The month that February is

February is a funny month. Smallest of all and spoilt with love.

This is the month of the year when we fill bunch of balloons with much warmth, tie them with love, let the string of relationship hanging beneath and release the balloon high in the sky.

We bring everyone to our backyard, pointing the balloon waving high and tell them.. see “love is in the air” !
A month before, that same love was hanging in the lampshade in our living room. A month later it may again finds it way decorating the dining table. But, February is the month when love between each other, takes a narrow lane and ran in the field to participate in collaborative love display to be visible to the outer world.

There is this lady who was excited enough to participate in the world love marathon few years back. She used to love it when bunch of red roses used to arrive at her doorstep on that specified day of February… but then, she loved it even more when the same bunch appeared for no reasons on May. Then on June and July. February since that year seems an obligatory month to her. She knew him well by December to know that obligation.
She married that guy few Februaries later, in month of November. They had a baby in September two years later.

The following 14th February was very important to them; it was the vaccination date for their kid.
The whole day they played the parent-parent game perfectly well. Hugging and kissing the kid now and then. In between that, the kid often slipped out and they stood facing each other with about to kiss lips.

Later that night she asked him “You didn’t wish me today?”. He was unsure of the emotion to portray. No, he didn’t forget. To him it didn’t matter. He was afraid though; what-if the lady is anticipating some celebrations? What if it matters to her?
The lady (with a sarcastic smile) knew what is going on in his head. That was her intention when she started this game. That was the reason why she asked that question. She wanted to see that glimpse of confusion.
That confusion was love. Not an obligatory one, though. Love out of fear. Love surviving in folds of parenthood.

Love that had two to start and three to sustain.

Love that had survived the stinking phase of dirty diapers. Love that has taken turns to put the baby in sleep. Love that smelled like baby powder. Love that always looked like cartoon faces.
February there after never popped out of the calendar. It stayed where it belonged to, with several other months.

Having kid helped them to release the obligation. They found it quite okay not to let the balloons free in the air. Rather tie it close to their baby’s cot. Being uncool was perfectly okay for them while basking in the glory of parenthood.
.. and February, it continued to be a funny month.

This post was originally published by Parentous .


The Surrender Key

I was neck deep into my laptop. Had a deadline to meet. The two year old appeared. Crawled into my lap and snatched my palms into her tiny hands. Gave me an ear to ear grin, said in a pleading tone “Maam.. tigger dekhna hai mujhe.. blue tigger..”. Thought for a while and rephrased “ elephantta.. green elephantta”.

The very important mail slipped silently into the draft stage awaiting its turn when kid would go back to sleep and new tab on browser started opening with Google images of blue tiger, green elephants, pink frogs, purple lions…
I surrendered that moment to her wish. Many times before, several times after.

“To surrender” is a ritual we parents practice every moment. Its a sly art that we master along our journey to parenthood. Surrender is that bargain that instantly puts us on winning mode. Had I not surrendered to those absurd color animals I would not never seen those twinkling eyes. I would not have felt winner without winning.

We parents have an instinct to see the silver lining much before we surrender. We define new terms and phrases as we keep surrendering.
When I can’t further deal with the mess my overactive kid keeps producing, I surrender saying “A mess today is a memory tomorrow”.

With crayons, stacking rings, plastic alphabets and building blocks doing rounds in the house, I am left with no choice but to enjoy it. I redefine happiness, using that same mess. I freeze the mess in a frame and add a caption that “Happiness comes in many colors, mostly vibrant. Its messy in nature and smells like baby powder”.

Happiness comes in many colors!

Surrender adds dimension. Many people also call it creativity.
Surrender brings leisure. Many people mistake it for laziness.

How much to surrender is the tricky bit, but the more you surrender for harmless moments, better you are prepared to bargain for the big show. Keep giving many small measures and your kid will surprise you surrendering to your bigger bet. These moments of surrendering will concrete the trust, building hope.

We surrender out of compulsion, choice or for a change. But whenever we surrender, it is our decision. Hence the strength.
So often, mother surrenders to herself. Just the moment before reaching the breaking point, surrender allows us to confide. A warm, protective shelter much like mother’s womb. Surrender makes us stronger. Every mother knows that trick.

We surrender our priorities, routine, sleep, diet and even foul words. Last being the most toughest.
Surrender is that shaker that gives a nice shake to the things that once mattered, bringing a new blend of things that brings happiness. Sometimes you have to add chocolate toppings, though.

We surrender our past, as present demands that. We surrender our present, as future keeps calling. We surrender like we are born to do so. We wear it on our sleeves, we tie it like bandana, sometimes we flaunt it like the new silk skirt.

Wrap surrender the way you wish, it will certainly bring the warmth back.

P.S : This post was originally posted by Parentous.

