A truly long distance call…

A mobile phone has been around from time immemorial. That is, according to the teeny weeny kids you see today. Just hang around a mall or any public place and you’ll notice an adult engaging a child with a mobile phone. Why are mobiles such a hit with kids today? Well, I digress!

A world without mobiles is in-conceivable to my son Vyas. Like a bird without wings. And his baby brother is very faithful to his ‘anna’ and is already eyeing the mobiles with lust. But when technology and mythology juxtapose or super-impose, its a concocted heady mix. The ‘anna’ is smitten with mythology and lets his imaginations run riot.

An innocent question from him like, ‘Ma, is your dad in heaven or hell?’, is deceivingly simple, and almost always lands me in a soup. My obvious answer to the question was ‘Heaven of course’. I should have stopped there. But no, the nice mom that I am, I ask ‘Why do you ask?’. That is it. Inference No.1 from my answer: “So, thatha must’ve seen Indra in the Devaloka. I want to know if his throne is like that of a real King’s. I plead ignorance.. “Umm.. so he must also have seen the other Devas – Vayu, Agni, Varuna … and are they still fighting the asuras?” he continues . “C’mon, why worry about all that now. I do not know how to explain. You’ll understand ‘how things work’ in the netherworld and other world when you are a little older..'” I say. A small pause. And he asks, “Ma, when will you go to heaven?” ! “Me? Not any time soon. Maybe in another 50 years from now?” And again I ask my trademark question, “Why?”. He says, “Remember to take you mobile phone along. I’ll call you to find out how Indra is and how heaven in general is.. Sad that thatha did not have one on his person” An idea! Really!!

\Call to heaven\

Do share such interesting uses for future mobile phones. Maybe, a collective list can be sent to Nokia or the likes as ‘feature requests’!!

Problems in the life of a 7 year-old..

I found my son Vyas, making a lot of fuss to wake-up early and get ready for school in-time. I found this strange because he enjoys school, has a lot of friends, performs well, and the teachers have a good word to say about him. But for his (in)famous handwriting of course!

Last week, I really got worked up and was almost on the verge of delivering a tight slap. Better sense prevailed and I counseled myself saying, ‘this too shall pass’ ! And decided that I must have a one-to-one ‘sitting’ with him after getting back from work. Cannot allow the mornings to be ruined by fretting over his attitude.

It was evening, and I was back from work. Called the little man saying I wanted to have some serious chat with him. He sulked as expected, but knew there wasn’t a choice, and he came and here’s the conversation without any tinkering:

Me: Kanna, am very disappointed with your behavior. Am also feeling very very sad about the tantrums you threw this morning.

Son: Tchh…. Okay… now what? (which implied that he was open for discussion:-))

Me: Do you have any problems? I mean why do you find it difficult to get ready to school. Don’t you like school?

Son: I feel lazy to get up (Children now know to express themselves clearly).

Me: Is that all or do you have any problems?

Son: Yes, I have (nodding his head like an adult about to make a serious confession).

Me: What is it (appalled)?

Son: There is so much writing to do. I hate to write that much.

Me: (This is easy i think) Which subjects do you find tough to write?

Son: Hindi. I don’t like it. So much to write. Meanings, words and all that. And homework too (which by the way is just once or twice in a week).

Me: Oh! Okay. Other subjects or problems?

Son: Yeah, Tamil too is tough. So much to learn.

Me: Ummm… Okay, what about English, EVS, Math etc?

Son: EVS too is tough. There is lots and lots to write. Not much in English and Math. I like Computers lab very much.

Me: That is all? What about your teachers? Do you have any problems talking to them, understanding what they say etc? Do they hit?

(You can actually erect temples for the teachers in his school!)

Son: No, no problem. But there is just one more thing (says with a serious be-spectacled face made more serious by that frown and a big gap in his mouth yet to be filled by the new front teeth).

Me: What is it (glad that the list was coming to an end)?

Son: Classroom in the 2nd floor. Have to climb 2 floors and there are thousands of steps. So difficult! That’s it.

Me: Okay. Am sorry I did not know you had so many problems. You should have told me instead of creating a scene every morning. Now I know what to do. Am talking to your teacher the 1st thing on Monday morning about the classroom. I’ll request her to seat you in the ground floor, either alone or with the pre-kg children. You’ll not find it tiring. So, that problem is solved.

Son: (Hastily) Hey, don’t do that. I can’t sit with the smaller children! No way!

Me: No Kanna. That is the only solution. I don’t want you to suffer, you see? Your teacher will gladly agree.

Son: No, please don’t.

Me: Okay, so agree to climb 2 floors without a fuss? That is no longer a problem?

Son: Not a problem.

Me: Okay, I’ll talk to your Hindi and Tamil Teachers.

Son: What will you tell them?

Me: That they should not give you any writing work. They can just stop with vowels and consonants. No words, sentences, meanings. No tests, no grades, no marks, nothing. The rest of the class can move on without you. You need not learn anything if you cannot write. Very simple. Teachers will agree.

Son: No, don’t do that.

Me: No, I must do something about it. I cannot put up with your indifference every morning. The teachers will not mind and there is nothing wrong in not wanting to learn. Appa and I will not mind it as long as you do not have any problems.

Son: Okay okay. I’ll get ready without a fuss. Alright?

