up also for regular Kreative steps class).
Isaac started wailing ... protesting on how he wanted to go for Artsy Crafsty.
I messaged Kanchan ... pleading ... 'Please let him come today.'
And so at 9:50 we were at Brigade Metropolis. At the doorstep of Creative Adda. I was chatting with Kanchan about the week and asking about fees etc. Few kids trickled in and Kanchan asked them all including Isaac to got sit down in the room. A few more minutes of chatting and Isaac came and tugged on Kanchan's hand . 'Aunty you come in. Bye Amma!'
My mommy heart broke into a million pieces. My 4 year old did not need me to keep him company. At least not in the prescence of ART and DANCE.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Say no to Guns! A change 'I' can make.

This is not a political statement. This is not me supporting or (not) supporting the democrats or the republicans or a particular president. Believe me - in this small little brain of mine .... I cannot fathom all of that. This is simply me being  mom ... and being vehement about something that affects my child.
I am normally not vehement about anything. I really wouldn't have much to say about who should have been the first prime minister of India. I really dont know if our country would have done better or worse. More importantly its history and arguing about it or hoping to convince people one way over the other would bring about nothing but a couple of hours of philososphical debate. I am not super-passionate about pollution ... or taking it away ... or telling other people they should not pollute ... just enough to try and do my little bit! I do not overly love animals... just enough not to hurt them. I do not know all the laws of child labor ... just enough to know what would be abuse of a child's freedom! Most of these ... I feel I may never be able to change in someone else... maybe just a little in me.

But what I am about to write about is something I can do something about ... bring a change one child at a time  starting with at least just mine!!!

This blog is not to offend anyone. It is not to provide unsolicited advice. This is just me pouring out my heart for something that causes it to bleed. This is just something that sends a shiver down my spine every time I think about it.

India recently celebrated Diwali. This is called the festival of lights (slowly turning into the festival of sound). I love all the sparklers and even love the rockets with their buzzing sounds that send the light up into the sky! They look beautiful. I do not mind even the noisy crackers! I like the startle it gives me even though I see it being lighted. But what I am terrified of is the Gun!.

Diwali is celebrated as the celebration of the return of the King Rama after his 14 year exile. Celebrated by lighting 14 lamps and bursting crackers makes house look beautiful and the sound of crackers fills the atmosphere with a feeling of festivity. I first could not understand the bursting of fire crackers or noise pollution as they call it. But I read up that this is to drive away demons and evil spirits... I think we could all use a little of that ... couldnt we? And about noise pollution ... lets not focus on these 4-5 days of  diwali but instead of all the other times we introduce noise into the environment. My contribution would be to stop yelling at my kids. I am sure Isaac and Ziva would appreciate the reduction in noise pollution this way.

But the guns! Where is the significance of that? And in Mumbai these guns last in the hands of kids a lot longer than just Diwali.  Its not even the guns ... the attitude ... the holding it up to the forehead or faces of friends! Doesnt it send a chill down your spine.

Or is it just me ... as I think about the Virginia Tech shooting back in 2007 ... or the Sandy hook shooting that happened so recently. The shooters in both cases were in their early twenties ... the victims college and school kids!

When I once mentioned this to a cousin he responded saying 'Oh that is the western culture!'
Really - What about the Gurgaon shooting in December 2007 ... the shooters 14 year olds ... shooting their classmate! And what western culture ... with shows like Doremon and Power rangers and other stuff they watch on TV, all cultures are mixed!

I can keep Isaac from the gun ... but it does seem  that I cannot really keep the gun from Isaac. A few months ago all the kids in the park seemed to have a gun in their hand. Yes yes TOY guns.  My maid told me Isaac looked at it often and asked me to buy one for him. Yes - that was advice I was going to take! I told her he should not be playing around those boys and to keep him away. A few days later as I was cycling by the park I saw Isaac looking longingly at the boys with the guns. What is it with boys! I got off the cycle ... I wanted to go over and shake Isaac to tell him all the stories of  VA tech and Sandy hook ... but all I did was tell him I did not approve of it and sent him toward the swing and slides where there were boys and girls of his age playing with sand.
I am terrified of an age ... when he may insist on having a gun because all his friends have one. I plan on telling him some gory stories and hoping he will see what I see and feel the fear I feel!

My children are the only people I can really influence and I hope that will make a difference!