Stories – Passing the tradition

Stories hide me. I can slip into the character’s skin, winning and losing page by page with them.
Stories pamper the escapist me. Provide shelter away from the real world.It all started as a kid when I used to sleep over my father’s tummy, listening the varied versions of “ek tha raaja aur ek thi rani”.
Stroies grew along with me. They started conveying meanings and morals, hiding in my school bag. They became much mature before I entered my teens.
Me and father always bonded over stories. Some from real life with embedded jokes and some from the pages of fiction making sense to daily chaos.
We cherished that magic bridge of communication, of fairy tales, animals farms, heroes, happy endings and hope.
He still tells stories, over tea. Mostly repeating himself. To hide his old age from him, I pretend to listen the same story with a new zeal everytime he shares.

I had to start paying back. Making up run-time stories to my about to sleep toddler.
Sometimes.. “Hula” met a dog and promised to gift him a kite, years later the dog died and Hula grew up to be a kite maker, gifting kites to all stray dogs.
While some other days.. Cat and dog went to school and, on thier way dog was hit badly by a stone. Cat nursed him and when dog was recovered, he helped the cat teaching him how to ride a bicycle.

She understands only the characters or object names. Sometimes barely getting a sense of the situation. But in the process we try build a communication, few hugs and kisses.

I have kept few of my father’s stories safely. I will fetch them as she grows.
Sukumar Ray , Leo tolstoy, Premchand and their tailored versions. Amar chitrakatha , Panchatantra, Holmes and the self cooked ones.

Stories will be passed as a tradition. Moments build over stories will be passed as a stencil to create the similar ones.
She needs to know the art of escaping, playing hide and seek between the characters of stories.

She has to cheat me, hiding story books in between the pages of study material.
She needs to learn how to make up false stories, to hide her sadness and explain her happiness.

We  have to walk the same magic bridge, holding hands and telling stories.

Between me and her

To keep a kid engage, you need to know her weakness.
To keep a kid happy, you need to share her weakness.

It’s easier for me, as many of my weaknesses resembles hers or her resembles mine. Whichever way it makes more sense.

Give us some color pencils, gift warps, glue, and freedom to spoil a wall.. we are a happy bunch.

We have made phisshh that have eyes as big as mine.

We have made peacock.. which she can only pronounce pocckket

We have made buffefly family.. papa buffefly, mam buffefly and baby buffefly

I often encash her this weakness and we spend quite some time amidst scribbling, coloring, gluing and exchanging fake creative looks in between.
I give everyone a feel of keeping her engage, while actually stealing time for doing something which otherwise would have been bracketed amateurish.

I have a feel, she will caught me in few years from now. I have a fear, she may grow to do all by herself, someday.

For now, I pretend to keep her busy. Someday she will pretend to keep me busy. Life will be lived again, amidst scribbles, colors, papers, glue…

Story repeats via photo

I love those photographs, which captures moments.
Its when the camera witnesses the unfolding of a moment as a third person.

When camera freezes the moment, watching it from a distance and subject not acknowledging the presence of camera, you ought to think of the story in the background. Intriguing it is.

May be that is why I like this photo.

 I know they embark this journey in search of a muti-color ball. What happened later, I can only imagine.

Father is just a step behind. Letting her decide the direction she wishes to. Not holding her hand. Setting her free.
Together but not dependent.

I wish someone clicked the photo when my father was teaching me how to ride a bicycle.
When I learned how to paddle, but was struggling to get the balance, my father used to run by my side. Not holding my cycle, but placing him in my close proximity, so that he can lend his hand in my fall.
He let me took the turns , the ascends and descends. Even today.

Some stories repeat themselves and some photographs affirms that.

At the end of the day

Had a real bad day. Failed in almost all aspects that mattered. Things were messed up to extent that I almost had a panic attack.

Post dinner she threw her arms around me .. asking her to lift “माम .. गोगी “.

Reluctantly I picked her up, engrossed in my own thought process. Counting the series of failures. Imposing self pity.

I lifted her and hugged her quite like a robot. Senses were dead. While we proceeded towards the bed room, I was collecting her bed time books and in the process was gathering myself.

Read her how honest bubble was, how horse met penguin one day, how numbers did the talking.. pretty mechanically. As if I had packed my emotions and locked them in the bed side drawer.

She then hugged me while lying beside.. “माम … ख़ुश .. happpi happpi”

Trapped emotions started leaking out. “हां .. Happy Happy”. I wasn’t sure I was lying or not. I didn’t matter either. Somethings are beyond truth or lie. They are being said because that is the only possible answer.

She hugged me even more tightly and in few mins she was fast asleep with a faint smile on the left corner of her lips. Felt a sudden breeze of fresh air. Success it was. It plastered a smile on my face giving me the strength to face the day..the next day.

Its amazing how the feeble tiny arms had the strength to gather us.

Kids make us vulnerable all the time, but when needed they can make us strong enough to bounce back. Knowingly or Unknowingly.
Kids do payback. for only they can untrap the locked emotions. For only they can let us be human.

Kiss the child

When child wakes up
from a disturbed sleep,
Eccentric mood or
fall with a cut deep..
..a kiss often helps.

You can’t fulfill her need
but have to compensate,
You don’t want to say
but feel to communicate..
..a kiss often helps.

Giving kiss has return value
For the need to admire life
For letting go dead dreams
and spacing for a new vibe..
..a kiss often helps.