Me: Sure? Will you hop out of the bed as soon as I call you?

Son: Will you let me roll over in the bed for 5 mins atleast after I wake up?

Me: Done. Take 10 mins. The next time you behave like this, I’ll not waste my time yelling at you because I know your ‘problems’. I’ll approach your teacher straight.

Son: Ufff!! (shrugs his shoulders, almost conveying how impossible his mom is and moves off relieved).

Started without much ado this morning and a happy mom am I! Err… did I say it too soon?

A letter in earnest…

. ..by Vyas to POGO TV , requesting to telecast the much adored program, Thomas the Tank Engine, which incidentally is an all-time favorite of his parents and grand-parents… Next in-line is Noddy and the Toy Town, and a couple of other programs.

This letter was written over an year ago and I sent it to the channel. The channel telecast the program a few weeks following this. Not sure if it was in response to the letter, or they had scheduled it already, but the joy was ours:-)  However, looks like the program has disappeared again.  Have been hunting for a DVD version but could not find one.


Just an year later, my little fellow frowns at the draft and shrugs. Maybe the incorrigible hand-writing or the grammar or both. A nice one to preserve nonetheless:-) And it is here for you all to see.

Brother’s prayers

“Ma, how did the baby enter your tummy?” asks the 7 yr old son. “Oh that?!! err..! That is the safe place to be in till the baby is fit enough to be ‘born’ into the world”, says me. “So, how are babies made?” the little one again. Me -“Hey, did’nt you wish for a baby sis/bro to play with? God heard your prayers and is blessing us with one”. “Ok then it must be a boy” says he. “Why so?”. “Girls always play with Barbie dolls. We’ll have more cars and bikes if its a boy”.

My son was doubly thrilled when it was a baby brother. Because God heard his prayers and blessed him with a brother and he gets to share the toys:-) Boys! And their ways!

The Big Brother Moment

Good to be back after a really loooonng break! Time flies.

As I was wheeled out of the labour room, my 7 yr old son walked along. An expression indecipherable. I should say, a mixture of anger, anxiety, confusion, a little happiness and a little loneliness. I wanted to hold him in a tight hug to show him that all was well but he would not inch closer.

He was angry because I left to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning when he was fast asleep. I did not want to disturb him and also was not sure how long it was going to take for the new baby to make an entry. The anxiety and confusion was because of the ‘wait-time’ and me being wheeled out on a stretcher like a sick patient! Yet he was happy to see me again. With so many people attending on his mom and the baby, it was not easy for him to hide the sudden loneliness. It was a ‘yeah, i’ll have to share my life with him’ kind of a moment for him. After a little coaxing, he came closer and I apologized for having left to the hospital without him. He was acting sullen for some more time but I knew that he had forgiven his dear mom and was comfortable again.

The next few days were a breeze and I saw my elder son grow into a responsible brother and establish his position as the elder son, and an adorable one! And very defining moments they have been! The best part of my hospital stay was, he made the evening Horlicks for me for the next few days and I emptied it to the last drop!

Will come back with more on this wonderful transition.

Challenge of story-telling

Story telling is at once a mixture of pain, joy, and revelation! I have been sincerely ‘story-telling’ for almost the last 6 yrs to my 6.5 yr old. And I’m the one feeling challenged at the end of it!

From small-time stories, the lill fellow has graduated to more serious stories of epic proportions- yeah you guessed it.. The Ramayana, Mahabharata et all.. Having buried all these in the remote recesses of memory which is atleast a couple of decades old, I find this exercise of going-over the stories which my grandma passed on to me and my sis, very refreshing and satisfying. There are a couple of notable differences though! One, my grandma never read from a book, and two, I never questioned the authenticity or intent of the characters or rather the supersonic characters that abound in our mythology.

So, when my grandma said that Dhritharashtra had 100 sons and a daughter, it was a fact. When i read the same to my son, pat comes the chain of questions- “Ma, were there really a hundred sons? what are all their names? did they all sleep in the same room? so lot of food will be cooked?” Yes, tough situation really!!It should have operated like a star hotel! The fact that Gandhari- the mother of the Kaurava princes- blind-folded herself because of her love and duty (or whatever)towards Dhritharashtra, came across to him as ‘plain stupid’. When asked why, he as a matter of fact said that she could have helped her husband better with her eyes open instead! And, “How come Parashurama features in both, Ramayana and the Mahabharata? Are the people from the same time period then?”. Now I have to find this out, and its my weekend homework. (A serious doubt indeed because Krishna, Rama, and Parasurama, the 3 avatars of Vishnu must have co-existed… Well, will try and post my find. Or you guys help with answers if you know..)

And darling son, the next time i decide to read something from our mythology, i’ll make sure to read the significance of the actions too and then try. Or better still, I’ll leave it to you to figure it out yourselves as you grow up and ‘enlighten’ me too! For now, i just wanted you to get acquainted with the various super-human characters in our mythology so that they all sound familiar to you when your grand-ma and grand-pa are performing their daily pooja, when all other people around you are making casual references to the 10 avatars of Vishnu, to the Mahabharatha battle, or to Rama and Ravana… Now, you may treat that as a disclaimer.. I as a child, simply enjoyed them as stories and do not expect anything more from you either:-)) You have but little choice dear… You have to put up with your well-meaning mom!!