Friday, December 25, 2009

A new page

The idea of getting my child into a reading habit germinated one night when both me and my husband went to bed reading our respective novels and Remy tried imitating us by picking up a book and pretending to read it. It was then I realized that perhaps Remy too loved books and this was the right time to introduce him to the lovely world of reading.

Just as I was wondering what kind of books to introduce him to, I got a lovely pointer quite unexpectedly. Janaki, the owner of TwistnTales, a cozy bookstore in my locality introduced me to Tulika publications. Tulika publishes books for children in multiple languages. Some of the books Janaki showed me had very simple content and fabulous illustrations. For example there was one book about the story of a peppercorn. It was about a sole peppercorn trying to escape the hands of the amma who is ready to grind it into chutney. In order to escape the fate of being ground to powder, the peppercorn rolls away from her hands into the market place. The story is set in the typical village milieu in Kerala and introduces the child to colloquial terms. I am sure that by reading this Remy is going to soak in a lot of authentic Kerala culture.

Another unexpected discovery was the book series called the Karadi tales. I stumbled upon the book series after I discovered the television show adapted from the books that was being telecast on Disney channel. I was drawn to the show as the tune was so refreshingly different and so were the characters. Then the bear started reciting a story which my grandmother used to tell me as a kid. I had never read this story in any of the kids books that I had ever laid my hands on. Very soon I got hooked on to karadi tales and realized it was all about the local stoies that were passed on from so many generations.

A search on the internet led me to Saffron Tree, a good site that has reviews on all the books for children. A book review is accompanied by pointer to other books with similar themes. What I particularly like is that a few reviewers on this site are mommies who have inculcated reading habits in their children. They have not only posted reviews but also personal anecdotes about books very enthusiastically.

I have enough starters for now to get Remy to turn a new page in his life.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A small getaway

I am so gung ho about yesterday's Transactional Analysis (TA) meeting that I was itching to pen my thoughts as soon as I was done with my morning walk. Apart from attending the fantabulous session there were a couple of more reasons for the itch. First of all I was keen to test if I could use my sense of smell just like Pooh and Mammi could use it in yesterday's session. Secondly I wanted to implement the walking meditation that I learnt yesterday and lastly the fact that I was actually able to make good use of my sense of smell to feel the heaviness and the lightness at different places along the path of my morning walk.So here I am finally done with my morning chores of seeing bapu and beta to their respective office and school and sitting down to actually write about yesterday's experience.

Getting people together, co-ordinating the rendezvous and finally getting them to come together at times takes a little effort and sometimes it is as simple as sending out an email...It all started with enthusing people to attend yet antoher TA session. So all I did was send out a mail to our regular TA group. After some mails to and fro it was decided that we all meet at the beautiful Empress Garden at 10 am on Sunday morning. All except two of the group members were available.

So with high spirits we all assembled at the Empress garden. After scouting for a place we zeroed on a spot near a gazebo where a lot of benches were available and as such the spot was secluded. After quickly adjusting the benches under the trees where some sunlight could peep in we realized that Puzo was missing. Ms M made a quick phone call to Puzo and he was on his way. So the TA session started with Mammi, our guru asking all of us what is that we expect to learn from each other and also from the session. This was going to be the very first session for Ms M, Pooh and Puzo who was yet to join us. Ms M was curious to find out abt what the session was, Pooh was using this opportunity to take some time out of himself and I wanted the session to expand on analysing every thought and the action that follows and also for some guided interaction between members to encourage learning form each other's experinces.

Mammi then introduced the concept of using our five senses that can be used to interpret the mental make of people we interact with or even getting the vibes from our surroundings. So she left us with an exercise to use our five senses to soak in the milieu and went looking for Puzo who apparently had reached the garden and was wandering on the wrong route looking for us. We started feeling, seeing, hearing, touching and tasting our surroundings. Most of us were clueless about how to use the sense of taste when it comes to anything non-culinary. After settling Puzo I was quite amazed to see how Mammi and Pooh were in sync while noticing the difference in energies at two different bences that were just adjacent to each other. As for the rest of us the most prominent and the obvious senses that were most active were visual and auditory. Most of us felt a sense of peace and serinity from the surroundings that was a riot of the colour green. As the session continued there were aspects Mammi touched upon that were covered in the previous TA sessions like giving each other strokes. It was raining strokes for Ms M and Bhola was quite playfully annoyed at the lack of attention. After a little tomfoolery and after lots of strokes Mammi introduced us to yet another practical and very easy concept of walking meditation. In that we learnt to pay attention to ourselves as we take a walk, be aware of the muscles used in the activity, the feel of clothes on our bodies and the rythm in which we move as we walk. The idea of this exerice was to help us to teach oursleves how to focus quite like what is midfulness in Buddhism. This was followed by anaffirmation exercise. Mammi had brought along affirmation cards and all of us including my baby Remy picked up one at random. It was amazing to read Mammi affirmation that said " I am unleashing the gold mines within me". Equally apt was Pooh's affirmation that said " I am willing to spent more time for myself". Bhola's affirmation that read "Every cell in my body is getting rejuvinated" left him a bit confused.

With a lot of aaha moments, self introspection, soaking in the amazing things we had learnt and a generous peppering of laughter and pranks the session ended with a desire to catch up on the next meeting. All of us agreed to make the next one in Goa in the month of Jan. Until then I promised myself to implement all the I had learnt. The fact that I already implemented a few things today has left me with a sense of elation and achievement and I am unwilling to let go of the hangover.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mommy dilemma

Working mom or stay at home mom? When I was a working mom all I could think of was spending more time with Remy and now that I am a stay at home mom I think how horrible it is to be financially dependent. Well the devil of the mind will always look for greener pastures in the things that it does not have. So the only way I know to hold the reins of the wild horses is to do some self introspection and visit the sorted list of priorities at any given point in time.

There is a huge data base on the internet on working mom versus a stay at home mom. Now that I have experienced a little of both worlds I must say each has its own pros and cons and it is really a personal thing. As a working mom the common lunch table discussions with my colleagues who were moms was the perpetual lack of time available to do enviable things stay at home mommies do - spend time children, good housekeeping and cooking and pursuing hobbies. Now that I am a stay at home mommy and I regularly take my child out to play in the evenings, I meet other mothers who too were once working women and many time the favourite discussion topic with them is the desire to start work again.

I guess it is only the women who have to face this decision and never the man. The female of all species on the planet are primarily responsible for nurturing the offspring. It is not to say that the male is incapable. It is only natural that the one who gives birth is the one that has an unbreakable bond formed with the child from a fetal stage and perhaps thats why the primary responsibility. A few generations back say even one generation back when my mom was a mom my age, most women were quite comfortable with with fact that after graduation comes marriage and then home and kids. That was their life and quite uncomplicated at that. There was a clear divide in the reponsibilities, the woman as a caretaker and the man as a provider. The complications started when women decided to foray into the man's field and started taking equal responsibilities to earn the bread as well. With the additonal resposibilties there has been a shift in the nurturing ways. These have also caused a shift in the responsiblities of the man. From two generations back where most males would abstain from household chores, males today are helping out with the cooking, cleaning, laundry and the sundry household chores. If women have so easily accepted and conquered the additional resposibilities outside the home why is is so difficult to get rid of the emotional baggage that comes with compromising on the first-hand nuturing. While we have evolved and adapted quite well on the newly acquired responsibilities outside home, we will have to wait and see how the we evolve on the emotional front. Shedding this baggage is still a long way to go.